Shocker! Coca Production Up
Cross-posted from La PolÃtica 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.