ZeroZeroZero: Look at Cocaine and All You See Is Powder. Look Through Cocaine and You See the World. (Penguin History American Life)
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An electrifying, internationally bestselling investigation of the global cocaine trade, from the author of the #1 international bestseller Gomorrah
“Zero zero zero” flour is the finest, whitest available. It is also the nickname among narcotraffickers for the purest cocaine on the market. And it is the title of Roberto Saviano’s unforgettable exploration of the inner workings of the global cocaine trade—its rules and armies, and the true depth of its reach into the world economy.
Saviano’s Gomorrah, his explosive account of the Neapolitan mob, the Camorra, was a worldwide sensation. It struck such a nerve with the Camorra that Saviano has lived with twenty-four-hour police protection for more than eight years. During this time he has come to know law enforcement agencies and officials around the world. With their cooperation, Savaiano has broadened his perspective to take in the entire global “corporate” entity that is the drug trade and the complex money-laundering operations that allow it to function, often with the help of the world’s biggest banks.
The result is a harrowing and groundbreaking synthesis of literary narrative and geopolitical analysis exploring one of the most powerful dark forces in our economy. Saviano tracks the shift in the cocaine trade’s axis of power, from Colombia to Mexico, and relates how the Latin American cartels and gangs have forged alliances with crime syndicates across the globe. He charts the increasing sophistication of these criminal entities as they diversify into other products and markets. He also reveals the astonishing increase in the severity of violence as they have fought to protect and extend their power.
Saviano is a writer and journalist of rare courage and a thinker of impressive intellectual depth, able to see connections between far-flung phenomena and bind them into a single epic story. Most drug-war narratives feel safely removed from our own lives; Saviano offers no such comfort. Both heart-racing and eye-opening, ZeroZeroZero is an investigative story like none other.
Praise for ZerZeroZero:
“[Saviano] has developed a literary style that switches from vivid descriptions of human depravity to a philosophical consideration of the meaning of violence in the modern world. . . . Most important of all is the hope Saviano gives to countless victims of criminal violence by standing up to its perpetrators.” —Financial Times
245–46 Duisburg, Germany, 168, 202 Durango, Mexico, 25, 367–70 ecstasy (drug), 51, 283 Ecuador, 102, 114, 179, 330, 333–34 Edwards, Lucy, 250–52 Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army) (ELN), 157 Ejército Popular de Liberación (Popular Liberation Army) (EPL), 140 Ejército Revolucionario Popular Antiterrorista de Colombia (Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia) (ERPAC), 165 El Aro, Colombia, 153–54 El Bigotito (clown),
brothers skilled at intimidation and kickbacks, and especially good at infiltrating the political and judicial systems and the Mexican police force. They even had connections in INTERPOL offices in the U.S. embassy and at the Mexico City airport. The Beltrán Leyvas were a small, family-run army, and El Chapo trusted them. They’d always stuck with him, even when his authority was threatened. In 2003, for example, two years after his escape from prison, when there was a power vacuum in the state of
opened a spectacular public zoo right on his estate, Hacienda Nápoles. Robin Hood capitalists—unscrupulous, bloodthirsty, ruthless spendthrifts. Capitalists in their infancy, though, at the top of rigid pyramidal structures. They felt like giants and considered themselves the incarnations of a sovereign power they’d earned with money and lead—the only legitimate form of power. Pablo even offered to eliminate all of Colombia’s public debt, because the country was already his, because the
capital or are a guest in the most luxurious villas. And after the collapse of the Cali and Medellín cartels, those that offer the best prices are also the most dangerous: AUC, FARC. Bitter enemies united by the production and wholesale marketing of cocaine, but also by the fact that they can nab you and make you disappear whenever they feel like it. At that point the only thing you can do is pray to the Maronna ‘ra Muntagna—the Madonna of the Mountain—and ask her to make sure your guys over in
As usual, the link is Pannunzi, who builds his credibility through mutual acquaintances, not to mention his own savoir faire as a successful and worldly businessman. And so, in an elegant quarter of Amsterdam, in offices lined with contemporary art, a bunch of mafiosi, ’ndranghetas, and Colombian narcos come together to talk serenely about their business. In the investigation, reference is made to a shipment of 600 kilos or so of cocaine, which, according to Pannunzi is of a quality that’s “never