Rising Coca Cultivation In Colombia Is Driving the U.N. Drug Czar Crazy

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No matter what happens in the drug war, the people in charge will always tell you that we're making great progress. Obvious ongoing policy failures are referred to as "setbacks" as though we're on a trajectory towards inevitable eventual success. The thing is, we're not.

Colombian peasants devoted 27 percent more land to growing coca last year, the United Nations reported Wednesday, calling the increase "a surprise and a shock" given intense efforts to eradicate cocaine's raw ingredient.


"The increase in coca cultivation in Colombia is a surprise and shock: a surprise because it comes at a time when the Colombian government is trying so hard to eradicate coca; a shock because of the magnitude of cultivation," said Antonio Maria Costa, director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Really? Because increased coca cultivation in Colombia is the least surprising thing I've ever heard in my life. Coca eradication has never worked in the history of the world. As Pete Guither points out, Costa recently called drug policy reformers "lunatics," and yet he is the one who gets shocked and surprised by something any of us could have assured him would happen.

At any given moment, the powerful drug warriors of the world can be found talking about drug policy like it's their first day on the job.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Oh Colombia

Y'know I met a guy from Colombia once:
"Wanna smoke some grass?"
"What the hell is that?"
"...its a marijuana pipe"
"Pipe? My friend, in Colombia we buy it in packs."

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