“Plata O Plomo: Silver or Lead” by Marie Javdani is an article that addresses ways of dealing with the out of control drug problem in Colombia. The purpose of the text is to show that the U.S. should seek alternative ways of tackling the problem since the billions of dollars it has been channeling to the country does not seem to do any better.
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Therefore, the U.S. should be concerned about cutting the demand for illicit drugs through education and treatment. The former will assist people in stopping using drugs while the latter will be instrumental in making users conversant with the ultimate consequences of their actions.
The majority of Colombians are engaged in the cultivation of cocaine. Its production amounts to about 80% of the world’s total output and a significant quantity of the United States heroin supply. Even though the U.S. sends aid to Latin American governments to fight the illicit trade in drugs, the rate of violence in the country has not changed. That is why Marie Javdani defines alternative ways of tackling the rampant problem.
The Colombians’ primary source of money comes from drug production. According to Javdani, plata o plomo is translated into English as “silver or lead”. The meaning of plata o plomo is that one can either take the money – drug money, bribe money, and so on – or take a bullet (para 4).
In Plata o Plomo: sliver or lead, Javdani tells the stories of two different characters. Miguel, who is a Colombian and does drug production, lives a risky life. On the other hand, Eric, who is an American, uses drugs for a little bit of fun. According to the author, “Eric and Moguel represent opposite poles in what the United States government defines as the “war on drugs.” Miguel’s home is where it starts. Eric’s home is where it ends.”
Amid this “war on drugs,” the Colombian peasants are faced with a dilemma. M.Javdani points out that “for the past forty years, the people of Colombia have found themselves between a rock and a hard place over the production of coca, the plant used for making cocaine and heroin” (para. 6). As shown in Plata o Plomo, drug industry is what most Colombians depend on. At the same time, rebel drug lords have assumed control of it.
The Colombian peasants are often under the threats of these drug lords to choose the “silver or the lead.” The peasants are obliged to allow their lands to be used in the cultivation of Coca; otherwise, they put the lives of their families and themselves at risk. “At the same time, however, the consequence of “cooperation” with the rebels is execution by paramilitary groups or even by the Colombian government” (Javdani, 6).
Therefore, in fear of this execution from the authorities, some coca peasants have willingly paid the rebels to protect them from outside interference.
In summary, “Plata o Plomo: Silver or Lead” by Marie Javdani illustrates that the abuse of drug pills is an escalating problem that requires the attention of everyone. The war on drugs should not be confined to a particular place. Individuals in schools, homes, and even on the streets should know the effects of their actions when they abuse drugs. The reason why many innocent people are suffering in countries such as Colombia is that people use drugs without knowing the consequences of their actions.