Cultivation of Coca Blooms in Colombia

Your June 21st article titled “Cultivation of Coca Blooms in Colombia,” fell short in pinpointing the conditions provoking the increase in coca cultivation. Aside from the success of Plan Colombia’s reduction of coca production in the past five years, new political tactics in combination with stepped up aerial fumigation pushed guerrilla groups such as the FARC into more remote areas of the country. These moves unpredictably resulted in new plantings sprouting in obscure, hard to reach regions of the country. The FARC, an organization involved in coca cultivation and drug-trafficking, seized the opportunity for encouraging coca growth beyond Colombia’s borders and purportedly spread into Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.

As a result, neighboring countries witnessed an increased coca cultivation emerge within their borders. Thus, Plan Colombia did not noticeably eliminate FARC’s influence in Colombia; it simply forced members into more remote regions, far from the reach of eradication efforts. The failed initiative also encouraged FARC’s ventures into bordering countries, providing the guerrillas with more trade and cultivation gateways. Overall, U.S. aid merely pushed the FARC out of Colombia temporarily; however, it is not surprising that coca production re-surfaced, even reinvigorated. The FARC simply needed time to re-establish itself in a new locale in order to continue producing and plying coca to unwavering international demand, nurturing its illicit weed almost at will.

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