Colombia: Cocaine Trade

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Nicole Ransom
INTS 101
Khalil Marrar

11/8/2012

How does the Cocaine drug trade affect its producing countries, what problems are seen, and what are possible solutions to these problems both locally and internationally?

The drug trafficking problem focused on Cocaine is mainly limited to three countries, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. These three countries are the main producers and traders when it comes to the Coca leaf and Cocaine. They all face problems created by the war on drugs centered on Cocaine. In Peru and Bolivia they face cultural problems when it comes to eradicating the Cocaine trade while in Colombia they face a history of violence and guerrilla groups. There are various projected solutions to these problems, and all will need to be implemented in order to reduce and eventually eliminate the problems cause by the Coca leaf and Cocaine. The Cocaine trade affects all three countries in negative ways, therefore the solutions thought up and exercised in each country are necessary for both eradication and eliminating the Cocaine drug trade both locally and internationally.

Historically the number one producer of Cocaine and the Coca leaf has been Colombia. However, over the five year period of 2006 - 2010 Cocaine production and trade has declined. Cocaine emerged as a commodity, or main export in the Colombian economy, beginning in the 1960’s. The city in Colombia that pioneered this increase in Cocaine trade was Medellin. As the 1970’s came along, profits made by working in the Cocaine trade doubled. According to Mary Roldán drug money made its way into the Colombian economy, corrupting the Colombian government up until the late 90’s. She states in her article that, “Colombia’s foreign reserves nearly doubled in the space of two years from $262.7 million in 1975 to $467.9 million in 1977 and a good chunk of this was derived from drug dollars laundered through ‘la ventana siniestra’ of the ‘Banco de la Republica.”[1] The drug trade continued to affect Colombia’s government and economy, creating corruption and violence within the country. Similar to the creation of drug ‘Capos” like Pablo Escobar, left wing guerrilla groups and paramilitaries became involved in the drug trade. Some of the most famous guerrilla groups at the time were the FARC, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Military Armed Forces of Colombia), the ELN, Ejercito Nacional de la Liberacion (National Liberation Army), and the M-19. This resulting in violence and unrest throughout the country. However, in recent years production has declined due to U.S. involvement and increased military spending by the Colombian government to fight the drug and violence problem within the country. Drug production has decreased enough for Peru to pass Colombia as the leading country with production and trade in the Coca leaf and Cocaine.

There have been various forms of solutions thought out to combat the Colombian Cocaine drug trade over the years. However, the most prominent one that began under U.S. President Clinton and Colombia President Pastrana’s administration is Plan Colombia, which is still in effect today. The program was initially created with the purpose of creating an “...an integrated strategy to meet the most pressing challenges confronting Colombia today -- promoting the peace process, combating the narcotics industry, reviving the Colombian economy, and strengthening the democratic pillars of Colombian society.”[2] With this idea the U.S. agreed to assist Pastrana by providing the country with “a $1.6 billion package of assistance to Colombia. Adding to previously approved U.S. assistance to Colombia of over $330 million, the new initiative requests $954 million as an emergency supplemental for FY 2000 and $318 million in additional funding for FY 2001.”[3] Clinton agreed to this assistance to Colombia by creating a system of five components that U.S. assistance would focus on. These component include; (1) Improving Government...
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