U.S. Finds Coca Cultivation Shifting To Colombia

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Mar 2, 2001.

  1. By Christopher Marquis
    Source: New York Times

    Six years of intense American-backed antinarcotics efforts in South America have redrawn drug-trafficking patterns, but have failed to stem a yearly increase in the amount of coca being grown, the State Department reported today.
    There were dramatic reductions in coca grown in Peru and Bolivia last year, but the area under cultivation in Colombia surged 11 percent, to almost 336,000 acres, the department said in its annual review of anti narcotics efforts around the world.

    Still, the United States certified that Colombia's government, which Washington is providing with $1.3 billion over two years in mostly military aid as it struggles against two guerrilla insurgencies, was cooperating in efforts to fight trafficking.

    In its review of 24 nations that are either major producers or points of transit, the department again denied certification to only two countries - Afghanistan and Burma.

    The cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan rose 25 percent last year, and lands controlled by the Islamic government there were responsible for 72 percent of the world's supply of opium, the raw material for heroin, the report said.

    Congress requires that the administration certify each year whether key nations are cooperating in efforts to stop the flow of illegal drugs. Nations that are not certified are ineligible for most American aid.

    The certification process itself has come under fire.

    The annual report has become a major irritant for American allies, who insist that drug demand in the United States should be part of any evaluation. The department estimated that American demand created a market of $63 billion a year.

    The State Department's top counternarcotics official, Rand Beers, said today that the United States was "prepared to look at alternatives" to certification. The president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, calls the process a sham.

    This year the report again granted Mexico certification, even as it said the corruption of law-enforcement officials by drug cartels remained a serious problem.

    In the Andes, though cultivation has grown, the overall increase was negligible, less than 2 percent, the department reported.

    The continued expansion of coca growing nonetheless highlighted how traffickers have fled determined eradication programs in Peru and Bolivia and found haven in Colombia, fueling its civil conflict.

    "With the drug trade now an organic part of the Colombian civil conflict," the report said, "the question facing the antidrug coalition will be how to reduce the supply of illegal drugs without exacerbating local conflicts that threaten regional stability."

    Stephen E. Flynn, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said that with the displacement effect, "What we have is more of a mess in Colombia than what we started with."

    Senator Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, has introduced legislation to suspend the drug-certification procedure for two years, unless President Bush chooses to reinstate it.

    Mr. Dodd said the suspension, which is also being supported by a Republican senator, John McCain of Arizona, will "create an atmosphere of good will within which President Bush can discuss with other heads of state - from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia - ways to improve international cooperation among producing, transit and consuming nations."

    Complete Title: U.S. Finds That Coca Cultivation Is Shifting Sharply To Colombia

    Source: New York Times (NY)
    Author: Christopher Marquis
    Published: March 2, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 The New York Times Company
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  2. For some time now I have been noticing a trend.........on cannabis discussion forums.
    A trend away from cannabis .This trend (and the results of local drug busts) leads me to believe that those "second sources" of opium and heroin are sucessfully making their way into even American schools.
    Marijuana use (according to most recent studies) is decreasing among young folks,but the trend towards experimentation and use of harder drugs is on the increase in the US. On some boards a year ago .......a question about opium or heroin was extremely rare.......whereas now ,seperate forums have been set up just to handle the flow.

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