Colombia: June 10, 2004

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The government crop spraying program, which identifies coca crops from the air and then sends in aircraft to spray the coca plants with herbicide, has cut coca (and cocaine) product 21 percent last year. The coca growers have responded by using small plots in more widely dispersed areas. This increases the cost of growing coca, but the profits are so high, the additional cost can easily be absorbed. The poor farmers are the major victims of all this. The rebel groups, founded on the promise of land for the poor, have instead become the real landlords in the territory their gunmen control. Any farmer who crosses FARC ends up dead.

 

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