Exam Preparation B2 C1 Lesson 15: Drug Trafficking

B2/C1 Exam Preparation Course Lesson 15: Drug Trafficking

DRUG TRAFFICKING AND VIOLENCE IN GUATEMALA
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP

Kimberly: Welcome to this crisis group vodcast. I’m Kimberly Abbot. Guatemala has become a principal hub for illegal narcotics heading from South American producers to U.S. consumers. And Guatemalans face crippling violence as drug cartels battle law enforcement and each other. Guatemala is newly democratic after decades of civil war and state sponsored violence, and it’s economy is growing steadily. Yet, violence and corruption, byproducts of trafficking, threaten to pervade Guatemalan politics and society. Guatemalans leadership is only beginning to organise an effective response. To talk about this, I’m here with Mark Schneider, Crisis Group senior vice president and special advisor on Latin America.
What social, environmental, and political factors make Guatemala such a hub for international drug trade?
Mark: I think, first, you have to mention geography. That Guatemala is positioned right on the main road, from the Andean countries where cocaine is produced, and the United States, where cocaine unfortunately is consumed. So, what’s happened over the past several years, that drug traffickers have begun to ship through Central America, through Guatemala, to Mexico, and then to the U.S. and as a result Guatemala, particularly, has felt the full brunt of that increased traffic. Second, you have to remember that this is now fifteen years after the signing of the peace agreement, and one of the commitments was to include the indigenous population in the mainstream economic, political growth in the country. That just really has not happened, and as a result you still have a broad portion of the population that feels itself outside the mainstream of society. And, as a result, you have enormous poverty among that community, and young people both in the rural areas and in the urban areas just simply have no options. And, as a result, many of them are available to drug traffickers, organised crime, gangs.
That’s a major problem. Guatemala really has to do more in terms of finding the resources, increasing taxes to pay for these services, to deal with the social problems, and to deal with strengthening of its law enforcement institutions.
Kimberley: What’s the connection between Guatemala’s political system, its fledgling democracy, and its role in international drug trade?
Mark: That means that it’s institutions are not yet fully developed, and particularly its police, justice, prosecutors, judges. And, as a result, the drug cartels, with the enormous amount of money that they have to operate, and the strength of arms that they have to use, have been able to push the Guatemalan government around. And to establish themselves in the areas where they need in order to move cocaine through the country.
Kimberley: So, they are essentially acting as bullies.
Mark: They are essentially acting as bullies, or buying whoever they need, and, in that process,  obviously, they weaken Guatemala’s governmental institutions. And then, they also use that money to influence campaigns, to buy candidates, and to generally try to ensure that local governments, where they’re operating, either ignore them or collaborate with them. That’s why, over the course of the last several years, when the CC, which is the international commission against impunity in Guatemala, was brought in to operate. One of the things it was able to do was to remove nearly 1700 police. Police who had been found to cooperate with or collaborate with these drug traffickers.
Kimberley: And what about the political elites? How many of them are connected to this drug trade?
Mark: You really can’t say this particular individual or another individual, but several of those political figures have been prosecuted. Others, in the various parties, have been forced not to run for office. And, in some instances, it’s clear that they, at the local level particularly, they collaborate fully with the organised crime.
Kimberley: You mentioned the weaknesses of the Guatemalan institutions. How are they equipped to deal with this international drug trade and has anything that they’ve done been effective to date?
Mark: Well, there are several things that have begun to mark a change. As I mentioned, the international commission against impunity has began to show that you can prosecute, effectively, officials who engage in corruption, with drug traffickers or with organised crime. And they’ve done that. They’ve removed ministers, vice ministers, and they’ve been prosecuted. Guatemala has also recently named a very effective and aggressive attorney general, who has already begun to re-institute reforms that her predecessor had stalled. Similarly, there’s been some indication that some of the reforms that have been proposed, at the very least, both presidential candidates felt that they had to say that they would continue those reforms. And finally, the one other reform that we should mention is that a very active and brave attorney was named, by the outgoing government, to head a national commission on police reform. And, she is willing to continue in that role, and she has already begun to establish a road map forward, with respect to police reform.
Kimberley: As the ultimate market for the drugs that pass through Guatemala. What can the United States do to address the social and political effects of trafficking?
Mark: Well, first, the United States really should focus on reducing demand here. To the degree that the U.S. reduces demand, that’s probably the single most important factor in helping Guatemala and the other Central American countries, and the Andean countries. Reduce demand, reduce the market, and make it less profitable for the drug traffickers. And, second, the United States could do a lot better job in cutting off the flow of weapons, from the United States to whoever wants to buy them in these countries. And, third, the United States could do more, although it’s already begun, but it could do more in strengthening the legal and law enforcement institutions in Guatemala, and the other countries. And that’s what has been attempted recently, but the full impact of those efforts has yet to have a demonstrated effect on reducing drug trafficking.
Kimberley:  Thanks Mark. Thank you for joining us for this crisis group vodcast. I’m Kimberley Abbot.

ENGLISH

 

Nouns

drug trafficking

hub

drug cartel

law enforcement

byproduct

advisor

drug trade

drug trafficker

brunt

peace agreement

commitment

mainstream

a broad portion

gang

major problem

prosecutor

bully

whoever

political elite

attorney

road map

 

Adjectives

crippling

 

Verbs and idioms

to head

to sponsor

to pervade

to ship

to bring in

to stall

Understanding the nature and threats of drug trafficking to national and regional security in West Africa

Kwesi Aning, John Pokoo / Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Ghana

Introduction
Since the 1990s, West Africa has become a major transit and repackaging hub for cocaine and heroin originating from the Latin American and Asian producing areas to European markets. Drug trafficking is far from new to the region. However, the phenomenon rapidly expanded in the mid-2000s as a result of a strategic shift of Latin American drug syndicates towards the rapidly growing European market and in response to more robust U.S. anti-narcotics strategies. This strategic shift led the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to state in 2008 that ‘…the crisis of drug trafficking … is gaining attention. Alarm bells are ringing …West Africa has become a hub for cocaine trafficking. This is more than a drugs problem. It is a serious security threat’ (UNODC 2008: 1).

West Africa presents an ideal geographical choice for the narcotics trade. First, it serves as a logistical transit center for drug traffickers: its geography, particularly, Guinea Bissau with its numerous uninhabited islands and archipelagoes makes detection difficult and facilitates transit; the region boasts well-established networks of West African smugglers and crime syndicates, leading international analysts to conclude in 2004 that there are definitive African criminal networks emerging; and a vulnerable political environment that creates opportunities for such operations. In several countries, civil wars, insurgency operations, and coups d’état have led to diminishing human capital, social infrastructure and productive national development assets. They have also generated instability, with an increase in the number of armed groups operating in the region and an increase in flows of small arms and light weapons (SALW). Instability in North Africa has also seen flows of heavier weapons entering through the Sahel region (Aning and Amedzrator 2012). As in the case of Mali, drug traffickers have often exploited such instability to further their own interests. While violence on the scale of Latin American drug trafficking is yet to manifest itself, the potential for the drug trade to become a source of violent political competition in some countries nonetheless exists.
More recently, and as reports on drug use in the region increase, experts have highlighted the human security threats posed by drug trafficking, for which institutions and policy makers are particularly ill-prepared to respond to. One of the main challenges lies in the fact that the predominant approach to drug trafficking in the region to date has been based on the international narcotics control regime which is centered on stemming the supply of drugs through law enforcement efforts. Limited focus has been placed on the health and developmental aspects of the spillover effects of drug trafficking, which over time could constitute a greater security threat to West Africa than currently acknowledged.
This paper examines the impact of drug trafficking on national and regional security in West Africa. It begins by providing an overview of the main security threats that drug trafficking poses to states and the sub-region, including the possible links between drug trafficking and terrorism. Subsequently, the paper provides an overview of how the incidence of drug trafficking and perceived threats are being articulated in policy circles; and the nature of UN, AU and ECOWAS policy responses to drug trafficking and the security threats it poses. In the final section, the paper identifies knowledge gaps in the existing literature on drug trafficking in West Africa.

Over the past few years, the UN Security Council has periodically discussed the growing threat posed by drug trafficking in Africa, and more recently, West Africa and the Sahel Region. The latter has led to the adoption of several important UN Security Council Presidential Statements (PRSTs) in which the UN Secretary-General was urged to consider mainstreaming the issue of drug trafficking as a factor in conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis, integrated missions’ assessment and planning and peace building support. In February 2012, the president of the Council issued a statement ‘… calling for system-wide United Nations action to help combat the spread of illicit weapons and drug trafficking, piracy and terrorist activity in a cross-section of fragile countries already struggling to overcome the consequences of years of civil war and instability.’ The Secretary-General’s July 2012 report on the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) activity stated that the region continues to be a transit point for cocaine and heroin and countries in the region are not prepared to deal with the related rising consumption rates. The existence of trafficking routes through the Sahel has also generated concern, because it remains outside the control of most government forces, elevating the fear that insurgent and terrorist groups reap the rewards of trafficking there.
(SOURCE: http://www.stabilityjournal.org/article/view/sta.df/184#cc-by)

ENGLISH

 

Nouns

repackaging

shift

drug syndicate

security threat

network

smuggler

insurgency operation

coup d’état

development assets

light weapons

police makers

spillover effect

knowledge gap

 

Adjectives

robust

cross-section

 

Verbs and idioms

to be far from new to

Alarm bells are ringing

to reap

WRITING SKILLS

You can either:
* Complete 2 writing assignments. You have 40 minutes if you wish to complete one now. The 2nd assignment you can complete at home.
* You can also watch our Grammar VIDEO tutorials during the next 40 minutes if you prefer to complete the Writing at home.

For IELTS (Academic format), please select the ESSAY topic (250 words: in 40 minutes. Counts for 2/3 of the Writing score) and GRAPH DESCRIPTION (150 words: in 20 minutes. Counts for 1/3 of the Writing score). You will have 1h to complete both tasks on the day of the exam.

* ESSAY: Write an essay discussing the connection between drug trafficking and other crimes such as gun crime, prostitution etc.
* GRAPH DESCRIPTION:
Recreational Drugs: dependence and physical harm
This graph shows the addiction level and damage caused physically to the users, by popular recreational drugs. “Recreational drug use is the use of a drug (legal, controlled, or illegal) with the primary intention to alter the state of consciousness (through alteration of the central nervous system) in order to create positive emotions and feelings.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Summarise the  information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

b2 c1 lesson 15 graph description writing section

For IELTS (General format), please select the ESSAY topic (250 words) and LETTER (150 words). You will have 1h to complete both tasks on the day of the exam.

* ESSAY: Write an essay discussing the connection between drug trafficking and other crimes such as gun crime, prostitution etc.
* LETTER: Write a letter to a drugs clinic volunteering to help rehabilitate drug addicts. What qualities do you possess that would be advantageous to the programme.

For FCE, please select 2 of the following: ESSAY, LETTER/EMAIL, REPORT, or REVIEW. You will have 1h20 to complete the tasks on the day of the exam.

* ESSAY: Write an essay discussing the connection between drug trafficking and other crimes such as gun crime, prostitution etc.
* LETTER: Write a letter to a drugs clinic volunteering to help rehabilitate drug addicts. What qualities do you possess that would be advantageous to the programme.
* REVIEW: You have just read an article on the rise drug cartels and their relationships with politicians in order to further their business. Write a review on the impact this has on a country’s infrastructure.
* REPORT: Write a report on the rise crime and poverty in countries like Guatemala whose infrastructure is damaged by drug trafficking.

For CAE, please select 2 of the following: ESSAY, LETTER/EMAIL, PROPOSAL, REPORT, or REVIEW. You will have 1h30 to complete the tasks on the day of the exam.
* ESSAY: Write an essay discussing the connection between drug trafficking and other crimes such as gun crime, prostitution etc.
* LETTER: Write a letter to a drugs clinic volunteering to help rehabilitate drug addicts. What qualities do you possess that would be advantageous to the programme.
* REVIEW: You have just read an article on the rise drug cartels and their relationships with politicians in order to further their business. Write a review on the impact this has on a country’s infrastructure.
* PROPOSAL: Write a proposal for an innovative way of dealing with people with drugs problems rather than sending them to prison.
* REPORT: Write a report on the rise crime and poverty in countries like Guatemala whose infrastructure is damaged by drug trafficking.

For TOEFL, please select the ESSAY topic and write a second essay response based on either the READING or LISTENING passage of the lesson. You will have 50 minutes to complete both essays on the day of the exam.

* ESSAY:  Write an essay discussing the connection between drug trafficking and other crimes such as gun crime, prostitution etc.
* ESSAY: Essay response based on either the reading or listening passage of today’s lesson (Drug Trafficking): Based on the reading, how have advancements in technology, transport and science  contributed to the growth in drug demands? What can be done to stunt this growth?

B2_C1 Exam preparation-drug trafficking

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*