Harry Alford

By Harry C. Alford
NNPA Columnist

Last week I wrote about the shocking story of how our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) willfully brought crack cocaine into the Black neighborhoods of our nation to make cash for financing a revolution in Nicaragua. This is going down as the vilest act perpetrated against a specific race of people. An agency of our nation performed and managed the dastardly act and must be held accountable. In other words, reparations are due.

They are due but they will never come unless we start acting and demanding justice. There has been talk of reparations for the effects of slavery. That isn’t going to fly as too much time has gone by to calculate just how much damage was done and who deserves what. This atrocity here, the Crack Invasion of Black America, is very fresh and many of the ills are still taking place. Reparations must be placed on the table.

As the CIA started spreading truckloads of crack through our neighborhoods via street gangs such as the Bloods and Crips, they started forming all of the bad ingredients for chaos and decay. As the crack hit the streets, weapons started to flow. Weapons and drugs are the main ingredients for urban warfare. AK-47’s was the weapon of choice. Funny, you can’t buy an AK-47 in this nation (it’s made in Russia), but thousands of them started appearing in gang fights, robberies, etc. It would take the sophistication and power like a CIA operation to pull this off. Local police departments would assign manpower to assist the agents in this onshore invasion.

The fast cash started flowing, making the gangs more aggressive. Some were downright vicious. An example is when a gang leader was murdered in St. Louis, it proved to not be enough vengeance for the perpetrators. After the funeral, the rivals went to the cemetery, dug up his coffin and took the body to the victim’s grandmother’s home and tossed it on her porch. That’s how vicious our youth were becoming. That’s how dangerous our beautiful neighborhoods were becoming. Hope started fading fast.

Oh, about that revolution in Nicaragua. The Contras, who were being supported by the CIA’s profits from the drug running, were defeated. Today, Daniel Ortega is still president of the nation of Nicaragua. They wanted him out although his people have repeatedly reelected him to office. The United States now has a free trade agreement with the nation via the Central American Free Trade Agreement – CAFTA. Was it just a rouse? That failed, but the drug smuggling continued. Maybe this was about applying harm to a particular segment of our population i.e. Blacks and especially Black males.

Drug dealing was everywhere and in plain sight. I remember driving down 79th street in south Chicago in 1990 and observing a “bank” of about 20 pay phones. Each phone had a line of 10 or more people waiting to place their drug order. I thought obviously the police condoned it. My friend owned a Shell gas station in Indianapolis and he installed a pay phone to see if it would draw business. His sales skyrocketed as dealers and buyers would drive up to his station and communicate on that pay phone. He would make $500 – $700 dollars a day off the quarters dropping into that busy phone booth.

At the same time, our federal government launched the “War on Drugs,” which turned out to be a war on Blacks. Before the crack invasion there were 40,000 people incarcerated for drugs. Now, 30 years later, there are more than 500,000. Sentencing guidelines became wicked and mandatory. Three strikes/you’re out started in California. Many states, including, California began building more prisons than colleges. The “Prison Industrial Complex” was officially opened for business.

As the property values of our neighborhoods started sinking and the deaths/incarcerations started climbing, the idea of rehabilitation started fading. Once a Black youth goes into the system he/she may never get out. A person lives in the “hood” and is drafted by drug gangs (he will be murdered for refusing) his life becomes miserable. After the first incarceration he finds the rules of parole or probation to be impossible to adhere to. No decent job is available to a felon. He cannot associate with other felons and that rule is impossible to follow. His family, neighbors, and everyone else in his environment is a felon. He is discriminated from equal housing opportunity and there is no other road to choose from other than the same one he came out of.

Our poverty levels and quality of life are worse now than they were 40 years ago. This is mainly due to the above. It was government-sponsored and the government should be held accountable.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.


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