Tracking the history of drugs trafficking

The history of drugs trafficking in the Americas is at once fascinating and depressing. I mentioned yesterday how the system (and thus traffickers) evolve and respond to changes in the market. I was writing in the context of contemporary trafficking. Yet, moving illegal narcotics and stimulants has a long history in the hemisphere. From the Latin American perspective, three key scholars on this history are Paul Gootenberg (Andes), Luis Astorga (Mexico), and Eduardo Sáenz Rovner (Colombia/Caribbean). Their work is very important in understanding the longevity of this complex.

Students of HIST 318 (to which this blog belongs) will read Gootenberg’s fabulous study Andean Cocaine: the making of a global drug.

Just to offer an example of what primary source materials await people interested in this subject, here is a 1947 report by Harry J. Anslinger, one of the pioneer anti-controlled substance crusaders, upon inspecting the drugs trade in Mexico.

This issue has long carried a central place in US-Latin American relations, and will continue to do so.

Do enjoy and please feel free to comment.

Anslinger Memo on Drug Trafficking 1947 p1 Anslinger Memo on Drug Trafficking 1947 p2 Anslinger Memo on Drug Trafficking 1947 p3

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