Posts tagged ‘war on drugs’

April 9, 2011

Hostage Nation: The Continuing War On Drugs

The book Hostage Nation

Treehouser doe not normally talk about books but the United States’ continuing War on Drugs in Columbia and the intermixing of questionable politics and money-making corporate bedfellows deserves a call out. At the core of most conflicts around the world is some sort of moneymaking deal. In this case it is pesticides to poison the coca crop from the air. And make no mistakes we the people are paying for it out of our pockets in taxes and in the form of the crime it engenders when illegal drug sources dry up. Draw your own conclusions.

Hostage Nation is a great read, but its title is something of misnomer. What the book is really about is the capture of four American contractors by FARC guerrillas after their plane went down on an anti-coca pesticide-spraying mission in 2003. One was executed by the FARC at the scene; the others spent more than five years in captivity in the jungles of Colombia before being rescued by the Colombian military in a stunning charade in which Colombian soldiers tricked rebels into delivering their hostages, who also included the famous former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, into their waiting arms.

In a sense, though, Hostage Nation is a synecdoche for Colombia’s experience fighting its own leftist guerrilla insurgency — the longest-lived insurgency in the hemisphere, now in its 47th year — as well as fighting America’s war on drugs. In a very real sense, Colombia has been a hostage nation — held hostage by its own internal divisions and American drug war geopolitics, as well as seeing hundreds, if not thousands of its citizens literally held hostage, taken captive to be used as bargaining chips by the FARC in its relentless struggle against the Colombian state.

And while, until the very last chapter, Hostage Nation does not directly confront US drug policies in Colombia or their failures, its briskly paced narrative illuminates — at times, starkly — just what those policies have wrought. At the beginning, the book opens a window into the murky world of American defense contractors and subcontractors working for the State Department in its efforts to poison the coca crop from the air. Those contractors, like Northrup Grumman, were perhaps the primary beneficiaries of Plan Colombia, gobbling up hundreds of millions of dollars in lucrative spraying contracts at taxpayer expense.

From the site original review written by Phillip Smith, April 06, 2011, 07:55pm, (Issue #678)