“The War on Drugs” The True Freedom Series Legalization as it was before the 1920’s: By D. Bourne
This is the Third part of a large series of articles/blogs on the current “War on Drugs”, and how all drugs should be legalized. It will examine many of the various aspects as to why drugs should be completely legal as they were prior to 1914 without government oversight and regulation. It will also cover why even though statistics show and have shown for years that it makes much more sense for drugs to be legal as it increases safety, decreases use, lowers taxes among other positive things they still remain illegal. Please Note: Due to current knowledge along with research already obtained and or not yet obtained, not all of these articles are in a specific or chronological order. But each article is written to stand alone and as part of the series.
Part 3 Pablo Escobar, Columbia, and The Medellín Cartel
The purpose of this section is not to read like a documentary or biography of one of the most infamous drug dealers of all time. If you’ve read the first two sections I’m sure you may have already figured that out. But “The War On Drugs” deals with many various aspects. Usually if the phrase “The War on Drugs” is contained there is some connection, interference or involvement by the US government.
In 1914 the US government passed the Harrison act. A law regulating the use of opium and any drug containing it (heroine, methadone, ect.) where a tax act must be paid and a patient must get a license. Although like most laws it is written in a way that is open to interpretation but it can easily be argued that this violates the 10th amendment, which gives any jurisdiction not specifically given to the federal government in the constitution to the states. It can also be argued that this violates that 9th amendment as well which states:
- The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people
Which based on the writings of the “founding fathers” as well as the text that not only do you have the right to consume any substance based on self-ownership among other things (see part1 & part1A of the “War on Drugs series for more information), but the government also recognizes this right as well. You may be asking why we are talking about the history of drug policy of the US in the section about Pablo Escobar, Columbia, and The Medellín Cartel. The answer is simple, in that same year the Columbian government happened to pass the same law admittedly “based” on the US law or possibly highly influenced under other pressure (speculation), to pass the law. We will go more into the history of drug laws including the Harris Act in future sections, but the point of mentioning a law passed over 35 years prior to even Escobar’s birth for the purposes of this section is that even in 1914 the US had influence over drug policy in the Americas. This obviously didn’t mean anything to an un born Pablo Escobar at the time but may have not only made a difference years later, but if things went differently they may have changed the life of Escobar from a billionaire drug kingpin to a less wealthy unknown man from Medellin, at least in the US as most Americans don’t know of anyone from Medellin except for the cartel. As Pablo Escobar did manage to make over a million US dollars by the age of 22. Which shows even in his early years Escobar was destined to be successful regardless of the means. Contributing more to the speculation of what criminal enterprise or even legal business Escobar could have potentially been involved in. The majority of other drugs in Colombia (such as cannabis and cocaine) followed the lead of the US as well.
This meant one thing if Escobar was going to be in the drug business it would be illegal in Colombia and based on his already big aspirations (already over a million at 22), most likely the US and their agencies such as the DEA would be involved in watching Escobar and his eventual take down. Which they did in December of 1993 and were admittedly watching him since the mid to late 1970’s. In the beginning although he should have kept further under the radar Pablo Escobar was looked at as a Robin Hood type by the people of Medellin. As he helped rebuild churches, gave out money among other things to help the people. I’m not trying to paint Escobar in a positive light as he also blew up a plane killing 107 innocent people, among other numerous bombing and murders.
The other thing that Escobar pursued that would eventually lead to his downfall is politics. He ran and become an alternate in congress in the chamber of representatives. While running for office he made various speeches trying to build up his repetition as a candidate of the people (this was before he started killing innocent people as far as I know.) That he would fight for the little people, the small and often ignored by the elite and political class in Columbia. Escobar himself came from a modest/poor upbringing and I’m sure could relate to the common people. Whether he truly wanted to help the people, had a big ego or was running with his eye on eventually gaining the presidency and power it is hard to tell.
Escobar was eventually exposed as a drug trafficker due to an old mug shot taken in 1976 in which he was arrested and the charges were later dropped. But this didn’t stop first the press, and then the secretary of defense from attacking Escobar until he was essentially forced to resign (in April 1984 he had the secretary of defense killed). He had to give up his dream of becoming the president of Colombia. Which seemed more of a pipe dream then anything else. But he still had his billion dollar empire and the support of many of the people of Medellin, who still respected him for all the things he had done for them and the city and the things he had planned on doing during his campaign and most likely didn’t believe the corrupt press.
One of the things that Escobar fought against as both a member of congress and after his resignation was the extradition treaty signed between Colombia and the US. The way I understood extradition treaties were if someone commits a crime within the US and then tries to hide out in another country such as Colombia. Colombia would hand the person over to the “criminals” (police, government agents) in that country to be tried for the crime. But that is not the extraction treaty that the US had in mind. The US wanted to be able to extradite “drug dealers” that had never even stepped on America soil for crimes of shipping and trafficking drugs in the United States. The shipper or trafficker would only be violating the laws of the country that they never actual left. The Medellin Cartel later formed a collation against extradition and opposed all politicians that supported it.
This again shows the US governments influence in other countries foreign affairs. They wanted the ability to insure that, they could give life sentences as they essentially did in the case of Carlos Lehder who received a sentence of life without parole plus an additional 135 year sentence. Which was reduced to 55 years due to agreeing to testify against Manual Noriega, a former “friend” of the US and former president and CIA head George H.W Bush. Which after years of knowing of his cocaine trafficking decided to indict him and remove him as the military dictator of Panama. Noriega another CIA asset in which the US allowed to sell cocaine while putting people in the US in jail for not only sales but simple possession. Again violating self-ownership and their own 9th and 10th amendments. But in government it’s who you know not what your rights actually are.
Eventually Escobar essentially declared war on the Columbian government, committing acts of violence that killed hundreds of innocent people. In order to stop the violence and after the kidnapping of many of the elites children getting extreme pressure from them the president of Colombia made a deal with Escobar in which he would serve time (in a prison he built, which was far from a US prison with all types of luxuries and even occasional hookers, however the rights violations and horrible conditions of prisons especially for non violent and minor crimes will be covered in another section ) in order to stop the violence and keep the peace. The Colombian president although offered help from… guess who the United States (who seemed to want Escobar very badly), wanted to avoid help from the US. After evidence came to light that Escobar killed two of his own men while in the prison, Escobar got notice he would be brought to a real prison to serve his time. He then very easily escaped since he paid the guards and built the prison knowing how to escape and avoid the police and military. The Colombian president, keeping the command of search block, the Colombian army that originally searched for Escobar originally the Colombian president agreed to accept the help of the US and bring in the US special forces to hunt down Escobar who they found and killed in December 1993.
Until 1914 the US government had never passed a law or used force or violence to control what a person chooses to put in their body. Whether they recognized self-ownership or not, they did seem to practice it to an extent up until that time. But that all changed first with opium and then later with other drugs. And they brought countries like Colombia and others along with them. The US although powerful still wasn’t recognized as the super power it is today in 1914. But it had enough to influence other countries especially in the Americas. And it was definitely the world’s biggest super power when Escobar was killed in 1993. I don’t condone murder especially ones of innocent people. But the truth is all of the deaths ordered and or committed at the hands of Pablo Escobar could have been very easily avoided. By never changing the drug laws and keeping the government out of your body which they obviously believe they own. And by not getting in the way of people’s human right to chose what to consume. The same way Colombia followed the US in their ridiculous laws to keep drugs illegal, they would have followed US policy to insure that they were kept legal and private companies continued to make and distribute the drugs. To keep them save and keep the government out at the same time private inspection companies that would check the drugs to insure they were make safely and if so give their seal of approval. If not reject the drug. This will allow for competition, for there to be multiple companies not just one corrupt monopoly controlled by the government like the FDA. Not only would thousands and or possible more lives in Colombia alone, which I’m sure continues to happen, would be saved, but the people in the US wouldn’t be locked up for victimless crimes or over dosing from drugs that are made incorrectly or contain poisonous chemicals they shouldn’t (we will talk about this in future segments) as these are not professional chemist or pharmaceutical companies making these drugs (e will cover all of these issues in more detail in later sections).
When Pablo Escobar died there were hundreds of people that were ready to take his place. Every time a drug dealer dies, retires, or goes to jail. There’s one ready to take their place. It is not something you can stop. Currently there are possible 50 plus cartels on Mexico. Most of these gangs make Pablo Escobar look like saint. Cut of the head of the snake another one grows back.