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The Collective
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AFP: US aid to Colombia is stemming flow of cocaine: official

US aid to Colombia is helping stem the flow of cocaine coming out of the South American country, the head of Washington’s top anti-narcotics agency said here Tuesday.

“Plan Colombia is working. The amount of land used for the cultivation of coca is at an historic low in Colombia,” the head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Karen Tandy, told a drug law enforcement conference in Madrid.

Of course, the cultivation metric is a favorite amongst drug warriors, never mind that it doesn’t really mean much.

Two problems:

1) Even if the numbers of hectares under cultivation in Colombia are at “historic low[s]” that doesn’t mean that a) the overall number of hectares under cultivation are at similar lows (it can be grown elsewhere, and cultivation has been increasing in Peru), and b) that still doesn’t mean that the actual supply of cocaine has been substantially altered. (Note, also, a careful reading of the first paragraph that aid is “helping”-hardly as definitive an outcome as the headline suggests).

and

2) There is still the problem that price isn’t going up, a key metric for determining if interdiction policies are actually working.

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Filed under: War on Drugs, Colombia | |

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