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Kashmir declares war on poppy as violence ebbs

Location: 
Awantipura
India
Publication/Source: 
Gulf Times (Qatar)
URL: 
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=153785&version=1&template_id=40&parent_id=22

Latin America: Colombia Coca Production Up Again Despite Massive Eradication Efforts

The US government reported Monday that the amount of land under coca cultivation in Colombia had increased for the third straight year. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), cultivation increased 9% last year to some 388,500 acres despite a massive aerial herbicide spraying campaign.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/coca-seedlings.jpg
coca seedlings
While ONDCP did not report on the 2006 figures until Monday, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe announced the findings at the end of a long speech last Friday, in an apparent bid to inoculate both governments from criticism that US drug policy in the region is ineffective and counterproductive. Uribe arrived in Washington Wednesday, primarily to urge the passage of a bilateral trade agreement, but also to press for continued US assistance.

"Yesterday [last Thursday] they told me they were worried about revealing this number because of my upcoming trip to the United States, that the Americans should reveal it," he said. "But that's why I'm revealing it. We're not trying to put makeup on what is a serious matter. We've unleashed a battle with all our will and all our determination," Uribe said. "Could it be we've worked in vain? That all our work hasn't produced the desired results?"

The US has spent more than $5 billion and sprayed more than 2.1 million acres of Colombian farmland since 2000 in a failed effort to eradicate Colombian cocaine production. More precisely, Plan Colombia called for coca production to be halved within five years, but according to the latest estimates, Colombia is producing 27% more coca than in 1999, the year before the plan went into effect. The long-term trends toward decreasing cocaine price and increasing purity also suggest that all the billions have little impact on cocaine availability.

In its Monday press release, ONDCP did its best to spin the disappointing results. "Statistically, there was no change" in coca production, ONDCP claimed two sentences before noting a 33,000-acre increase in the area under cultivation. Coca growers' creative responses to eradication efforts -- moving to smaller plots, moving to areas off limits to the spraying program, rapidly reconstituting sprayed crops -- created "major challenges" for arriving at a reliable estimate, ONDCP explained.

"Rather than weaken farmers' reliance on coca, fumigation serves to reinforce it," said Washington Office on Latin America Senior Associate John Walsh. "To insist at this point that more spraying will somehow deter farmers from replanting is not just unrealistic, it's delusional."

That's a sentiment that is also being heard in the halls of Congress these days. On Tuesday, the House subcommittee that oversees foreign aid proposed major changes in US anti-drug policy in Colombia. Under that proposal, funding to the Colombian military would be cut by $150 million and an additional $100 million would be redirected to boost economic development and boost the judicial system.

If the proposal championed by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) succeeds, the military's share of US assistance would drop from 80% to 55%. But Colombia would still remain the third largest recipient of US foreign aid behind the Middle East and Afghanistan.

"I have long felt that our policies in Colombia were ineffective and misguided," Lowey told the Associated Press Wednesday. "My proposal would realign the funding to more of an even split."

Everyone Profits at Helmand's Drug Bazaar--The poppy harvest is in and everyone from the Taliban to local government officials is cooperating to get the opium crop to market.

Location: 
HEL
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
ISN Security Watch
URL: 
http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?ID=17699

Colombian coca production up for 3rd straight year

Location: 
Bogota
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
Houston Chronicle
URL: 
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4857918.html

Mexico's President is Half Right

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told Deutsche Press-Agentur this weekend that America's drug habit is the cause of Mexico's drug prohibition-related violence. In Mexican President Blames US for Drugs War, Calderon said:
"Our problem is the demand for narcotics in the US market, which significantly affects Mexico," the Mexican president said. Calderon stressed that no strategy from the Mexican government against drug cartels will be sufficient unless demand is reduced. "It is evident that as long as there is a market, as long as there is drug consumption in the United States, this problem will persist in Mexico," he said.
Calderon is, of course, absolutely correct on that score. I've often noted that the prohibition-related violence plaguing our southern neighbor--there have been 1,046 killed in Mexico's drug wars so far this year--is Mexico paying the price for our war on the drugs we love to consume. Where he is wrong is his implicit assumption that the US government can meaningfully reduce demand and that the war on drugs could somehow succeed if--gosh darnit!--we Americans only tried harder. We spend about $40 billion and arrest nearly 2 million people a year in the drug war, and the drug use numbers fluctuate at the margins. The US drug market will never go away. If Calderon wants to see an end to the prohibition-related violence in Mexico, he would be much better off calling for the regulation and normalization of the illicit drug business than waiting for Americans to quit using drugs. The only thing less likely than the US government ending drug prohibition is that Americans are going to change their ways.
Location: 
United States

Mexican President Blames US for Drug War

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Press TV
URL: 
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=11883&sectionid=3510207

Northern Province Says No to Opium

Location: 
BDS
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
URL: 
http://www.iwpr.net/?p=arr&s=f&o=336039&apc_state=henparr

Peru's anti-drug efforts lacking bite

Location: 
Lima
Peru
Publication/Source: 
Miami Herald
URL: 
http://www.miamiherald.com/579/story/126423.html

Indian rebels turn to poppy for funds

Location: 
JH
India
Publication/Source: 
Daily Times (Pakistan)
URL: 
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C06%5C01%5Cstory_1-6-2007_pg4_18

Ponder This Graph for a Moment, Please

graph from WOLA and AIN (graph from WOLA/AIN memo, link below) This graph shows what about $10 billion in US taxpayer dollars has accomplished. Note that while coca production has shifted within the region, the 1992 levels and the 2005 levels are essentially identical. Why is our coca eradication policy not subjected to cost-benefit analysis? Is there anyone who will argue that it is working? If so, I'd like to hear it. To be fair, that $10 billion has accomplished some things. It has engendered massive social conflict in all three countries, it has led to tens of thousands of peasant farmers being arrested as drug traffickers, it has led to thousands of deaths (especially in Colombia, where the eradication policy is part of the US's broader military intervention in that country's festering civil war). Your tax dollars at work. $10 billion is a lot of money. Heck, we could finance the Iraq war for a few weeks with it! Or we could give $100,000 college scholarships to 10,000 students. Or build $100,000 homes for 10,000 families. Or numerous other programs that, unlike the coca eradication program, might actually accomplish something. By the way, I came across the graph above in a memo from the Andean Information Network and the Washington Office on Latin America. That memo was occasioned by the US government's release of coca cultivation estimates for Bolivia. The US government has for months been complaining that Bolivian President Evo Morales' pro-coca policies were going to lead to a boom in production there. Surprise! It didn't. Read the memo for some juicy analysis.
Location: 
United States

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