Shocker! Coca Production Up

Cross-posted from La Política Colombiana:

Shockingly, the AP reports that the number of hectares of coca under cultivation has risen, despite the increased eradication effort: Colombia’s president says White House survey shows 8 percent rise in coca

Despite record drug eradication efforts, a White House survey found production of coca in Colombia rose for the third consecutive year in 2006, President Alvaro Uribe said.

Uribe, who travels to Washington on Wednesday to secure the continued flow of U.S. anti-drug aid, revealed the findings of the still unreleased report at the end of a long speech Friday. A transcript was posted Sunday on the president’s Web site.

Uribe said the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy survey, which is based on satellite imagery, found that production rose 8 percent last year, to 156,000 hectares (385,484 acres) — an area twice the size of New York City.

I mean, really, who could’ve seen that coming?

This also contradicts statements from the US government from about a month ago.

Certainly when compared to the stated goals, the current policy is an abject failure:

One of Plan Colombia’s main goals was to halve production of coca within five years, but the latest estimate indicates 27 percent more coca is being produced than in 1999, the year before the anti-drug effort went into effect. A recent dip in the U.S. street price of cocaine, and rise in purity, also points to abundant supply.

Despite this: the response is predictable: there will be a call for more money to be spent to try and eradicate more hectares and yet regardless of how much money we spend we are going to be in the same place a few years from now, looking back and saying “well, we just need a few more million, and then we’ll get ’em”–and meanwhile the cultivation of the coca plant with continue as will the consumption of the drug.

One wonders at what point we stop and actually reassess if this is a smart way to spend the taxpayers’ money.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Let’s see here. Colombian president.
    Hmmm. Would that be Ernesto Samper?
    Would that be the same Colombian president who has been routinely excepting millions of dollars from the Cali cocaine cartel?

    Oh, wait… no… that Alvaro Uribe, isn’t it? Uribe came to power to eliminate the corruption there, supposedly… but let’s remember that Cali was hardly about spending it’s slush money on the President alone. There was then, and remains now, a great deal of corruption in that country.

    So, your answer is to simply make legal, the corruption?

    Yeah, THAT makes sense, huh?

  2. Michael says:

    Certainly when compared to the stated goals, the current policy is an abject failure.

    One wonders at what point we stop and actually reassess if this is a smart way to spend the taxpayers’ money.

    Wait, what foreign country are we talking about again?

    I’m sure we’ll get right on that. Maybe all we need is a temporary “surge” of cash, that would make it a totally different plan and is certain to succeed. Right? I mean, haven’t we just turned a corner or something, and need just another 6 months?

  3. Tlaloc says:

    One wonders at what point we stop and actually reassess if this is a smart way to spend the taxpayers’ money.

    But if we withdraw from the war on drugs then all those dea agents lives will have been lost in vain! We owe it to them to spend the next fifty years continuing to pursue a reckless and self defeating policy, by god.