Much like the Super Bowl here in the U.S., the FIFA World Cup can take over a city for its duration. The Super Bowl is one game held on one Sunday. The World Cup runs for an entire month and for that period the host city (in this case Rio De Janiero) is transformed into a Dionysian agora of constant partying. It also brings tourism and consumerism and with that, increased drug trafficking.
The world cup is no different than other blockbuster commercial events – it brings out the best in performance, talent, and fandom and the worst in human behavior. Sex, drugs and well, you know the phrase. The widespread hysteria can be overwhelming and cause people to do very stupid things. For instance, Jose Diaz Barajas, a known Mexican drug lord, purchased plane tickets in his own name to go view world cup soccer. He was arrested. A man accustomed to hiding so much that he is undoubtedly an expert, got caught up in the moment and got sloppy.
That may have been the only positive with regards to the World Cup’s effect on the drug trade.
Although he was caught, there are thousands getting away with capitalizing on the event to fuel the drug trade in Brazil. They are making money – as much green as perhaps the Brazilian rainforest can boast.
Namely it’s the drug cartels in Peru and Bolivia – two of the world’s top producers of cocaine. They have been drooling over the bountiful market being served up next door by the World Cup in Brazil and they are sending huge amounts of the drug to their giant South American neighbor.
“Brazilian traffickers know that during the World Cup, controls are lax and they are preparing for a veritable festival of cocaine consumption,” said Jaime Antezana, an expert at the Catholic University of Peru.
Since the start of the year there has been a huge increase in the number of so-called “drug flights” by small planes from Peru carrying cocaine to Bolivia. From there, it is transported over land to Brazil.
“Brazil is now the world’s second largest consumer of cocaine, but during the World Cup, it is expected to overtake the United States and become number one,” Antezana said.Brazil has Amazon frontiers with Peru, Colombia and Bolivia that are virtually impossible to control. These are the world’s top three producers of coca leaves, the drug’s raw material, and cocaine itself.
It’s good to know we’re still number one in the world at something.
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