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Drug War PathologiesEmbedded Corporatism and U.S. Drug Enforcement in the Americas$
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Horace A. Bartilow

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469652559

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652559.001.0001

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Drug War Profiteers

Drug War Profiteers

U.S. Drug Enforcement Decision Making and Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative

(p.19) Chapter 2 Drug War Profiteers
Drug War Pathologies

Horace A. Bartilow

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter is motivated by the following questions: Why do American policymakers continue to increase funding for a drug war that has failed to realize its objectives, and why do they consistently give greater priority to reducing the supply of illicit narcotics from foreign countries than reducing demand in the United States? In answering these questions, the chapter draws on theories of the state to highlight the role that corporate capital play in shaping the federal government’s budgetary allocations for drug enforcement. Congressional deliberations of Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative with Mexico serve as case studies to test pluralist, radical and elite theories of U.S. drug enforcement policy making. Radical and elite theories consistently explained the ways in which corporate power shaped the drug supply reduction strategies of Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative. Both theories also explain how these strategies justifies the provision of large government contracts to corporate members of the regime, how drug enforcement foreign aid is used to provide security for American oil companies that operate in Latin America, and how that aid is also used to market the defense industry’s military hardware to countries in the region to prosecute the drug war.

Keywords:   drug war profiteers, Plan Colombia, Mérida Initiative, enforcement decision making, theories of the state, pluralist theories, radical theories, elite theories

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