In the late 20th century, Colombia has been a haven for violence, social unrest, and illegal drug trafficking prompted by uneven development throughout the country. In 1984, the election of a new president sparked violence in Colombia, leading to the assassination of the minister of justice. The very apparent inadequacy of the government to control violent attacks was made obvious to the drug cartels, who then used this weakness in government to gain political influence with bribery, threats, and political contributions. Colombia’s isolated landscape abated the ever growing drug production. It’s location in the northwest corner of South America allowed drug shipments to be easily be made to the United States or Europe. From the production and economy of cocaine to the notorious cartels, large amounts of drugs imported into the US, and Colombian and US efforts against the drug war; Colombia is a germane subject in our history. The location and loopholes in the Colombian government make the country a thriving place for illegal drug activity. In the 1990’s, coca production was a small-scale business operation; imported from Bolivia and Peru, Colombia was not engaging in much of the growing. As eradication efforts by Bolivia and Peru’s government grew stronger, less and less of the coca plant was being imported into Colombia. In 1996, Colombia surpassed Peru and Bolivia in being the major producers of coca. Colombia was previously created 13% of the world’s cocaine intake, but now the cartels are responsible for 70-80% of the cocaine (Kirk 15) Colombian farmers grow the coca leaf plant on private farms with other small produce. Then, very easily make the leaf into a coca paste, in which drug traffickers will come directly to their house and buy in cash. Growing the coca plant is a very attractive alternative to other produce because drug traffickers come directly to the farms and the farmers do not have to transport their products. Coca farms are placed in largely rural areas with low state occupancy. So, the real size of the drug industry remains an estimate with large room for exaggeration (Asner, film). Coca farming grew to be so big in Colombia mainly because world coffee prices were on the decline. Illegal drugs came to overtake coffee in export value. The coca production seemed to have both negative and positive influences on Colombia’s economy. Farm workers being hired and more and more land being purchased boosts the economy. Coca farms are responsible for a major decrease in the unemployment rate; helping both the economy, and the families of Colombia. Many scholars, experts, and diplomats feel the drug trade greatly harms the economy. The coca plant is a parasite that forever damages land that could be used for other legal productions. Money continues to flow into enforcing laws and prevention officers that could be going towards other activities. Colombia’s drug budget was almost $1 billion, in 1995. Cartels purchase protection from government officials or guerrillas fomenting official corruption in the government (Rensselaer, para 20). The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (guerillas), offer protection to the coca farmers. They engage themselves into the drug business on their own account. In attempts to lower the rate of growing coca farms, the Colombian government with push from the US government, proceeded to fumigate crops throughout farmlands. This has caused unrest in the country due to violation of human rights and the killing of legal food production. These pesticides have possible dangerous effects on humans, make their way into the Amazon river, and have an egregious effect on not just the wildlife in Colombia, but throughout the continent (Kirk 56) Colombia is home to some of the most well-known violent drug cartels, who established new social classes and affected the culture. The destructive organization, the Medellin cartel, was established in 1976 and led by Pablo...
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