Colombian Defense Minister Admits Drastic Increase in Coca Cultivation
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).
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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