1960s Marxist guerilla groups formed. The two strongest groups called themselves the National
Liberation Army (ELN) and the other was the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC). Making things worse, in the 1970s drug trafficking became a huge problem for
Colombia. Drug cartels pretty much controlled the country starting in the mid-1970s. By the
1990s right-wing paramilitaries had formed. They were made mainly of drug traffickers and
landowners. The main paramilitary group called themselves the United Self Defense Forces of
Since the 1970s, Colombia has been home to some of the most violent and sophisticated
drug trafficking organizations in the world. What started as a small cocaine smuggling business
has, in the last thirty years, blossomed into an enormous multi-national cocaine empire. Starting
in the mid-1970s, marijuana traffickers in Colombia began exporting small quantities of cocaine
to the United States hidden in suitcases. "At that point, cocaine could be processed for $1500 a
kilo in jungle labs and could be sold on the streets of America for as much as $50,000 a kilo"
Today, Colombia supplies up to 80 percent of the world's cocaine, and about 70 percent
of the cocaine that enters the United States. "Production has been steadily rising, it is up 20
percent in the past fifteen years" (Grossman). Illegal crops remain, by far, the most lucrative of
all the agricultural products in Colombia. The narcotics industry accounts for about three
percent of Colombia's gross domestic income.
The majority of the coca leaves are grown on large plantations in southern and central
Colombia, most of which are under the control of large drug cartels. "Recently, coca growers
have burned 2.4 million hectares of rain forest to clear for new areas of... [continues]
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