Coca eradication working in Colombia?

Preston Peet ptpeet at nyc.rr.com
Thu Sep 18 07:46:28 EDT 2003


http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/18/international/americas/18COLO.html?th
U.N. Says U.S. Eradication of Coca in Colombia Is Working
By JUAN FORERO


OGOTÁ, Colombia, Sept. 17 - The United Nations said today that
American-financed aerial eradication of Colombia's vast coca fields is
starting to pay big dividends and released estimates that show the size of
the crop dropping by 32 percent in the first seven months of the year.
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Production of coca - the main ingredient in cocaine - is increasing slightly
in Peru and Bolivia. But the sizable reduction in Colombia's crop means that
for the first time overall coca production in the Andes is dropping at a
rapid pace.
The new estimates from the United Nations Drug Control Program show that
coca fields in Colombia fell to 170,430 acres on July 31 from 251,940 acres
last December. At this rate, the United Nations said, Colombia's coca crop
will be reduced 50 percent by the end of the year.
"The reduction is heavy, and it seems as if it's accelerating," said Klaus
Nyholm, who as chief of the United Nations anti-drug efforts here oversaw
the study. He announced the results this afternoon along with Colombia's
interior minister, Fernando Londoño.
The American Congress is debating whether to provide another $700 million in
aid to Colombia on top of $2.5 billion that Washington has spent since 2000
to eradicate coca and undercut the financing source for Colombia's insurgent
groups.
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