Cocaine still on the move

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While things seem to be well in economics, the top leaders of paramilitary groups are on US courts, the FARC guerrilla is at its most weaken time and legal procedures like Parapolitic are cleaning the most high positions of the Colombian state, the office of the United Nations against Drugs pointed out a situation that is complex: the coca grows rose 27% in Colombia in 2007.

There were 78,000 hectares cultivated with coca in 2006 and it came to be 99,000 hectares for 2007, which represents an increase of 27% after the strongest efforts of the Colombian government to eradicate it with the support of international help, especially from the USA.

However, the director of the UN office dedicated to coordinate global efforts to end the production of illegal drugs said also that the hectares cultivated with coca are located in areas controlled by guerrillas, although it is not mentioned the paramilitary groups associated also with the most lucrative illegal business of the planet.

One of the ways used by the Colombian government to destroy coca crops is by aerial fumigations, a fact that has brought up critics from environmentalists and contributed to damage the relations with Ecuador, since many of those coca regions are along the border with the southern country. The Colombian police followed aerial fumigation of 153,100 hectares and cleared 66.300 hectares manually in 2007, while USA has supported that program with more than 5,000 million dollars in the last seven years. That budget has included also the military assistance to fight the oldest world guerrilla, often accused of supporting its war against the Colombian government through drug’s trafficking.

It will be difficult therefore to get rid of the position of Colombia as the first world producer of cocaine, a complex problem that involves not only producers like Colombia, but also consumers, mostly in USA and Europe. The Colombian government has followed a campaign to raise interest in the matter seeing drug trafficking as a problem with share responsibility: since there are persons ready to consume drugs, there will be persons ready to plant the crops.

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