Anti-drug missions in Bolivia have frequently been transformed into public scandals. These scandals emphasize and sometimes prove the direct involvement of high government officials in drug trafficking and their protection of drug lords.
Despite spending some $20 billion over the past decade on international drug control and interdiction efforts, illegal drugs from Latin America still flood the United States - a fact that concerns many within the military itself.
"A magnificent washing-machine is sold here, its trademark is Aruba. The machine is an Aruban-Colombian product, its model called Cartel. The brand is well-known for its good performance in the United States and Europe. It is recommended by former ministers, members of Parliament, owners of casinos, supermarkets, cosmetics manufacturers and importers of cars and batteries. The washing-machine fits everybody who has become inexplicably rich from one day to another."
The Mexican army, that historically has maintained a stringent "nationalistic" stance towards the United States, now supports a form of militarization that, disguising itself as a "war on drugs", imposes a "democracy of national security".
A surprising proposal presented to US President Bill Clinton by Argentine President Saul Menem during a visit in December 1996 to the White House seems to indicate a new role for the armed forces of this Latin American country.