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.