We will see the same key people in positions of power who are benefiting from the drug trade and who’ll be the official selected drug lords. At the moment, we are seeing that struggle of market share that I have mentioned earlier, where the state, in particular in the imperial center, has a great hand in influencing and shaping the events.
And by ignoring Colombia, by normalizing Colombia, by saying it is a stable country and a formal democratic state, they can actually switch the attention on Mexico and also claim success that everything is going right. And by doing that they can also use Colombia as a model for Afghanistan and Central America, and we hear much discussion about this.
But again we will see the same kind of patterns emerge in which the same people will be involved, the same people will be benefiting, and the same people will be targeted, when people are resisting rather than maintaining that political economy.
LS: Related to the drug war raging in Mexico, what are your thoughts on the claim by a Mexican official that the CIA manages the drug trade? 
OV: It’s the state, but in particular the armed bodies of the state, like the intelligence agencies, which as political entities are able to actually police these kinds of operations. How else can it be done? What is the history? What we know from researchers like Peter Dale Scott and Douglas Valentine is that this has been true since at least the 1970s in the Latin American context. 
And I would have to agree to some extent that it manages it, because it decides as a policy maker how and for whom the market share will actually be determined. Again, in Mexico this is what we see right now. How the events unfold will determine who will get that market share, who will be the monopolists, and who will be the official drug lords. It has nothing to do really with what we hear in the media.
LS: So the CIA is in the drug trade something like the middle-man for the financial sector?
OV: Yes, I think that analogy would be quite useful. As a middle-man, as a liaison and enforcer, and as also a communicator between these various criminal elements before the drug trade shapes itself into a form that is both beneficial and subservient to US imperialism.
1. Related to the topic “Cocaine as just another commodity”, compare also Steven Topik, Carlos Marichal, Zephyr Frank (Edit.)From Silver to Cocaine: Latin American Commodity Chains and the Building of the World Economy, 1500-2000, Duke University Press, 2006.
2. Lars Schall, Behind the Wheel, Interview with Catherine Austin Fitts, August 29, 2010.
3. Compare for example “HSBC exposed: Drug money banking, terror dealings“, published July 17, 2012. “International banking giant HSBC may have financed terrorist groups and funneled Mexican drug money into the US economy through its lax policies, a damning Senate report reveals. The bank’s bosses have apologized for the misconduct.”
4. Mark Karlin: “US Government Gives Wink and Nod to Banks Laundering Money for Drug Lords, Terrorist Affiliated Banks and Rogue Nations“, published July 24, 2012.
5. Compare Paul Gootenberg (Edit.): Cocaine: Global Histories, Routledge, 1999.
6. Compare Henrik Kruger: The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence, and International Fascism, South End Press, 1980.
7. Chris Arsenault: “Mexican official: CIA ‘manages’ drug trade“. July 24, 2012.
8. Compare for example Peter Dale Scott: Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina, Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.
Oliver Villar is the author of (co-written with Drew Cottle) Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: US Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia” (Monthly Review Press. He has published broadly on the Inter-American cocaine drug trade, the US War on Drugs and Terror in Colombia, and US-Colombian relations. Oliver Villar is a lecturer in politics at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia, a country where he has lived for most of his life. He was born in Mendoza, Argentina. In 2008 he completed his PhD on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade at the UWS Latin American Research Group (LARG).