release from Colombian Ministry of Justice, February 27, 2002
Republic of Colombia
Ministry of Justice
The National Government would like to inform the public opinion that on
Wednesday, February 27, the Minister of Justice, Romulo Gonzalez Trujillo;
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guillermo Fernandez de Soto; the Director
of the United Nations Program for Drug Control, Klaus Nyholm; the National
Director of Narcotics, Gabriel Merchan Benavides; the Director of the
Antinarcotics Police, General Gustavo Socha Salamanca; and the Presidential
Advisor for Economic Affairs, Juan Ricardo Ortega, met at the office of
the Minister of Justice to evaluate the results of the satellite survey
to determine the extension of coca crops in the Colombian territory and
got to the following conclusions:
1. As of November
1st, 2001, the total area of coca crops in Colombia was of 144,807 hectares,
which, compared to the figures of August 31, 2000, represents a reduction
of 18,482 hectares of illicit crops, equivalent to 11.4%.
2. Between November and December 2001, 8,877 hectares of illicit crops
were eradicated through aerial fumigation. As a result, as of December
31, 2001, the estimated area of coca crops was of 135,930 hectares, a
reduction of 16.8%.
3. The results of the survey, implemented through the Integrated System
to Monitoring Illicit Crops - Sistema Integrado de Monitoreo de Cultivos
Ilícitos, SIMCI - show that for the first time in the history of
Colombia, there has been an effective reduction of coca crops. This methodology
has been accepted by national, as well as international organizations
dedicated to this task.
4. Even though it is evident that the decline of the extension of illicit
cultivation is a clear example of the success of the eradication policy,
it does not reflect its real impact. The decrease of the annual cocaine
production is larger than that of the cultivated area, due to the decline
of the yearly harvests.
5. There has been a decrease of 16.8% in the production of coca base,
due to the decline of coca crops, and due also to the decrease of productivity
of sprayed hectares. As a result there was a reduction of 33.8% in the
annual volume of cocaine.
6. The destruction of labs and other production infrastructure, the seizure
of chemical precursors, coca paste and pure cocaine, and the above mentioned
results, represent an effective reduction in the amount of illicit money
perceived by those criminal organizations that use these means as a way
to finance their illicit activities.
7. The Government would like to reaffirm that it will maintain its efforts
in the fight against narcotrafficking and will go on working along with
the international community, based on the principle of shared responsibility,
to obtain efficient results against this criminal activity that affects
every nation on earth.
Bogota, February 27, 2002.