FIDEL: “Imperialism and Drugs”

Posted on May 31, 2010


Reflections by Fidel Castro

Imperialism and Drugs

When I was arrested in Mexico by the Security Federal Police, which as
fate would have it found some of our movements suspicious even though we
took every precaution to avoid being hit by Batista’s bloody hand, –as it
was the case on January 10, 1929 when Machado’s agents murdered Julio
Antonio Mella in Mexico’s capital-- the law enforcement agents thought
that ours was one of those smugglers’ organizations acting illegally along
the border of that poor nation in their commercial dealings with the
mighty, industrialized and rich neighboring power.
    Drugs were not an issue in Mexico then. Only later would such a
problem overwhelmingly affect and bring enormous damages to not only that
country but also to the rest of the continent.
    The countries of Central and South America invest a great deal of
energy in the struggle against the invasive cultivation of the coca leaves
used to produce cocaine, a substance obtained with very aggressive
chemical components that are extremely harmful to health and the human brain.
    Such revolutionary governments as those of the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela and Bolivia are making special efforts to cut off its progress,
as Cuba did timely.
    Evo Morales had long ago proclaimed his people’s right to drink coca
tea, an excellent traditional infusion of the ancient Aymara-Quechua
culture. Preventing them from drinking it is like telling the English they
cannot drink tea, a healthy habit imported from Asia, a region the United
Kingdom conquered and colonized for hundreds of years.
    Evo’s slogan was that “Coca is not cocaine.”
    It’s odd that opium, a substance extracted from poppy, --the same as
morphine-- and extremely harmful when consumed directly, --and which was
the result of the foreign conquest and colonization of such countries as
Afghanistan-- was used by the English colonialists as a currency that
another country with an ancient culture, such as China, had to forcibly
accept as payment for the sophisticated products that Europe received from
China and that until then had paid with silver coins. An often cited
example of that injustice, dating back to the first decades of the 19th
century, is that “a Chinese worker who became an addict spent two thirds
of his salary on opium leaving his family in dreadful poverty.”
    In the year 1839, opium was already within reach of Chinese workers
and farmers. That same year, United Kingdom’s Queen Victoria I imposed the
First Opium War.
    English and American tradesmen with strong support from the English
Crown perceived the potential for major trade and profits. By then, many
of the large US fortunes were based on that drug-trafficking.
     It would be worthwhile asking the big power, the same that has almost
one thousand military bases and seven fleets with nuclear aircraft
carriers and thousands of combat planes used to exert tyranny on the
world, how is it going to solve the drug issue.

Fidel Castro Ruz
May 30, 2010
3:30 PM

Cuban News Agency