“Jamaican Security forces searched a volatile Kingston slum for an alleged drug lord on Tuesday after at least seven people died in violence triggered by government orders to extradite him to the United States,” reports Reuters. “Heavily armed soldiers and police conducted went door-to-door in the hunt for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke in the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood of West Kingston.”
Jamaican security forces attack a Kingston neighborhood in an effort to capture Coke.
The United States says Coke is one of the world’s most dangerous criminals, responsible for trafficking cannabis and crack cocaine around the Caribbean, North America and the UK in exchange for guns and money, according to The Guardian. Prior to the Obama administration leaning on Jamaica’s PM Bruce Golding and his Labor Party, Coke enjoyed substantial protection from the government.
Feds in the U.S. unveiled charges against Coke last August and accused him of selling marijuana and cocaine in New York and elsewhere and arming his associates with illegally trafficked weapons. The Justice Department lists Coke among the “world’s most dangerous narcotics kingpins.”
It turns out arresting Coke will be no easy matter. Gang members attacked police stations in and around Kingston as it became clear Coke was a wanted man. “In response, the prime minister put troops on the streets and declared a state of emergency in Tivoli Gardens, the west Kingston neighborhood, or ‘garrison,’ loyal to Mr. Coke, who is commonly known as Dudus, and his Shower Posse gang,” reports the New York Times.
It is the sort of one dimensional story the corporate media loves — a drug-dealing bad guy and his armed supporters fighting against a noble government determined to bring him to justice.
As usual, the corporate media only tells one side of the story.
“For many in Kingston’s slums, Dudas is a much better provider of political goods (education, security, and food) than the state, which translates into the popular support he gets locally,” writes John Robb for Global Guerillas.
“To the poor residents of west Kingston, Coke is a benefactor who distributes cash, food and scholarships. They call him ‘Dudus’ and vow to die for him,” adds The New York Daily News.
“Dudus is benefactor to many persons who depend on him to send their children to school, buy food and, most important, settle disputes beyond Jamaican borders,” notes The Jamaica Gleaner.
Nearly 20 percent of the Jamaican population live in abject poverty while close to 6 percent live on less than two dollars a day. The working poor earn an average of $50 a week if they are lucky.
“The government, which spends 48 per cent of the country’s GNP to pay Jamaica’s external debt, doesn’t really make a difference in the lives of the poor, who have to depend on charity to survive,” writes the Western Catholic Reporter.
Former Prime Minister Michael Manley was elected on a non-IMF platform in 1976, but was subsequently forced into Jamaica’s first loan shark agreement with the IMF in 1977. In 2001, Jamaica owed over $4.5 billion to the IMF, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank among other “international lending agencies,” i.e., the international banksters.
“We are seeking to get US$1.2 billion [from the IMF], and it is not a panacea. That US$1.2 billion is going to stop at the Bank of Jamaica, not one penny of that is going to go to the Ministry of Finance, that’s the nature of IMF arrangements,” PM Bruce Golding declared last December. In other words, poverty will continue in Jamaica and will likely get worse.
“The country is paying out increasingly more than it receives in total financial resources, and if benchmark conditionalities are not met, the structural adjustment program is made more stringent with each re negotiation,” explains Stephanie Black and “Life and Debt,” a documentary about IMF-imposed poverty in Jamaica (see a clip from the film below).
“To improve balance of payments, devaluation (which raises the cost of foreign exchange), high interest rates (which raise the cost of credit), and wage guidelines (which effectively reduce the price of local labor) are prescribed. The IMF assumes that the combination of increased interest rates and cutbacks in government spending will shift resources from domestic consumption to private investment…. Increased unemployment, sweeping corruption, higher illiteracy, increased violence, prohibitive food costs, dilapidated hospitals, increased disparity between rich and poor characterize only part of the present day economic crisis.”
In other words, a perfect “investment” climate for the banksters and ideal conditions for transnational corporations as they scour the globe in search of slave labor gulags. Jamaica sports “free trade zones” where workers toil five to six days a week for corporations and earn the legal minimum wage of $30 a week.
Considering the criminal practices of the IMF, World Bank, and the international bankers, it is quite natural and understandable that the Jamaicans have turned to a drug lord in order to have basic necessities met.
Only drug kingpins not working for Wall Street and the bankers are considered international criminals. As the UN’s crime chief Antonio Maria Costa pointed out in January of 2009, the illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat during the manufactured global financial crisis. Billions of misery-soaked dollars keep the Wall Street ship afloat.
The bankers work closely with the government and the CIA in order to make sure millions of Americans get their daily fix. John Gotti, Jr, not a reliable source, when asked by a reporter whether or not the New York Gotti family was dealing in narcotics said, “No, who can compete with the government?” notes Catherine Austin Fitts, who has documented the massive infusion of illegal drug money on Wall Street.
Finally, it is less than certain the Jamaican government can arrest Mr. Coke and deliver him to the hypocrisy that is U.S. justice.
“As long as the conflict is mainly fought via barricades, the government has a chance of winning. If it expands to include disruption of energy, water, and food to the wider population of Jamaica (inflicting costs on those outside the slums) via blockades of intersections by protesters and the intentional breaking of Kingston’s infrastructure networks, the government is likely to lose,” writes John Robb.
If Obama and the Justice Department want to showboat Coke, they may have to send in the Marines.
Shades of Grenada and Reagan’s Operation Urgent Fury quite naturally come to mind. It should be noted that the invasion of the tiny Caribbean nation enjoyed the enthusiastic support of most Americans who are fond of watching their wars unfold on television. The talking heads on TV reading Pentagon scripts, of course, didn’t bother to mention that the CIA had worked to destabilize Grenada years before the primetime invasion.
A clip from “Life and Debt,” a documentary about what the IMF did to Jamaica.
IMF austerity translates into food taxes for Jamaica’s poor.