Forwarded from Anthony (reply to Chris Brady)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Oct 10 08:26:06 MDT 2000

Hi Lou!

Here is a reply to Chris Brady regarding Latin American exports/imports.

Chris, thank you for your kind words.

Here are the answers to your questions about my note on Latin American
exports/imports, and a few more comments.

"1. Are all US dollar amounts in billions? (Some have no "b")"

Yes, except where otherwise noted.

"2. I wonder why "Cut Flowers" was included as an industrial export?"

It is not an industrial export, but it is among the top exports.

"If Cut Flowers then why not Coffee?  Not a biggie, regardless..."

Coffee continues to be Colombia's leading legal agricultural export, but
just barely. Not all coffee is exported through the coffee grower's
association, unlike cut flowers, so coffee doesn't appear on this list -
the list is not a measure of all exports - just the exports of the 200
biggest "enterprises". Banana exports, the most important legal
agricultural export from Colombia, do show up, because those exports are
centralized through one organization, just like cut-flower exports.

"Anyway, for your amusement here's a bit from the CIA World Factbook,
"Colombia": "Although oil consequently is overtaking coffee as the main
legal export,earnings from illicit drugs probably exceed those from any
other export....  active aerial eradication program seeks to virtually
eliminate coca and opium crops by 1997." This quote is from the 1996 edition.

It may be amusing but it also indicates the horrible failure of US attempts
to wipe out coca and opium cultivation, if that actually  is the point
behind such policies..."

Today's New York Times has an interesting article on how much big US
multinationals make money indirectly from drug trade money laundering
schemes - and incidentlaly how the US pays for its imports from Colombia.
Companies like Hewlett Packard (HP - I didn't get the spanglais joke about
this company's name until I was here for six months (HP= hio de puta))make
a bundle from selling computers etc. to drug dealers - who buy in the USA
with dollars, and recyycle these goods through colombia for pesos.

"If there ever was any success story from the erstwhile Communist  states
it was their elimination of drug abuse  --especially in stark contrast to
the cancerous catastrophy going on in those places now  that they are "free."

I am deeply sceptical about the success story of the "elmination of drug
abuse" in "erstwhile communist states." I think what really happened was a
combination of drug use being very underground, and state statistics on it
were falsified for public relations reasons.


Louis Proyect
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