Cuba Drug Addiction Problem
The most significant characteristic of drug trafficking, substance abuse and addiction in Cuba is the remarkable absence of reports by the Cuban government. During Fidel Castro’s reign, drug trafficking has been a phenomenon that simply didn’t exist. It was banned. But many signs refute this claim.
The Miami Herald reported that in the late 1990s, a number of major drug trafficking figures from Colombia, Mexico, and Peru were reported to be holding meetings or living in Cuba. Given the repressive nature of the society, it is unlikely that these visits went unnoticed or were unapproved by the Cuban government.
About this time, the Drug Enforcement Agency estimated that two tons of cocaine per year were flowing through Cuba to other destinations. But then in 1998, a shipment of more than seven tons of cocaine was seized in Cartagena, Colombia, just days before it left for Cuba. From Cuba, the cargo was supposed to be re-shipped to Spain. As one Drug Enforcement Agent pointed out, large shipments like this are never made without the “pipeline” already having been tested. The company shipping this cocaine had previously made four other container shipments to Cuba that went on to Spain.
Several years earlier, a Cuban intelligence agent, who defected to the U.S. in the early 1990s, testified about Colombian drug smugglers who were allowed to use Cuba to transship drugs to the U.S. market in the 1970s. In 2004, one of the most notorious Colombian drug traffickers was arrested as he entered Cuba. And these are far from the only stories about traffickers using Cuba as a headquarters for their operations.
In 2004, the Cuban government did release some information about drug seizures. They reported that in the first half of 2003, they had interdicted nearly four tons of drugs, largely marijuana, plus nearly half a ton of cocaine.
In the U.S., Cuban Traffickers Play a Large Role in Eastern U.S. Cities
Across most of America, Mexican drug traffickers control much of the movement of drugs. But in the East, Cubans, Dominicans, Jamaicans and many other ethnic groups are heavily involved in the movement and sale of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and increasingly, prescription drugs. In magnitude, after Asian and Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the Colombian, Dominican, and Cuban.
Foreign-born and American-born Cuban groups have been found to be involved in trafficking heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in at least 25 cities in 11 states. Most of these cities are grouped along the urban eastern seaboard, but they also stretch all the way to Las Vegas and Carson City.
Cuban criminal groups in Florida are also involved in the rising numbers of indoor grows being found in that state.
Ironically, Cuba Offers Addiction Treatment through Medical Tourism Programs
Using psychiatry and therapeutic communities, Cuban promotes its addiction treatment programs in Canada, Latin America and Europe. Unfortunately, their highest profile addiction recovery patient, soccer player Diego Maradona, did not recover from his cocaine addiction after treatment there in 2000.
For most people gripped by addiction, it takes time to rebuild a life that a person has structured around their next dose of cocaine, heroin or alcohol. Years spent chasing addictive substances in nearly every case damage or destroy one’s integrity and personal values.
To provide a real chance at long-term sobriety, addiction recovery programs must help the addicted person let go of their guilt and recover their self-esteem and pride. To make drug-free decisions for the rest of their lives, those in recovery must learn the life skills that will keep them out of dangerous situations in which they might be tempted to use drugs again. Narconon helps individuals return to their families and communities drug-free and in control of their lives.