Valentine’s Day: A holiday where if you’re in love, you don’t need a day to show it. And if you’re single, you could give two shits besides the amazing drink specials at Harry's Pub Singles Appreciation Night.
Another holiday, another reason to purchase a card and some random assortment of stale flowers that ostensibly highlights your undying, unadulterated and undeniable love for that special someone. But what if the next time you lifted one of those overpriced roses and took a deep whiff of effervescent romanticism, you instead got a giant nose of pure, Colombian white? It's a real possibility, and the Colombian government is trying to put a wet towel on your all-night love party.
Last year, Colombian drug officials confiscated 200 pounds of blow stored away in containers of red roses bound for the United States. Ever since the early 1990s, when the U.S. Congress passed a law eliminating tariffs on goods from Andean drug-producing nations, Colombia has become a huge exporter of roses to the U.S.
As much as 330,000 pounds of flowers leave Colombia on 30-plus jumbo cargo planes daily. That mad dash begins in January, heading toward all the frantic males in this country errantly purchasing whatever might symbolize their love in under $20. As anyone might guess, the jumbo jets serve as perfect means for cartels to also ship their cocaine to the largest consumer of the stuff in the world.
"Without a doubt we're a target," said Augusto Solano, president of the Colombian flower exporters' association to the Chicago Tribune. "It requires a big effort because if another country finds drugs they can ban flower imports from Colombia and that would be disastrous.”
How big an effort? Police protocol on customs inspections is currently 100 police officers, with 15 drug-sniffing dogs strolling through refrigerated warehouses where the roses are kept before being loaded onto planes.
Between knowledge of cocaine users in our general community and through Netflix binges of Narcos, that doesn’t seem anywhere big enough to stop the amount of drugs coming into the states.
But hey, when you have to deal with wait lines at every restaurant, overpriced roses, stuffed-bear commercials, corny romantic cards and marked-up jewelry all in the name of St. Valentine’s, maybe a line or two would help make the suffering that much better.