Looks like everything I’ve written over the last few days about Colombia’s coca bonanza is coming out today. This new analysis just got posted to wola.org.
Here, I find 7 reasons why Colombia’s coca crop has increased so quickly.
- Suspending aerial herbicide fumigation and not quickly replacing it with anything else.
- Reducing forced manual eradication and not quickly replacing it with anything else.
- Not increasing government presence or alternative development in coca-growing zones.
- A drop in the price of gold, making illicit mining less attractive than coca.
- A strengthening of the dollar, making farm-gate prices appear higher in pesos.
- Word spreading about the benefits coca-growers could obtain in the 2014 FARC accord, incentivizing some people to become coca growers.
- Coca-growers’ increased organization and skill at blockading and stopping manual eradication, while the government avoided violent confrontations with them during peace talks.
Those are complicated reasons. What to do about it, then? I argue: let Colombia pursue the plan it has put together within the framework of the FARC peace accords. This plan is barely underway. But constantly monitor and verify that Colombia’s government is doing what it says it is going to do, because after repeated betrayals of trust, “implementation” is almost a swear word in the Colombian countryside. We must “trust, but verify” that Colombia will keep up its end of the bargain with farmers who live in the country’s vast, abandoned coca-growing areas.