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Coca Cultivation Increases in Colombia, Amid Lack of New Strategies

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Jan 10, 2017, 3:58 pm
Minister Rafael Pardo has acknowledged the difficult road Colombia faces in combating drug trafficking (
Minister Rafael Pardo has acknowledged the difficult road Colombia faces in combating drug trafficking (Wikipedia).

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Post-conflict minister Rafael Pardo, acknowledged that coca cultivation will increase in 2017 in an interview conducted by W Radio. The new position was established by the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC.

According to drug and crime figures from the United Nations, 2015 was Colombia’s largest coca crop production year since 2007. 96,000 hectares of Colombian territory were covered with the coca plant and it is estimated that during 2016, even more Colombian land was under cultivation.

Pardo explains that the growth can be explained by several factors such as the decision by the government to stop using aerial spraying of glyphosate, but suggests that what has generated the greatest growth in coca cultivation is the devaluation of the Colombian peso against the dollar, since this has dramatically increased the profit margins for drug traffickers.

He also acknowledged that as long as there is coca cultivation, there will continue to be violence, so he deems the issue a top priority for Colombia. He also said that the dynamics of the market is changing, since the United States is decreasing its coca consumption, while Colombia continues to increase production. Pardo suggests that this implies that other countries are increasing their consumption, alongside the possibility that Colombian domestic consumption has increased.

Finally, Minister Pardo discussed strategies for eradication and crop substitution. Pardo addressed the difficulty of meeting the goal of eradicating 20,000 hectares during the past year, since only 18,000 were destroyed. He furthermore announced more investment in both economic and human resources during the coming year.

Economists and politicians have often criticized the drug war as expensive and ineffective, noting that drug use has largely failed to decline since its inception.

In addition, Pardo noted that efforts will be made to continue working on the crop substitution plan, which consists of incentivizing farmers to grow other crops so that they can survive economically during a transitional period.

Under the auspices of this plan, Colombia peasants are expected to cultivate high-income crops such as cacao that will enable them to maintain their current incomes. However, the farmers face a problem during the transitional period in that the sale of their current coca products is both guaranteed, and financed, by drug traffickers, providing them with an economic safety net.

The Colombian government faces a difficult road ahead to achieve results through its crop substitution and coca eradication plans.

Source: W Radio

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.

Ecuador: Presidential Candidate Stands up for Venezuelan Democracy

By: Karina Martín - Jan 10, 2017, 3:21 pm
Opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso has promised to call attention to the dire situation in Venezuela (

Español Presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso, head of the Movement Creating Opportunities (CREO) political party, announced that "when he is president" he will ask the Organization of American States to take the necessary measures to restore democracy in Venezuela. "When I am President, in accordance with Article 20 of its charter, I will request that the OAS convene a meeting of the governments of South America in order to take the necessary measures to restore democracy, civil liberties, and human rights in the Bolivarian homeland," Said Lasso. Read More: US Congresswoman Requests Names Involved in Ecuador's Odebrecht Corruption Read More: Correa Says He Will be Accused of Corruption in Ecuador Odebrecht Case "The governments of Latin America can not continue to ignore the humanitarian tragedy that the people of Venezuela live every day," he added. "Nor can they continue to ignore the fact that in Venezuela the rule of law, democracy, and the constitutional rights, freedoms, and guarantees defined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter have disappeared," he said. Lasso, an opposition candidate, is running in Ecuador's presidential elections, which will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017. Many political pundits have suggested that Lasso is the opposition candidate with the best chance to reach the second round, but still place the ruling party's candidate Lenin Moreno in first place, according to the polls. Lenin Moreno served five years as current President Rafael Correa, who is stepping down this year in order to pursue academia in Europe. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Lasso "will be able to consolidate the support of the majority of opposition voters, although supporters on the left will be more difficult to persuade," suggests a report by political consultant Eurasia. Venezuela, on the other hand, is a country that lives in political, economic, and social crisis. On Monday, January 9, the Venezuelan National Assembly (AN) declared, after a nominal vote, that president Nicolás Maduro had failed to discharge his Constitutional duties. According to the Venezuelan Constitution, this implies that there should be new elections in the next 30 days. Sources: La Republica, Vivo Play, El Universo

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