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Columbian Hitmen

I thought this article was real interesting, especially considering that the gang violence is a result of arresting the former bosses. What do you guys think? Is it possible to curb cocaine smuggling when these people have nothing else? What is the greater evil - allowing these cartels to exist or allowing the power struggles? Or, is that a false dilemma? (i.e. can we both get rid of the cartels and prevent a power struggle?) Concerning the American government, does the interests of the American people (keeping cocaine out of the country while creating a power vacuum) trump those of the Columbian people who are safer under the rule of the cartels?

This is an issue which I find very perplexing and I don't have many answers, but I'd love to hear yours.