I read a report in the news recently that Guinea-Bissau is now considered to be the world's first narco-state, thanks to becoming a major cocaine trafficking point on the Colombia to Europe route. The previous route went largely through Jamaica - which because of its positioning in the middle of the Caribbean is perfect for drug trafficking - particuarly to the US.
But recently we have applied more pressure - no doubt with big-time assistance from the US and UK - to the traffickers - and we were no longer as convenient as our geography would suggest. So a new route was found, and Guinea-Bissau - with its multitude of small islands, weak to non-existant sea-border policing and the fact that its as near to South America as Africa gets -is now a major point. In just a couple short years, Colombian drug lords have pretty much taken over the state, and now live free to show off their wealth, albeit with the protection of body guards.
So just how much money Jamaica must have been making from the cocaine trade I don't know - but it must have been much more than I thought. I guess we dodged the bullet of becoming a narco-state. And the money that was flowing in must have allowed us a higher standard of living than we would otherwise have had. I knew this to a certain level - but I wonder now if the cocaine trade helped us to sustain our economy and keep it afloat - as did the ganja trade in the1970s.
And now that we have lost - at least the European trade - it is interesting that our economy does not appear to have suffered a steep decline.
Perhaps the cocaine money was not distributed much in the economy, and went only to the benefit of drug lords and their middlemen and 'facilitators'. It appears this might be the case in Guinnea-Bissau, where the economy appears to remain dreadfully poor - despite this new trade.