Cocaine Production in Columbia
Columbia is the largest coca producing country in the world. Over 70% of our nation’s cocaine is produced and manufactured in Columbia (“battles won” 1). The cocaine production in Columbia is different than the rest of the Andean countries because it is grown on plots of land that are gigantic, whereas in Peru and Bolivia coca is grown on small plots of land. Cocaine producing plants are poor farmer’s biggest cash crop. Battles are fought every day between the government and farmers over thousands of acres that produce the raw material for cocaine. In the region that most of these farmers live the growing of coca and the transformation to cocaine is the largest and only functioning industry. It is a reliable income that has brought money into the country’s economy for over forty years (“a crop” 1). For many of these farmers, coca is the only plant that can bring enough money to their family for survival. Coffee, sugar, and bananas have been a major export for farmers in the past but a worldwide over-production has lead the farmers to producing fields of cocoa bushes. The lone functioning governments in parts of Columbia are leftist guerrillas. In these areas order is maintained by FARC, which is the countries largest rebel army.
The Columbian governments have put laws into place since the 1990’s to cut down on drug trafficking. “A legal structure has been in place that encourages traffickers to surrender and collaborate with the authorities in return for judicial leniency”(Clawson 90). The drug trafficking in Columbia is causing many problems for Columbian and United States governments. These drug traffickers earn billions of dollars every year selling cocaine to Europe and the United States.
The use of the coca plant has been a major way of life for indigenous people for thousands of years. Before coca was mainly used to produce cocaine, it was used by laborers as a mild narcotic to suppress hunger and give energy. “Some 70 different folk remedies include coca, sometimes in combination with other plants”(Lee 24).
“Cocaine is one of 13 alkaloids produced from the coca leaf, which has been cultivated in South America for at least 2,000 years”(Lee 21). In Columbia it is illegal to grow coca plants unlike Bolivia and Peru but Columbia is still the world’s largest producer of Cocaine. This is credit to drug cartels in Columbia that are run by people like Pablo Escobar, a powerful drug trafficker from the seventies to the nineties. The current day farmers have been cultivating this plant because of its profitability in producing cocaine. A field of plants can be harvested from three to six times a year. “Cocaine is not hard to make”(Lee 30). It is the trafficking to other countries that is risky. Columbia in the past, “to a greater or lesser extent, is economically dependent on the cocaine industry. The industry is not by any means the most effective source of revenue the economy; in fact, the wealth that it...