”Despite several strategies to eradicate domestic cocaine production, Colombia continues to struggle with the massive amount of drugs that are cultivated and manufactured within its borders. Government control measures include the arrest of major drug lords and the dismantling of their cartels, as well as the prosecution of corrupt politicians and police officers involved in the drug trade.
Colombia is a world leader in cocaine cultivation and a major heroin supplier to the world. Coca leaves, the key ingredient in cocaine production, are grown in Colombia’s Andes Mountains. This area has been the focus of crop eradication for decades.
From 2000 to 2005, the United States appropriated about $4.3 billion for the Andean Counter-Drug Initiative, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. The funds were targeted to eradicate the coca and opium poppy plants used to produce the illicit drugs.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization affiliate, found in 2015 that the aerial pesticide spray glyphosate (also known as Roundup) exposed Colombian farmers and villagers to a possible carcinogenic. Consequently, the Colombian government banned its use after it had been on the market for nearly two decades.
The next strategy was to send government workers into remote mountainous areas where farmers cultivate cocaine and heroin ingredients and offer them crop substitution as a new solution. The goal was to entice farmers to replace their illicit crops with legitimate ones, such as fruits and vegetables.
The goal of the peace treaty was to end the epidemic of violence and formulate a definitive solution to Colombia’s drug problem. As part of the deal, Bogota promised to provide health and education services along with potable water in rebel lands. FARC members were also granted amnesty for their crimes.
However, the Insight Crime Foundation, which tracks organized criminal groups, estimates that as many as 2,800 FARC members rejected these peace efforts. They rearmed themselves, demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the treaty.
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