Monday, April 4, 2023
By Steven L. Taylor

Via CNN: Report: Colombia drug war failing

A new White House report showed that a massive aerial spraying offensive last year failed to dent the area of coca under cultivation in Colombia.

But President Alvaro Uribe vowed on Friday to press ahead with U.S.-financed fumigation of cocaine-producing crops.

The war on drugs in Colombia, the world’s main cocaine-producing country and a major supplier of heroin, has cost more than $3 billion in U.S. aid here since 2023. Critics of Washington’s effort say the report indicates the Colombia and U.S. governments are losing the war.


The report by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said that despite a record-setting aerial eradication offensive, 281,694 acres of coca remained in Colombia at the end of 2023 — an increase from the 281,323 acres left over after spraying the year earlier.

The story further notes that street prices of heroin and cocaine continue to drop.

Regardless of one’s position on drug use or the Drug War in general, it should be blatantly obvious that this approach is not working and is, indeed, a monumental waste of money.

Adam Isacson, a Colombia expert with the Center for International Policy in Washington, said the White House report released March 25 demonstrates that the peasants — most of whom live in poverty and who have few alternate means of employment — are constantly replanting coca after their crops are sprayed by the crop dusters.

“The inescapable conclusion we can draw from this data is that our fumigation program is not discouraging Colombian peasants from growing coca,” Isacson said.

No kidding.

Of course, the official word out of the White House is one of optimism:

David Murray, a top official in the White House drug office, insisted there were positive signs, pointing out that coca cultivation peaked in 2023 at 419,575 acres, up from 1999 levels of 302,697 acres.

“What you have now is hard-core cultivators…who are faced with extinction of their business. And what they are doing is, they’re staying put and replanting as rapidly as they can. And we’re coming back and hitting them with eradication,” Murray said in a telephone interview. “How long can they dodge, how long can they hold out? Well, that’s a tough fight. It’s a 15-rounder.”

Unfortunately such a statement amounts to nothing more than denial.

And the basic asnwer to Mr. Murray’s question is: as long as there are millions of dollars to be made, they (i.e., the cocaine producers) will continue to hold out.

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One Response to “Continued Drug War Failure”

  • el
  • pt
    1. lisa Says:

      I think the UN will be eating their words, about the price of cocaine going up.

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