How’s that war on drugs working out?

Updated: We’ll have some of the same in Mexico. Good luck with that.

In 2000, Plan Colombia’s cost of 7.5 billion dollars was going to end civil war, revive Colombia’s economy and put drug cultivators and traffickers out of business:

…to restructure and modernize the armed forces and the police, so that they will be able to restore the rule of law and provide security throughout the country, to combat organized crime and armed groups and to protect and promote human rights and international humanitarian law.

And, among other things,

A counter-narcotics strategy, in partnership with other countries involved in some or all of the links of the drug-chain: production, distribution, sale, consumption, asset laundering, precursor chemicals and arms dealing. And, at the national level, to stop the flow of drug-money the fuel of violence — to the insurgent and other armed organizations.

To date, the effort doesn’t look good. Colombia has produced more coca – almost 30 per cent more – than in 1999. All is not lost, though, in the eyes of the White House and its drug czar. (What the hell? I thought Pablo Escobar was a drug czar.) In scenes reminiscent of Viet Nam, planes have decimated an area more than twice that of Rhode Island.

“…the good news, which is almost universally overlooked, is that these fields, which are regularly sprayed, pruned back, and otherwise brutalized, are far less productive that they traditionally have been.”

Production is up, but the plots aren’t as fertile.

I’m heartened by the good news.

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