A Cocaine Boom Could Derail Colombia Peace Process: ‘Hundreds of Tons of the White Powder Pour Out of Country’
[..] However, despite receiving over $10 billion in US anti-narcotics aid to wipe out the drug trade that paid for this war, Colombia is currently producing more cocaine than ever before. Hectare after hectare of bright green coca bushes have sprung up around the country, and hundreds of tons of the white powder they produce are pouring out of Colombia in speedboats, cargo ships and homemade submarines.
But the government’s ability to turn the 2016 peace accords struck in Havana into a reality could now hinge on Colombia’s capacity to reign in the coca trade.
Figures released in March estimate that in 2016 there were 188,000 hectares of coca in Colombia – used to produce 710 tons of cocaine. The cocaine production figure represents a 238% increase from 2012 – the year peace talks with the FARC began.
According to a recent report by the Washington office on Latin America (WOLA), Colombia’s coca boom is a result of the convergence of several factors.
Macroeconomic conditions have made coca more profitable at a time when eradication efforts have been shackled by guerrilla landmines and snipers, community protests and the suspension of aerial fumigations after the chemical used was declared carcinogenic. Meanwhile, the promises in the peace agreement of incentives for farmers that substitute their coca for other crops has led to farmers planting as much as they can in order to later extract as many benefits as they can in exchange for ripping it up.
“There isn’t one overarching reason, but boy put those together and you get a perfect storm,” Adam Isacson, WOLA’s senior associate for regional security policy, told VICE News. Vice