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Last Updated:7/5/06

Letter: "The Real Solution for Colombia's Drug Problems," by Adam Isacson, The Washington Post, July 3, 2006


The Real Solution for Colombia's Drug Problems

Monday, July 3, 2006; A20

In "More Help for Colombia" [op-ed, June 26], Robert D. Novak employs a tired tactic: slapping the "soft on drugs" label on any who oppose the current U.S. policy toward Colombia.

Critics, Mr. Novak implies, are betraying brave Colombian anti-drug police officers who risk their lives every day.

Why, though, must these police risk all for a strategy that hasn't affected Colombian coca and opium?

Since Plan Colombia began in 2000, we have seen $4.7 billion spent and 2,500 square miles sprayed with herbicides. Yet U.S. government satellites found more coca in Colombia last year than they did in 2000, while cocaine and heroin street prices have actually declined.

Coca cultivation will decrease only when Colombia can govern its rural areas, where more than 75 percent of the people live in poverty.

Those who insist on spraying instead of governing are doing a disservice to Colombia's police officers by forcing them to face mortal danger for a strategy that isn't working.

ADAM ISACSON

Director of Programs

Center for International Policy

Washington

As of July 5, 2006, this document was also available online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/02/AR2006070200561_pf.html

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