US Marijuana Party

Sunday, May 21, 2006

$4b later, drugs still flow in Colombia

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan
Boston Globe, United States

TUMACO, Colombia -- Six years and $4 billion into the US-backed campaign to wipe out cocaine at its source, Colombia appears to be producing more coca than when the campaign started, according to US government estimates.

As Congress opens debate this month on another $640 million for next year for Washington's most ambitious overseas counternarcotics effort, a growing number of critics say the costly program has neither dented the cocaine trade nor driven down the number of American addicts. Two of the program's major missions -- to dramatically reduce coca growing in Colombia and provide alternative livelihoods for drug farmers -- have fallen far short of hoped-for goals.

Onetime supporters, including some Republican lawmakers who championed the plan at its creation, are now demanding to know why the most expensive US foreign aid program outside the Middle East and Afghanistan is not winning the war on drugs.


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