The Complex Web of the Drug, Blood Diamond, Human Organ, Ivory and Cigarette Underworlds
SMUGGLING IN THE MODERN WORLD
CIGARETTE SMUGGLING : Introduction, The North American Problem, The Montenegro Ring.
DIAMONDS : Introduction, Sierra Leone, Angola.
DRUG SMUGGLING : Introduction, The Opium Wars, Pablo Escobar Gaviria, Howard Marks, The Shower Posse – Christopher M. Coke.
ORGAN HARVESTING AND TRAFFICKING
IVORY AND WILDLIFE SMUGGLING : Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, Atsushi Yamagami, Enrique Gomez De Molina.
A Pirate’s Life For Me : Caribbean pirates and European smugglers of the18th-century have managed to make a good name for themselves in the history books. To dress up as a pirate is every child’s – and a lot of adults’ – dream, and stories of rum-running across the high seas, and tunnels stored with kegs of liquor that were distributed amongst the local villagers has put a rose-tinted, idealistic spin on what was, and still is, a lowly life of crime. The illegal act of smuggling was often boasted about and many coastal towns in the UK are proud of their smuggling heritage.
During the 18th century smuggling grew from a simple, small-scale evasion of duty by individuals to the large-scale industry we know of today. The quantities of imported goods were immense. In the UK county of Kent, there was such an abundance of smuggled, illicit gin that people used it to clean their windows. According to some estimates, 80 per cent of all tea consumed in the UK during this time had been smuggled in to the country.
A Crime of All Ages : In truth, smugglers of hundreds of years ago caused many people a lot of pain and misery, and the same is true of the dark underworld of smuggling today; an innocent quaff of cheap booze is as endearing as it gets.
Sometimes, however, smugglers view their actions as a necessity. This was the case during the Spanish Civil War, when many rural populations were struggling to survive. There was a lack of food and money. Luxury items were rationed and Franco’s government was in such a financial crisis from the fighting that Spain was brought to its knees. Men, with only survival on their minds, would risk their lives trekking by moonlight across the mountains from the border provinces of western and north-eastern Spain into Portugal and France. The smugglers would then purchase goods such as coffee, sugar and linen, and smuggle them back into Spain to sell on. They would trek for hours without food or water and always with the threat of bumping into an armed guarda civil who would not think twice about shooting them if necessary. Romantic and evocative it was not. It was an essential part of human survival, in order to earn just a few pesetas to spend on basic amenities such as rice, to feed a starving family.
Benita Estevez is a freelance writer who lives on the Sussex coast with her partner and son. After studying English Literature & Media in Falmouth, Cornwall she worked in publishing for 10 years as an editor and production manager before deciding to view the industry from the author’s point of view instead. Through her mixed Spanish and English heritage, and her studies, she has a keen interest in the areas of post colonialism, world history and current affairs. She travels extensively for the sheer pleasure of experiencing somewhere new but also enjoys returning to places that hold the comfort of familiarity. In her spare time she runs marathons and 10kms and balances this out by eating out – enjoying anything from street food in Guatemala to fine dining in London.
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