Uribe´s Party wins congressional elections and Plan Colombia gets big results: decline in coca cultivation and less cocaine production.
Election of Colombian Congress. President Alvaro Uribe exercising the right to vote. During his Presidency, Colombia has achieved many goals like reducing drugs trafficking and national stability.
The “U” Party , the political party of President Alvaro Uribe and his presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos won yesterday the congressional elections, in anticipation of a good presidential campaign for Santos. Current President Uribe can no be reelected for a third term, and therefore can not candidate.
But these are not the only good news for President Uribe. He is also winning the colombian war on drugs.
Days ago, the State Department released the annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), whose country report on Colombia estimated a large decline of 29% in coca cultivation and cocaine production potential in 2008 (compared to 2007), from 176,000 hectares in 2007 to 119,000 in 2008, says a report of Peter DeShazo of the Center for Strategic & International Studies CSIS.
In regard to cocaine production, both the United States and the UNODC have measured a large decline in pure cocaine production potential since the start of Plan Colombia in 2000. The 2010 INCSR estimates a decline of 39 percent between 2007 and 2008 alone. Likewise, the two sources calculate that there has been a major decline in leaf yield per hectare in Colombia as a result of eradication. The estimated size of the narcotics economy in Colombia has also dropped substantially.
A number of factors are the reason behind these improvments in the counternarcotics situation in Colombia. Over time, the most important has been the ability of the Colombian government to extend effective control over much larger areas of national territory. This denies the drug traffickers and their allies in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group access to land, a rural workforce, precursor chemicals, and trafficking routes. Other factors include aerial and manual eradication efforts against coca, the latter being increasingly prevalent, as well as improved law enforcement. The U.S. role in helping Colombia deal with the threat posed by narcotics has been very positive.
However, Colombia remains the largest producer of coca leaf and cocaine in the world, and drug trafficking constitutes a serious challenge. However, the threat to national stability posed by drugs are lower, reducing it to a law enforcement dimension. In spite of that, Colombia must continue the process of consolidating state control over more areas of the country and invest in counternarcotics efforts to avoid backsliding.
The author of this report is Mr. Peter DeShazo, Director of the Americas Program at CSIS. Before joining CSIS in 2004, Mr. DeShazo was a member of the career U.S. senior foreign service, serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs and deputy U.S. permanent representative to the Organization of American States.
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