US Congress: Colombia Cocaine Production Up Despite $5 Billion in Aid

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 7 November 2008

A report by the US Congress has found that both coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia have increased in recent years despite $5 billion in US aid. The report, produced by the General Accounting Office of Congress, is likely to add further weight to calls that US aid to Colombia is not having the desired effect and should be curtailed.

Sources in Washington have already indicated that US aid to Colombia is likely to be cut due to concerns about the deteriorating human rights record of the Colombian security forces as well as because of the general financial crisis which is seeing budgets cut in several areas.

The report, which was released on November 5th, says that coca cultivation (the raw material used to produce cocaine) increased by 15% during the 2000-2006 period, during which US counter-narcotics assistance was at its height. It also found that cocaine production had risen.

"I think it's very, very important that a US agency has now said that the US drug war has failed in Colombia" Adam Isacson, a Colombia expert at the Washington-based Center for International Policy, told The Guardian newspaper yesterday.

Colombia continues to produce over 90% of the cocaine in the world and some observers have alleged that the failure of Washington's efforts to fight the drugs trade in the country are due to senior political and military figures having clandestine links to the drugs business. These same individuals are supposedly allies in the 'War on Drugs'.

A declassified US intelligence report released in 2004, added to these concerns by stating that President Alvaro Uribe himself, as well as his father, had links to the cocaine business.

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