Colombia Produces Record Cocaine Crop For 2nd Straight Year

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.  
 

Comments

GestaltNine (not verified) Jul 16, 2017 10:05 PM Permalink

Cocaine is the drug of the type A personalities and sociopaths it doesn't affect their "work" it fuels it until they have fucked up their nose so much they hire hookers to blow it up their ass and then they start mainlining it at which point they usuallly drop dead but for awhile there they become great "earners" be it selling cars, stocks, or cocaine itself not surprising when they reached some sort of end to the civil war that production went through the roof, Trump is a fucking idiot, the USA has a major drug use market, the only problem Columbia has is they can't use their natural advantage to make an honest living off catering to it

Dragon HAwk Jul 16, 2017 9:31 PM Permalink

More Elephant Tranquilizers,  dead addicts  spend zero , starve the beast,  wait they are killing their own customers? great business plan, must have a surplus of idiots  willing to slow suicide on Drugs

redmudhooch Jul 16, 2017 9:02 PM Permalink

It should be obvious to anyone by now that cartels have LOTS of help from law enforcement and govt. officials.Both here in the US and down in Cent. and S. America. Lots of Border agents have to be complicit to get the amount of dope in that they do. America is a big place, yet you go to any small town in the middle of nowhere and you can easily purchase some crack or whatever.They're shipping their meth superlabs up here now, making it here in rural America, huge meth bust bout a month ago here in GA, pretty rural area, illegals working a superlab, found millions of $$$ worth ofmeth stuffed into moving totes.These small towns don't have high speed internet yet have the best dope columbia/mehico has to offer. Understand?

Colonel Jul 16, 2017 8:46 PM Permalink

Why don't (((they))) just put US soldiers out in the fields and make patrols like they do for the Afghanistan heroin crops that will fix it. ( /s for the lefTARDS).

Pumpkin Jul 16, 2017 8:08 PM Permalink

New figures show that cocaine production in Colombia reached an all-time high I guess Langley the only part of government giving out any acurate statistics.

Hikikomori Jul 16, 2017 8:04 PM Permalink

The War on Drugs was launched by President Nixon in 1971 - 46 years ago.  Clearly, every penny spent on it, and every person incarcerated by it was worth it, because drugs, and addiction are almost non-existent in the USA today!

tangent Able Ape Jul 16, 2017 8:37 PM Permalink

Didn't their OD deaths drop about 2/3rds and then stay there at that lower level for at least a decade? Seems like people who like drug punishments really like people to get the death penalty for getting high... that what gets their rocks off since they don't smoke any. Last time I check I have a right to put any substance on the planet Earth in my body and if anyone doesn't like that then they should drop dead before I do, or at least move at least 1,000 miles away from me since they are disruptive idiots.

In reply to by Able Ape

TeaClipper Jul 16, 2017 7:37 PM Permalink

Well theres never been a time when its more important than ever to keep the populace numb. Remember this troops, you are no use in this fight with a drug problem, that is exactly where they want aware people to be.

any_mouse Jul 16, 2017 7:31 PM Permalink

Stop obsessing over POTUS. Similar to obsessing over a character in an afternoon soap opera.

The FED, the CIA, and the few wealthy international families behind it all are the enemy.

They are the Producers and Directors of the theatrical production known as the USA.

Fartboxbuffet (not verified) Jul 16, 2017 7:18 PM Permalink

Business is booming for the clingon Clintons and the good hillbilly fudgepacker bush boyys hey

moonmac Jul 16, 2017 7:11 PM Permalink

Cocaine sucks but when you've been drinking for 8 hours and some young hotties show up and you get a little blast it's Game On.People who don't believe in Freedom are at the root of all evil. We should have lined the all up agaisnt the wll centuries ago.

gallistic Jul 16, 2017 7:02 PM Permalink

The DEA has run the roost for decades, and they are having a great year. The mass-murdering monster Alvaro Uribe was awarded the US's highest civilian award: the Medal of Freedom. Plan Colombia has spent billions of your taxpayer dollars lining the pockets of the local oligarchs and the MIC. Ironically, the criminal ghoul Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for something Cuba and Venezuela brokered. The US has at least 7 major military bases in Colombia, from which they unleash mayhem and dirty war all over the continent. Little girls continue to be raped by US Servicemen with impunity. Peasants, political opposition and farmers continue to be slaughtered and disappeared in horrific numbers, Nobel Prize or not. The US-backed elites completely sell out their country, their oil, and their national interests. Even though they are not even in the North Atlantic, they are "special partners" of NATO and facilitate everything and anything for them. They also keep the "War on Drugs" gravy train rolling for everyone involved.Simply put, they are a throwback to the bad old days of neo-colonialism and embarrassingly subservient stooges to the US.But hey- they are not "soushalists" like their Venezuelan neighbors, so there is no need to sabotage their economy, finance "our" opposition and constantly try to overthrow their government.

Ignorance is bliss Jul 16, 2017 6:59 PM Permalink

Coca leaves are grown in Bolivia, paste concentrate is mixed in Bolivia and Columbia, Cocaine is made from the paste in Mexico and other delivery nations or jumping points to global consumers in Europe and Asia. Pure cocaine moves from Mexico into the U.S. Where it is cut for human or subhuman (racing dogs) consumption. Coca leaves only grow in very specific regions..mostly in Bolivia. It goes up from the growing regions through the Chaco mountains. Beautiful area of the world should you ever wish to follow the Inca trail. I recommend off-road motorcycles. The world is a beautiful place for those with a willingness to see its beauty.

Stormtrooper Jul 16, 2017 6:55 PM Permalink

I worked for a company that was owned by a Columbian company.  They had a huge warehouse.  Sometime before I started, a backpack full of marijuana was found there.  Became public knowledge quickly so I guess they decided that the cat was out of the bag and they should let the local sheriff have his 15 minutes of fame.Later, I found out that they had an agreement with Customs.  Promise Customs that their warehouse was secure and Customs wouldn't search any shipments coming across the border.  What the hell.  Their warehouse wasn't secure and no one checked.  The company always reported that it was on the edge financially but I finally decided that wasn't their real business there.  I wonder how many of these shell companies exist in the US as "import centers".

Ignorance is bliss Stormtrooper Jul 16, 2017 7:07 PM Permalink

Marijuana is America's largest cash crop. I suspect many people make money in the dark economy. Guys you go to work with, cops that give you tickets, the restaurant or business that always makes you wonder how they stay around year after year. Keeping drugs illegal creates many profitable businesses in a variety of industries such as transportation, distribution, finance, security, law enforcement, international trade, healthcare, real estate, investment companies, etc.. it's probably the backbone of much of our trade and one of the pillars of economic strength of the nation.

In reply to by Stormtrooper

Rick Cerone Jul 16, 2017 7:10 PM Permalink

Learn a martial art this summer. Teach the kids how to defend themselves instead of going on that Disney vacation. Threat of force is the only value left in the dollar. Buy a Glock. Buy Glocks for the whole family.

pocomotion Jul 16, 2017 6:51 PM Permalink

If I got my hands on that shit I'd start a new soft drink called " Cocasea breeze" and have everyone hooked by September...

Oh shit! Coco cola already did it!