The Coke Coast: Cocaine’s New Venezuelan Address

The Coke Coast: Cocaine’s New Venezuelan Address

Read Part I and Part II of this series.

As European cocaine use has increased, heightened sea interdiction by the U.S. and the EU has pushed more traditional transatlantic cocaine trafficking routes -- and their profits -- further south in the Americas, making Venezuela and Brazil, via West Africa, Europe's main suppliers of cocaine. While it is unknown exactly how much of the estimated 250 metric tons of cocaine that enters the EU by sea or air each year arrives from Africa, it is believed that the cocaine smuggled across the continent's fragile Western region has a street value of at least $2 billion. Of this, 50 percent originates in Brazil, which borders each of the major coca-producing Andean nations, while another 30 percent comes from Venezuela.

The shift is reflected in the 15.8 million tons of cocaine seized in Brazil in 2005, more than double the amount confiscated in 2004, according to the State Department's 2006 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. Brazilian authorities have fought back, adopting a policy in 2004 to shoot down drug-transporting planes. But that appears to have only pushed the cocaine overland. Organized crime by urban gangs, meanwhile, has also proven to be a considerable challenge for Brazilian authorities.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.