Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Colombian Connection

Asunción is pretty much like any other capital - “big” city (for Paraguay that means about 500.000 inhabitants): government buildings, malls, many people and a lot of traffic, bars and cultural events. So far, so expected. I didn't expect however to meet Eric. I am sure every tourist in Asunción will meet Eric at one point. You will meet him at artisan fairs, in a park or just walking around the city. Don't worry, you don't need to look for him, he will find you. Eric is Colombian, 32 years old, father of two kids, married and a traveling “artisan”. His name is probably José, he might be anything between 25 and 40 years old and if he is married, he does not take that very seriously. He is Colombian though – that is the only confirmed fact – and THE drug dealer in Paraguay. His drug business is cleverly spread. He has a drug base in every major city in Paraguay and 4 partners who work for him. He travels around the country from franchise to franchise and stays in each place for a couple of months to check up on his partners, the business and to keep in touch with each base. If you have ever watched the TV series “The Wire”, he is sort of a Stringer Bell with dreads. I asked him how he became a drug dealer. “It's all about independence, man. Look around you – all these people are slaves of the money. They are not free. I wanted to be independent and not be anybody's slave any more!” I pointed out that some people that buy drugs from him are just as dependent on drugs as other on money – so his job makes other people his slaves. (Now I am thinking – girl, did you have nothing better to do than start a moral discussion with a drug dealer??!!) But Eric has it all figured out. “You are right,” he told me, “and if it was just for me, I wouldn't do large scale drug business. A little bit of weed here, a little bit of coke there, that would be enough for me. But I have a family to feed. I gotta provide, ya know. So the way I see it, if it's not me, it's somebody else.” What can I say, Eric is a great salesman. Not only does he know how to sell his life style but also, in less than 30 minutes he makes you buy any drug if you want it or not. Right now he is working on an international expansion, next destination: Santiago de Chile. So Chileans: watch out, the Colombian connection is coming!  

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