Rethinking Plan Colombia

Here is the third and final installment of The Christian Science Monitors series on the drug war in Columbia.

Dana Harman at CSM: Sandro Calvani, director of the UN’s office on Drugs and Crime in Colombia (UNODC) argues that Plan Colombia’s heavy focus on aerial spraying needs to be supplemented with increased efforts to deal with the social and economic roots of Colombia’s coca industry. Specifically, he wants the US and others in the international community to offer real strategies for rural development that would ensure alternative livelihoods for poor farmers who face destruction of their chief cash crop.

“Why do Colombians go back to replanting coca? Because it’s easy, and no one talks to them about doing something else,” says Calvani. The alternative development programs that have been attempted, he says, show clear, impressive results. A UNODC survey released in June shows that 70 percent of the fields eradicated through Plan Colombia are replanted. But if farmers receive alternative development assistance, states Calvani, the percentage of coca fields replanted dives to 3 percent, with the likes of coffee, hearts of palm, and red beans being planted instead: “Once coca peasants live on licit crops for one year, they never go back to the illicit economy.”

Posted by: Howie at 12:30 PM


1 The Taliban had severe laws against opium production.

Gas pipe lines are not the only fruit of the war in Afghanistan. One consequence of the “Democratization” of Afghanistan has been a huge increase in the production of opium and a concomitant increase in heroin production.

The CIA has funded covert operations by engaging in drug trafficking for decades.

Posted by: Greg at September 29, 2006 12:50 PM

2 Yeah, but coca bushes take two years to mature. Saying they had been replanted doesn't mean that everything's hunky-dory.

Posted by: See-Dub at September 29, 2006 01:23 PM

3 I've already had my say on the issue of the War on Some Drugs and how the war, not the drugs, is destroying America -- and, it seems, Colombia.

Posted by: Michael Hampton at September 29, 2006 02:01 PM

4 Taliban Greg, you're idea of sawing the heads off of drug traffikers in soccer stadiums is not gonna fly. I wouldn't have thought you supported capitol punishment.

Posted by: QC at September 29, 2006 02:59 PM

5 I just bought another Michele Malkin book to help her through this outrage. Everybody do what you can.

Posted by: bubbe at September 29, 2006 03:05 PM

6 If the U.S. were really interested in policing opium production in Afghanistan they could do so without resorting to beheadings.

Clearly there is no interest on the part of the U.S. government to stem the tide of opium production in Afghanistan. The fact that Afghanistan is producing 90% of the world’s opium and heroin under U.S. occupation is no coincidence. The global elitists are Mafiosi.

The GWOT is about stealing treasure and reaping huge profits. Now go fight for your Mafiosi masters, you ignorant pawns.

Posted by: Greg at September 29, 2006 03:28 PM

Processing 0.0, elapsed 0.0041 seconds.
15 queries taking 0.0029 seconds, 14 records returned.
Page size 8 kb.
Powered by Minx 0.7 alpha.