The Empire and Drugs

WHEN I was detained in Mexico by the Federal Security Police who, by pure chance became suspicious of certain movements of ours, despite the fact that we were making them with maximum care in order to avoid being snatched by the killer hand of Batista – like Machado did in Mexico when his agents assassinated Julio Antonio Mella in that country’s capital on January 10, 1929 – that agency thought that it concerned one of the smuggling organizations acting illegally on the border of that poor country in its commercial exchanges with the strong neighboring power, industrialized and rich.

At that time the drug problem in Mexico was virtually nonexistent: it was unleashed later in an overwhelming form with its enormous burden of damage, not only in that country but also in the rest of the continent.

The countries of Central and South America invested countless energies in combating the invasion of coca cultivation dedicated to the production of cocaine, a substance obtained from highly aggressive chemical compounds, which are so damaging to heath and the human mind.

Revolutionary governments like those of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Bolivia are making special efforts to halt its advance, as Cuba did opportunely.

For some time Evo Morales had been proclaiming the right of his people to drink coca tea, an excellent traditional infusion from the millennial Aymara-Quechua culture. Prohibiting it is like telling the British not to drink tea, a healthy custom imported by the United Kingdom from Asia, conquered and colonized by the former for hundreds of years.

“Coca is not cocaine,” was Evo’s slogan.

It is curious that opium, a substance extracted from poppies, as is morphine, fruit of the conquest and the foreign colonial period in countries such as Afghanistan, and which is extremely harmful taken directly, was utilized by the English colonialists as a currency which another country of millenary culture, like China, was forced to accept as payment for the sophisticated products that Europe received from China, up until then paid for in silver coinage. It is often quoted as an example of that injustice in the early decades of the 19th century that “a Chinese who became addicted spent two thirds of his wages on opium and left his family in dire poverty.”

In 1839, opium was already within the reach of Chinese workers and peasants. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom imposed the First Opium War in that same year.

English and American traders, strongly backed by the British Crown, saw the possibility of important exchange and profits. By that date, many of the large fortunes of the United States were based on that drug trafficking.

We will have to ask the great power supported by close to one thousand bases and seven fleets accompanied by nuclear aircraft carriers and thousands of fighter planes with which it tyrannizes the world, to explain to us how it is going to solve the drug problem.

Fidel Castro Ruz
| castro signature | MR Online
May 30, 2010
3:36 p.m.