Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.

Cocaine

The FARC really appears to be abandoning coca—which may mean violence

This is a remarkable paragraph in a Semana magazine column from Daniel Rico, a former Colombian government counter-drug official who now analyzes the cocaine trade and security at the Ideas for Peace Foundation, a Bogotá think tank. In last year’s peace accords, Rico writes, “…with regard to narcotrafficking, the FARC committed itself to ‘put an […]

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This set of charts shows why a border wall won’t stop drugs

This graphic, from a San Diego Union-Tribune article that appeared Saturday, includes data that we almost never get to see: real-time information on U.S. border authorities’ drug seizures. (Click on it, or here, to view it larger.) The data covers just one sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, which Border Patrol divides into nine sectors. This […]

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Brookings post about coca and peace in Colombia

This just went up on the Brookings Institution’s “Order from Chaos” foreign policy blog. I’ll be talking about “drugs and peace” in post-conflict Colombia at a Brookings panel on Monday morning. Colombia’s peace accords point the way to a solution. But will they be implemented? The “illicit crops” part of the peace accord is more transactional […]

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Colombia’s coca problem, in less than 300 words

From Monday’s edition of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor (PDF). Q: The U.S. State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released in March said Colombia is the world’s top producer of cocaine and that the cultivation of coca has increased by record amounts for the past two years. What is the reason for the […]

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Does Colombia have more coca now than before Plan Colombia?

Colombia’s Defense Minister let spill last night that the U.S. government’s 2016 estimate of illicit coca grown in the country is 188,000 hectares (465,000 acres). That is the most coca the USG has ever measured. Here’s what the chart looks like: 188,000 hectares is an 18 percent increase over 2015. That’s a lot, but the […]

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At WOLA’s website: Confronting Colombia’s Coca Boom

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 […]

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New coca estimate may come tomorrow: looks high, but lower than I expected

Tomorrow, the Wall Street Journal reports, the White House will release its estimate of how much coca was planted in Colombia in 2016. 695 square miles is 180,000 hectares. This would be the highest U.S. measurement of Colombian coca cultivation ever. On the other hand, it would represent the smallest increase in Colombian coca-growing in three years. 180,000 […]

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