Gangsters, politicians, cocaine and bankers

Published on Pambazuka News, by Horace Campbell, June 24, 2010.

Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, alleged drug lord and leader of Jamaican gang, the Shower Posse, was arrested on 22 June. Coke’s arrest, writes Horace Campbell, opens up the possibility to ‘reveal the full extent of the corruption of the politics of Jamaica and the Caribbean by their rulers in collaboration with the intelligence, commercial and banking infrastructures of the United States’. Noting that ‘political retrogression, gangsterism and violence have now reached the proportions that were similar to the period of enslavement’, Campbell says the ’struggle against the cocaine business in the Caribbean is a struggle for a new form of society’ … //


The international market for illicit drugs is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The UN conservatively estimated that this branch of capitalism grosses over US$300 billion each year. From Afghanistan to Columbia and from Guinea Bissau to Mexico, this international trade and military forces intersect to create killings, confusion and fear. The coast of West Africa is now seeing a repeat of the history of the Caribbean as a transshipment point for cocaine. Recent stories of the uncovering of US$2 billion worth of cocaine in the Gambia exposed one indication of the growth of this form of capitalism in West Africa. Drawing from their experiences of covering the tracks of drug dealers in the Caribbean, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) now presents the fight against drug trafficking as one of the justifications for this US military force in Africa.

The Anglo-American media has worked hard to distort the true history of the linkages between cocaine and politics in the Caribbean. Despite the crisis, the opposition PNP dare not call for a full exposure of the truth of Dudus because the PNP dons are compromised by the trade in cocaine. Both political parties in Jamaica have been opposed to a truth commission to detail the extent of the relationships between gangsters, politicians, bankers and the cocaine trade. The violence and carnage in Jamaica that gave Jamaica the label of the murder capital of the world did not seriously affect the tourist industry. The political leaders had organised the garrison communities and the tourist industry in such a way that those profiting from tourism and gangsterism would continue to do business, regardless of whether there was a state of emergency in Jamaica or not. By the first decade of the 21st century there was not one poor community in Jamaica that was not besmirched by the violence and the killings. The rich lived in sealed and gated communities while the poor lived in constant danger. The real tragedy was that the scale of the violence acted as a prohibitive factor for real political organising of the poor.

This scale of gangsterism and neoliberalism is to be found in all parts of the Caribbean. New networks of peace, justice and truth remain throughout the region exposing the corruption of the societies. The traditional left, silenced by the quagmire of the implosion of the Grenadian revolution are sidelined as the youth search for new forms of political engagement.

Political retrogression, gangsterism and violence have now reached the proportions that were similar to the period of enslavement. This was the period when black life was worthless. Yet, it was in the midst of the most dismal period of oppression when the enslaved of Haiti rose up and built a revolutionary movement that shocked the world.

The politics of truth in the Caribbean will have to build on the lessons and positive features of the Haitian and Cuban revolutions to transcend the new traditions of gangsterism, fraudulent bankers, politicians and their gun-toting dons. The struggle against the cocaine business in the Caribbean is a struggle for a new form of society. In the interim, it is hoped that Dudus did make the tape while he was in hiding so that the entire political establishment can be exposed as enablers of the international gangsterism that is hidden behind the War on Drugs. (full long text).

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