Briceño: Ground Zero of Struggle Against Illicit Crops, Pilot Program to Win Hearts and Minds and Rollout as Part of Colombia Peace Plan (S)
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and the nation with the highest number of acreage dedicated to coca crops. Although the Government has rolled out voluntary substitution projects, illicit crops doubled from 48 thousand hectares to 96 thousand between 2014 and 2015.
In Antioquia, about 2,402 hectares of land have been planted with coca.
In, Briceño, Antioquia where a joint FARC-Government crop sustitution pilot project is being tested, there are an estimated 1,500 hectares of illicit crops. About 2,000 families have found coca to be a profitable, steady and inexpensive source of income. It has become the backbone of the municipality’s economy.
Reducing these numbers would reshape the nation’s international image and help taper drug trafficking, a generator of violence and public health problems. Peasants in these areas rust the guerrillas, who buy coca and play the role of authority. They expect the government to comply with the pilot plan, so that FARC leave the business.
In Briceño, FARC Front 36 had a presence, as did the Mining Block of the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia (paramilitaries). Currently, the Urabeños, an illegal band of criminals, have shown to be there as well. The Pilot plan is being implemented in 10 areas of the municipality in northwestern Antioquia: Pueblo Nuevo, El Orejón, La Calera, La América, El Pescado, La Mina, Buena Vista, Altos de Chiri, Roblal and Palmichal. Projekte.jonamag.de