Analysis: Colombia’s fight against the coca trade
The Colombian government believes people should just say no to growing coca: those that do not, risk aerial spraying of their illicit crop with powerful pesticides, or manual destruction by work teams hired by private firms and supported by the security forces.
The government gasses or smashes coca. But what incentive is there to prevent farmers returning to cultivation? The drawback to the government’s alternative crop policy, backed by USAID, is that it has been “guided more by security rather than development considerations”, according to analyst Ricardo Vargas of the Transnational Institute. The idea is to deprive the guerillas of financing rather than the sustainable development of the communities and the region.
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