Ricardo Vargas

Ricardo Vargas

Director of Acción Andina Colombia

Ricardo Vargas Meza is a Sociologist with a Masters in Social Philosophy from the National University of Colombia. He is an author, among other texts of Fumigation and Conflict: Anti-drugs policies and the delegitimisation of the Colombian state (Tercer Mundo, TNI and Acción Andina, December 1999); Drugs, Armed Conflict and Alternative Development (Acción Andina Colombia, June 2003, Bogotá); Narcotrafficking, war and anti-drug policies (Acción Andina Colombia, Novib - Oxfam The Netherlands, June 2005); Alternative Development in Colombia and Social Participation: Proposals for a change of strategy (DIAL, September 2010, Bogotá).

Vargas writes frequently for various publications and journals, both in Colombia and internationally. He also does international consultancy on issues of development, illegality and security.

Work area:

Areas of expertise:

Illicit coca production in Colombia; Drugs and Conflict; Alternative Development; Fumigation and Biological warfare against drugs; War on drugs in the Andes


Media experience:


Contact details:

Languages spoken:


Bogota, Colombia

Selected publications

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Recent content by Ricardo Vargas

Drugs, armed conflict and peace

July 2014
This policy briefing analyses the results of the partial agreement on drugs reached at the talks being held in Havana between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and the Colombian government.

Drugs as war economy and the peace process

October 2013
Colombia's peace negotiations appear to have a rather simplistic view of drug production and trafficking that does not properly address the complex relationship between drugs and armed conflict.

USAID's Alternative Development policy in Colombia

October 2011
Alternative Development as practised by USAID and the Colombia government was always guided more by security rather than development considerations. This report examines the key aspects of USAID's alternative development policy and its implementation in Colombia during the last decade. A critical analysis by Ricardo Vargas.  

Colombia: A successful case for the war on drugs?

January 2011
Is Colombia's narcotrafficking situation comparable to that of Mexico, including the strategies needed to combat it?

The Statistics Bazaar

March 2010
The drugs scene in Colombia is characterized by the fact that it is dominated by a confusion of insufficiently supported statistics and speculative diagnoses which produce policies that reflect this chaos.

The security approach to the drugs problem

December 2009
The drugs problem in Colombia is intertwined with structural factors at the social, economic, institutional and cultural levels. Moreover, its relationship to the armed conflict has had serious consequences for the socio-economic conditions of peasant and indigenous communities affected by the production of raw materials used to produce cocaine.

Political Challenges Posed by the Failure of Prohibition

May 2006
After a slight dip in coca production during 2003 and 2004, the Andean region has returned to the historical average of 200,000 hectares of coca crops.


November 2005