Τετάρτη, 27 Μαρτίου 2013

Myanmar Is Losing Its Drug War, Too


Poppy field


Opium production in Myanmar is surging despite the best efforts
of the country's government and providers of foreign aid,
reports
 the AP's Jocelyn Gecker. Opium, heroin, and meth,
she writes, "are surging across Myanmar's borders in quantities
that the United Nations and police in neighboring countries say are
the highest levels in years."


Why? Because the alternatives are few and not nearly as
lucrative as poppy production:



A middle-aged farmer named Awa Wadaa grew opium for 20 years and
was pulling in $3,500 a year in the five-month poppy season when
the U.N. offered him a way out. In 2012, he worked year-round
rotating crops of corn, potatoes and sunflowers, and earned just
$500. 



Not only is opium more profitable, but its illegality is easily
circumvented with the right amount of bribery. A 15 percent tax, or
"paying respect," gets local authorities to turn a blind eye.
Myanmar's neighbors are
demanding
that the country wage all-out war on traffickers and
growers. 

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