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Colombian Defense Minister Admits Drastic Increase in Coca Cultivation

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Mar 14, 2017, 2:55 pm
Increased coca cultivation has become a concern in Colombia (
Increased coca cultivation has become a concern in Colombia (YouTube).

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It is hardly a secret that Colombia’s coca crop has increased exponentially and the country has become the world’s largest producer of coca, the raw ingredient used to make cocaine. According to the latest UN report in Colombia there were 96,000 hectares under cultivation; however, there is another source that says there are 188,000.

This was confirmed by Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas and Minister of Post-Conflict Rafael Pardo who acknowledged that the United States government has a measurement that shows the drastic increase to 188,000. However, they place greater faith in the measurement by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).

So far there are no official figures for 2016. UNODC’s last measurement was taken in 2015. Public policy makers are hoping for a new measurement soon in order to assess the efficacy of the so-called War on Drugs, which many have deemed a failure in Colombia.

“This is not the report that serves as an official measurement of coca cultivation. We must wait for the other report of the United Nations, which is officially recognized and is going to be ready in a couple of months,” said Villegas, while conceding that the US government report alleges that the country is flooded in coca leaf.

The export of cocaine has become one of the main illicit businesses in Colombia. So far this year, 64 tons of this drug have been seized and it is estimated that it has been estimated that more than 100,000 hectares are under cultivation.

Colombia has traditionally been the world’s focal point for the cocaine trade, with much of the coca paste making its way north to Colombian laboratories from Andean nations such as Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. Cocaine has also helped to fuel Colombia’s longstanding armed conflict, with various guerrilla, paramilitary, and criminal organizations battling for control of lucrative drug trafficking routes.

Source: El Espectador

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.

Colombian President Campaign Manager Admits Illegal Funds from Odebrecht in 2010

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Mar 14, 2017, 2:39 pm
odebrecht-3

EspañolThe campaign manager of Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos admitted that he accepted campaign donations from Odebrecht during the 2010 campaign. Santos' campaign manager Roberto Prieto said he took money from Odebrecht, a construction company involved in several corruption cases across Latin America, to pay for two million posters worth US $400,000. Amid this revelation, Prieto denied accusations made by former Congressman Otto Bula that he received $1 million from the same company in 2014. Prieto said told a local radio station in Colombia that he used Odebrecht's money in Juan Manuel Santos's 2010 presidential campaign in 2010 in order to purchase the posters despite the campaign's financial committee having already told him there were funds in place to buy them. He said the campaign will recognize the transaction as having been an act of accepting illegal funds, but also said President Santos was not aware of it at the time. He invited the financial committee to come forward and explain what happened to the National Electoral Council. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   "I ordered the posters with Odebrecht's money, that was clear," he told Blue Radio. "The campaign was financed by those who approached us. The irregular part was to collect resources from Odebrecht for the campaign. That was an irregular operation and the president had nothing to do with it." Prieto also said former Senator Otto Bula's statements about Prieto receiving $1 million from Odebrecht was slander. None of the money, Prieto claimed, ever reached him. However, he agreed to meet with Andres Giraldo, the person that allegedly received the money, but only to talk. According to Prieto, they are friends but did not do business with Odebrecht to finance the 2014 campaign. During the interview, Prieto acknowledged that he was a contractor for Colombia and had revenues of US $2.68 million. Source: Blu Radio

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