|Coca plants being eradicated in Colombia, near the Ecuadorian border.|
The U.S. also sent more than 10 billion dollars in Plan Colombia aid to battle the guerrillas and erradicate Colombia's drug crops.
|Coca leaf acreage has shot up, perhaps to record levels, |
during the last several years. (Graphic: Semana magazine)
Some analysts argue that the cocaine boom has resulted from a drop in gold prices, which pushed unemployed miners into the drug business, or that as the FARC guerrillas demobilize they have urged campesinos to plant coca leaf in order to obtain a future compensation for erradicating their own crops, or that the suspension of aerial herbicide spraying a few years ago sparked a drug-planting boom.
Any and all of those might play a role, but there will always be incremental factors affecting the drug
|92% of cocaine sold in the U.S. comes from Colombia, |
according to the DEA, and the rest comes
from Peru and Bolivia.
In fact, the sustained increase in coca leaf cultivation over the past several years can only be explained one way: More demand has generated more supply. Campesino farmers aren't stupid, and they're only planting coca leaf because they're confident they'll be paid for it.
For way too long, the U.S. has wasted tax money on a futile anti-drug campaign which has only ensured that violent gangs, guerrillas and paramilitaries get rich off of the drug trade.
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Isn't it time to try a new tactic, such as drug decriminalization?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours