Colombia Produces Record Cocaine Crop For 2nd Straight Year

Tyler Durden's picture

We didn’t need any more data to definitively expose the many shortcomings of the US-led global prohibition on narcotics – but we got one today, courtesy of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

New figures show that cocaine production in Colombia reached an all-time high for the second straight year in 2016, as coca cultivation in the South American country surged 52 percent, spanning 146,000 hectares, compared with 96,000 in 2015. The 2016 crops produced an estimated 866 metric tons of cocaine, an increase of 35 percent compared to 2015. Meanwhile, cocaine use appears to be increasing in the two largest markets, North America and Europe.

While the UNODC said the survey results were “disappointing,” it noted that there were “some positives” in the report, including an increase of 49 per cent in seizures of cocaine - from 253 tons confiscated in 2015 to 378 tons in 2016. Of course, each seizure inevitably means some low-level trafficker – possibly working under the threat of violence – is being jailed, at an enormous cost to the public, while the seizure has little impact on the larger organization.

The rise in production comes as FARC, a communist insurgency that controlled patches of the Colombian countryside for more than 50 years, renounced drug trafficking under the terms of a peace agreement that was ratified by Colombia’s Congress in November. The group started disarming in March, but doubts remain: Can the group’s members will be able to work regular jobs. Meanwhile, FARC, which  once supported itself mainly through selling drugs and kidnapping wealthy individuals, is transforming into a political party.

In any event, one Colombian law enforcement official who spoke with the Guardian sounded optimistic about the country’s ability to work with FARC to reduce coca production.

“José Ángel Mendoza, the head of Colombia’s counter-narcotics police, said Colombia faced “a difficult historical moment”, but stressed that the figures reflected the state of the country on 31 December 2016.


Since then, the government has put in place an ambitious plan to eradicate 100,000 hectares of coca by the year’s end. Half of that amount is to be forcibly eradicated, and the other half removed through crop substitution agreements with coca farmers.


The substitution program is part of a peace deal with Farc rebels, who renounced drug trafficking as part of their demobilization deal. During much of the group’s 53 years as an armed insurgency, it financed its fight through the drug trade.

Former combatants have committed to work with the government to convince farmers to replace coca crops with another way to make a living.”

This forced eradication program is already yielding results, the Colombians say.

Already 40% of the goal of forced eradication has been met, and 86,000 families – who account for as much as 76,000 hectares of coca – have signed on to crop substitution programs in exchange for subsidies of about $11,000 per farmer over the course of two years, according to the government.”

As VICE noted, at a joint press conference in May, President Trump pushed for Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos to increase eradication efforts. Santos won the Nobel peace prize late last year for his work on the FARC deal.

Trump said Colombia is one of the US’s closest allies “in the hemisphere,” before reaffirming US support for destroying cocaine crops and refineries by providing DEA personnel and resources to augment localized eradication efforts.

“We have a problem with drugs and you have a very big problem with drugs,” Trump reminded Santos.

“Recently, we have seen an alarmed — and I mean really a very highly alarmed and alarming trend,” Trump said. “Last year, Colombia coca cultivation and cocaine production reached a record high, which, hopefully, will be remedied very quickly by the President.  We must confront this dangerous threat to our societies together.”

Trump has said he believes his wall will help keep drugs out of the US ("walls work, just ask Israel"). Unfortunately, Trump and the Republicans' plans for reducing the flow of illegal narcotics are no different from their predecessors. Once FARC has left the countryside, a new criminal group will take its place – an organization possibly more violent and unpredictable than the one that preceded it. Indeed, as long is there is demand, somebody will find a way to meet it. Maybe it's time for governments to acknowledge that prohibition has failed, and that regulation could be a more productive strategy.

To be fair, if Santos does manage to engineer a sharp drop in Colombia’s cocaine exports with his voluntary crop-rotation plan, he might earn a Nobel Prize in economics, too.  

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vato poco's picture

fun fact: The Holy Drug War began with the passage of the Harrison Act, back in 1914. We've been "fighting" the "War on Drugs" for 103 fucking YEARS now. 

Woodrow Wilson sucks cocks in hell

sinbad2's picture

Actually it's the war of drugs.

The US Government needs to keep you doped up, so you don't complain when they rape you.

D Nyle's picture

Actually it was reported the day after Trumps election, the Top Three Drug Lords in Mexico had a Meeting ( yes of the cartels killing each other) and shifted to Cocaine due to Trumps stand on Heroin

bamawatson's picture

the president laid out his white line

a Smudge by any other name's picture

It's a business, it's a good business and everybody is in on it.

Delving Eye's picture

Everybody sing to the tune of "Exodus" by Bob Marley:


Dooming of ja people.

Wood_Vlogs's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do.

HenryKissingerBilderberg's picture

looks like someone has an overstock on Glyphosate

maybe Bayer Monsanto?

Déjà view's picture

Coca Cola...

Replace HFC with a pinch of COCAaine...

AtATrESICI's picture

All the BTC is going into Cocaine contracts.

XqWretch's picture

Yep, just legalize the shit already

Sonny Brakes's picture

The USA can't stand any other country but the USA from being a leading exporter of any agricultural product that'll compete with BIG PHARMA.

I_rikey_lice's picture

Legalize this shit and tax the fuck out of it and the cartels will vanish. 

just the tip's picture

bullshit, that's like saying if we have a housing crisis goldman sachs and jp morgan are going to vanish.  what will happen is they will consolidate, and become even more corrupt.

I_rikey_lice's picture

What the fuck are they going to sell to us stupid fuckers? 

When drugs are legal what are they going to have left? Pussy?

How they going to make money then??

How do cartels survive without money?



Deathrips's picture

Why the fuck does anyone deserve taxes on a plant?


Its amusing that the same government that chased people with threat of jail during prohibition is now some kind of hero because you can pay a tithing and they allow you to participate in a victim-less act.


Freedom used to mean something.





Sonny Brakes's picture

The cartel includes the CIA and they don't pay taxes.

AtATrESICI's picture

Legalize it all.
I know you know this but "the cartels" are .gov supported. Will the .gov vanish toot toot?

Malleus Maleficarum's picture

Largely agree, except on a couple points: first, the whole "tax the fuck out of it" business is BS, like most so-called "sin taxes." Governments have no more moral righteousness than a drug cartel (arguably less in many cases), so who are they to decide what's a sin and what isn't? Worse, it smacks of "buying our rights back" from scum who had no right to take our liberty to begin with! Also, if the taxes are too high the government will price themselves right out of the market. The cartels already have a large customer base, and will exploit this by lowering their prices, thus perpetuating the black market. Like most things, it's best to just get the government the hell out of the way. Period. 

AlexCharting's picture

We have been fighting crime since THE DAWN OF HISTORY... the only logical solution is to legalize it all!

Lumberjack's picture

Bill and Hillary are winning!.../s but not so much. This isn't funny at all.

sinbad2's picture

The DEA is an expert at increasing drug production. Any country that asks for American help sees a dramatic increase in drug production, USA USA USA.

MaxThrust's picture

Drug enforcement agency is there in Colombia to enforce on the local farmers, better agricultural practices so as to increase production. It would seem the efforts of the DEA have paid off.

AtATrESICI's picture

The DEA has done a fabulous job of enforcing drugs on people, price fixing, setting up new outlets and Et Al. Everything they do is for the new customers sorry I meant to say children and dark money.

any_mouse's picture

DEA and Drugs.

Quantum entanglement.

Problem. Solution. Synthesis.

Problem. Media creates Fear and Concern. New Federal agency is created to deal with Problem. Agency Budget grows year over year. Repeat.

[HUD. American Cities are better now? Housing is more affordable now? BS agency. Black Cabinet post.]

The government creates market imbalances between buyers and sellers.

Prohibition. For the Children! Who wins? Crime and the State. Who loses? The People.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Banksters were able to skim the cream of the profits from making drugs illegal.

"Drugs are illegal becaue they make more money."

"Cocaine should cheaper to produce than sucrose."

Cordeezy's picture

cheap labor from Venezuela allowing for record profits.

Burltron's picture

Trump is a moron here.  Its real simple. The war on drugs can't ever be won therefore is an exercise in futility.  Waste of money and lives.

Sonny Brakes's picture

Like time, money is easy to waste when they're wasting yours.

Ignorance is bliss's picture

I think you miss the point. The point is war..not winning the war.The war footing, the contracts, the money. Those are the points.

css1971's picture

That War On Drugs.

Awesomly effective!

It's almost as if it's not meant to be effective... As if it has a different purpose.

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

The 40 year "War on Drugs," has been a monumental success...


TheLastTrump's picture

Put that shit on sale then, let the party begin!

JohnG's picture

Finally, the first relatively good news in weeks.

e_goldstein's picture

Wall Steet should be happy there will be snow at Christmas.

pparalegal's picture

But globalization and offshoring is good. If US corporations control it.

tripletail's picture

Another bumper crop for the CIA. /s

mtkd's picture

Re-evaluating my bail out location - on this data point.

Vageling's picture

LoL! Mr. "Montana" was from GuuBaa, not Blowlumbia. But this ain't news. That so called war on drugs created so many more drugs. 

peddling-fiction's picture

Castro threw out the criminal scum. Marielitos...

MaxThrust's picture

I am 60 and now retired. I would like to try some of that Banker dust.

Indelible Scars's picture

Do it. It's pretty cool but it's short lived. I haven't tried any for about 20 years. Well, maybe more. Guess I didn't get the 'hooked' memo back then. I did know some guys that fucked their lives up bad though.

sheikurbootie's picture

I watched a group of friends in college fall into the cocaine snow drift in the mid-80's.  They never recovered and ruined their lives.  None of them crawled out of the hole they dug for themselves.