You may be familiar with the man in the picture.
It’s Ronald Regan, our 40th President, the Founding Father of Crack.
Before I get into the messiness of the Regan administration and the introduction of crack into the African American community, I’m going to give you the back story of Cocaine in Miami during the 70’s and 80’s.
Cocaine first began to be imported in bulk into the United States, through Miami during the late 60’s and 70’s from colombia. It was primarily used by wealthy individuals who could afford to purchase the expensive drug (between $100-$150 per gram in 1980). The United States government attempted to halt the influx of cocaine into the country, and the result was a bloody drug war between the cartels amongst one another and the government that resulted in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people. However, the successful cocaine traffickers were making money, and lots of it. Much of the lavish real estate and party scene associated with Miami, is a result of the cocaine trade and the amount of money that it brought to the city.
The United States government definitely noticed the amount of money that was being made.
This leads to the Iran-Contra affair.
The United States and the CIA have been involved in nearly every attempt to overthrow the government of another country since world war II. This has been well documented. In the 1980’s, in typical US fashion, the United States wanted to topple the revolutionary government of Nicaragua, which was supported by Iran. In order to do so, the US supported the rebel group Contras, and funneled them money and weapons to take down the government. However, how did the government (CIA) get money to raise for the Contras, as it was illegal to fund and support them with government money (Boland Amendment)? The answer is through “Freeway” Rick Ross of Los Angeles.
The CIA realized that they could use cocaine money to fund the Contras. Freeway was introduced to a couple of Nicaraguan “friends” that were involved with the Contras, who could get cocaine from Nicaragua for much lower prices. Freeway was getting the cocaine in very large quantities from the Contras, thus making them a lot of money in the process. However, Freeway converted the cocaine into crack amongst his dealers, which could be bought at MUCH cheaper prices than cocaine (in some cities as little as $2.50 a gram). The results were devastating. Crack is highly addictive, and a crack user will do anything to get another hit of crack. The levels of crime and hospital emergences related to crack in Los Angeles spiked dramatically and the crack epidemic quickly spread throughout the inner cities of most cities across the United States, causing much of the same devastating effects.
Here the United States government is, profiting off of the devastation of the African American community, in order to advance it’s own interests. But of course the US took no fault for this, and instead placed the blame on the black community and sought to punish users and distributors of crack, with the establishment of ridiculously unfair and unprecedentedly harsh laws against those in possession of the drug. Hence, the introduction of Mandatory Minimum Sentences from the Anti Drug Abuse act of 1988 passed by the Regan Administration. Crack Cocaine became the only drug with a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years for a first offense of simple possession. 5 grams of crack would get you 5 years in prison MINIMUM, versus 500 grams of cocaine getting you the same sentence. The ratio of this is 100 grams of cocaine as an equivalent of 1 gram of crack. This law was clearly targeted at incarcerating the african american population, as african americans were the primary users of Crack. Millions of african americans were incarcerated unjustly for the possession of small amounts of crack. Lives were ruined. The effects of these laws still haunt the african american community to this day, as millions of families were ripped apart and many people left with no future after their prison release. Recent amendments to the law under the Obama administration have lessened the harshness of the penalties, but the damage cannot be undone.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but does it not seem odd that the United States has constantly been attempting to silence and suppress the African American community since we were stolen from our homeland and brought here centuries ago? From Slavery to Jim Crow laws to The Anti Drug Abuse act, the United States has a history of doing these specifically targeted at our community, and it concerns me as to what they have in store next. The fact that our own government would go to such lengths to fund a proxy war between the Contras and Iranian backed Nicaragua, with the specific devastation of an entire community of people as an end result, is frightening to think about and saddening to accept.
F*ck Ronald Regan.
By Keith Haynie, Editor in Chief