Drug Trafficking WikiLeak'ed

Central American Drug Cartels & Illegal Activities Revealed

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What is WikiLeaks?

WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit organization that publishes classified information, submitted from anonymous sources and whistleblowers, with the intention of "bringing important news and information to the public" (WikiLeaks). The organization was founded in 2006 by Julian Assange, a well-known hacker and activist for the freedom of the press.


The website primary receives its data via a highly secure electronic dropbox, and the information must be filtered and checked for validity before being published. With its articles, WikiLeaks publishes original documents in order to allow people to read the entire truth. Information is not censored, but publication of the news may be delayed in order to protect innocent people (WikiLeaks).


The organization leaks highly secret information, but maintains its defence that it has the right to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Because tips are anonymous, governments of different nations have had difficulty in prosecuting those who leak the secret information. The organization has fended off many legal and political attacks because of this divine human right.


WikiLeaks is highly dedicated to its cause and strongly believes that the public deserves to have access to important hidden news. Public interest keeps governments honest, and it believes that publication of this information improves transparency in governments, while allowing people to ask the hard questions of the government and corporations (WikiLeaks).


Central American Drug Cartels

A major issue in Central America is the illegal drug trade. It is estimated between $8.9 and $24.9 billion worth of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine flows from Mexico to the United States of America and Canada each year (Cook, 9). Mexico is a major producer and transporter of marijuana and methamphetamine; when the shipping route of cocaine was closed through Florida, the cocaine trade was transferred to Mexico (Hooper).


In addition to drug trafficking, Mexican drug cartels have been affiliated with human trafficking, arms dealing, and kidnapping. Although, cartels have existed for quite some time, the amount of illegal activity has sparked significant government involvement in recent decades. The corruption of many Mexican law enforcement officials has allowed for the drug trade routes to be secured, mainly through California and Texas (Cook, 16).


Mexican drug cartels are notoriously violent, and their connections are spreading into the United States of the America. They have recently been found to be working with prison and street gangs to distribute the drugs (Cook, 10). This is an issue because the drug trade its complex system, and it is becoming more difficult to track down those responsible for the illicit activities.


There are seven main cartels in Mexico: Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel, Tijuana Cartel, Juárez Cartel, Colima Cartel, Oaxaca Cartel, and Valencia Cartel. These cartels operate independently of each other, but together, their respective "turfs" encompass most of Mexico.

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Cook, Colleen. "Mexico's Drug Cartels." WikiLeaks Document Release. WikiLeaks, 28 Feb. 2008. Web. 30 May 2013. <wlstorage.net/file/crs/RL34215.pdf>.

"Drug Trafficking in Latin America | Drug Policy Alliance." Drug Policy Alliance | Guiding Drug Law Reform & Advocacy. Drug Policy Alliance, n.d. Web. 2 June 2013. <http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-trafficking-latin-america>.


Connection Between WikiLeaks and Central American Drug Trafficking

These two seemingly unrelated topics are in fact, very interrelated. The leak of information on the cartels, its members, routes, and illicit activities can be economically devastating. The Mexican cartels rely on discretion and secrecy for its operations to continue as its trade routes are supposed to be secure and secret. With public knowledge, law enforcement can track these routes and therefore, the drugs they transport.


Public knowledge of the cartels' inner workings will prove fatal to their business because their illegal activities will be exposed and possibly shut down. Furthermore, exposure risks the loss of consumers because they will worry about not receiving their drugs. People who are addicted to drugs are desperate to get the hit, and they will do almost anything to have their "fix".


Cartels know this and this is the exact reason why the business generates billions of dollars of profit each year. However, consumers will look elsewhere if there is a chance that their sources cannot provide what they need. Economically speaking, the demand remains the same, but the supply is severely much less. This results in a shortage because the demand is inelastic.


The drug dealers can do one of two things, they can either keep supply at where it is, and charge higher prices. Because the demand is inelastic, they know that the consumers are willing to pay the price for the drugs. However, this is not sustainable because the quantity is short, and the cartels will eventually run out of supply. They therefore, have to move drug producing operations and find other ways to transport drugs. These cartel also must do this without the public or law enforcement finding out.


This can further complicate things because routes and sources are established. By moving these operations, territory between cartels may overlap and cause conflict. Conflict between drug cartels inevitably results in violence, which may be conspicuous, and further reveal their inner workings. WikiLeaks exposure poses a great risk to the economic well-being of these Central American drug cartels.

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The map demonstrates the amount of cocaine that is used in countries around the world. Globalization, better technology, and complex operations have made it easier for cocaine to be transported to its various destinations around the world.


"World Drug Report 2012." United Nations Drug Report 2012. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d. Web. 3 June 2013. <www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/WDR2012/WDR_2012_web_small.pdf>.


Economic Impacts

Wikileaks

Information leaked on WikiLeaks can be economically devastating to nations around the world. Because the information is classified, it is not meant to be discovered by the public; this can be especially bad if the information leaked, will ruin a reputation fo a nation.


Even though the news may be viewed as "important for the public to know", it can also be the reason that people are killed in countries with conflict. Information released from WikiLeaks will inevitably be met with backlash from whichever nation is involved in the document.


On the other hand, WikiLeaks has also forced nations, the United States for example, to examine what information should be classified and which information should not (Rath). Information that has been relinquished by the organization should not have necessarily been classified in the first place according to government officials.



Central American Drug Trade

Because the drug trade is within the underground economy or more popularly referred as the "black market", the profits made by the cartels are not recorded in the Gross Domestic Product of Mexico. The transactions, shipping, and production are all illegal, and therefore, cannot be declared.


Billions of dollars are unaccounted for in the Gross Domestic Product, which skews the numbers as they are understated. Furthermore, drug cartels are organizations that employ thousands of people. If a revelation of these cartels were to be released, many people would lose their jobs and their means of living. Although their means of living is illegal, they are affected economically because they are not making income and providing for themselves.


Although the drug trade is illegal, it brings in billions of dollars to war-torn, impoverished Latin American nations. The people associated with these organizations are provided with a source of income; a shut-down of these organizations may throw these unstable countries into further social unrest. This is because the people will be even more unhappy, and possibly more violent.

Impact on Canada

The revelation of drug trafficking in Mexico may cause a disturbance in the trading relationship between Mexico and Canada. Canadians may feel like they do not want to associate with a nation that does not have a handle on its drug problem. Also, because laws have made drugs and other substances illegal, it may be more difficult for Central American drugs to be smuggled into Canada.


A reduction of trade between the two nations can be economically harmful because Mexico is one of Canada's largest trading partners. This impedes the growth of Canada because businesses have to look in other markets for buyers of Canadian products. Therefore, rather than experiencing economic growth, Canada may experience economic stagnation or even decrease, which is detrimental to the economy because the Gross Domestic Product is decreasing.


WikiLeaks also has a profound impact on Canada because information released may be harmful to the country's reputation. If news is leaked that is damaging to Canada's image, it may cause other countries to stop trading. This will cause people to lose jobs, spend less, and save more; ultimately, the nation will fall into a recession if countries cut ties.


Information that is leaked may be classified for important reasons, such as raids on terrorist groups or technological development. Classified information that is leaked may be the reason that many innocent lives are destroyed. For this reason, many countries around the world advocate to remove the WikiLeaks site.

Sources

Please note that this program did not allow indentations for the citations.


"About." WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks, n.d. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://wikileaks.org/About.html>.


Cook, Colleen. "Mexico's Drug Cartels." WikiLeaks Document Release. WikiLeaks, 28 Feb. 2008. Web. 30 May 2013. <wlstorage.net/file/crs/RL34215.pdf>.

"Drug Trafficking in Latin America | Drug Policy Alliance." Drug Policy Alliance | Guiding Drug Law Reform & Advocacy. Drug Policy Alliance, n.d. Web. 2 June 2013. <http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-trafficking-latin-america>.


"Drug trafficking." United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d. Web. 1 June 2013. <http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/index.html>.


"Drug trafficking threatens rule of law in Central America – UN report." UN News Centre. United Nations, 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 1 June 2013. <http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43085&Cr=drug+trafficking&Cr1#.UbOqt_m1FqV>.


Hooper, Karen. "The Global Intelligence Files - The Mexican Drug Cartel Threat in Central America." WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks, 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 3 June 2013. <http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/51396_the-mexican-drug-cartel-threat-in-central-america-.html>.


Keefe, Patrick Radden. "How a Mexican Drug Cartel Makes Its Billions - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times, 15 June 2012. Web. 3 June 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/magazine/how-a-mexican-drug-cartel-makes-its-billions.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>.


Rath, Arun. "The Wikileaks Effect." PRI's The World. N.p., 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 3 June 2013. <http://www.theworld.org/2011/12/wikileaks-effect/>.


"Transnational Organized Crime in Central America and the Caribbean: A Threat Assessment." United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d. Web. 2 June 2013. <www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Studies/TOC_Central_America_and_the_Caribbean_Exsum_english.pdf>.


"World Drug Report 2012." United Nations Drug Report 2012. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d. Web. 3 June 2013. <www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/WDR2012/WDR_2012_web_small.pdf>.