A while back, Joseph Kirschke wrote a series of articles on the global reconfiguration of the cocaine trafficking as global flow whose fluidity allows it to reorganize itself when conditions require.
In this three-part series, he depicts a trafficking that is responsive to fluctuations in supply (as the Colombian cartels lost their absolute control over the traffic), distribution (as the US tightened its policies) and demand (which is soaring in Europe). All these conditions created the need for new routes for shipments to now go from Brazil and Venezuela to West African Gold Coast, and then on to Western Europe.
Additionally, the liquidity of this global traffic also adapts to changing economic conditions (for instance, as organized criminal groups switch from the US dollar to the Euro when it becomes more profitable to do so), racial profiling at border points (by switching from African mules – women – to white ones) and adapts to a variety of political realities in West Africa (by using failed states like Guinea-Bissau, recovering states like Sierra Leone or Liberia or mature democracies like Ghana).
The series also underlines the difficulties in establishing global governance in terms of trafficking as national considerations still largely prevail when it comes to law enforcement… and in places like Guinea-Bissau, law enforcement means corruption.
So, without further ado, part 1 lays out a general description of the changing nature of the traffic, focusing largely on the Gold Coast and especially Guinea-Bissau:
Part 2 gets into more specific instances of the impact of drug trafficking on the countries being now dragged into this global flow:
Part 3 focuses on Venezuela’s involvement in the traffic as Colombia’s cartels lost their grip on the business:
The whole thing is worth reading.