Cocaine and Conflict in Colombia

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For a very long time, the word that most often followed a mention of Colombia was cocaine.  Colombia was the world’s largest producer of the illicit drug.   In the mid-2000s, the South American country turned a corner and made significant progress with its program to systematically eradicate the coca plant. It was no longer the cocaine kingpin. Unfortunately, in 2014 Colombia reclaimed its world title, producing more coca than Peru and Bolivia (the number two and three producing countries, respectively) combined. Last year, the U.S. measured 393 thousand acres of coca in Colombia – that’s the third-largest annual measurement ever, says the Washington Office on Latin America’s Adam Isacson.

The Colombian government under President Juan Manuel Santos is not turning a blind eye. On Monday, Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas announced the government will resume use of glyphosate to eradicate illegal coca crops. This comes less than a year after the crop eradication effort was suspended due to concerns that glyphosate causes cancer.

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