Colombia has eradicated almost 40,000 hectares of coca crops since a peace deal with the now-demobilized Marxist FARC guerrilla group came into effect, the country’s vice-president said Monday.
According to General Oscar Naranjo, his American counterpart Mike Pence was informed on “advances in coca reduction. There are 39 thousand hectares less between plans for eradication and crop substitution.”
— General Naranjo (@Gr_Naranjo) August 14, 2017
Pence started a two-day official visit to Colombia on Sunday as part of a larger Latin American tour that has been overshadowed about regional tensions with the US after President Donald Trump threatened with military intervention with the US.
In a press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Pence expressed his concern about growing coca production in Colombia.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Colombia had a total of 146,000 hectares of coca, the basic ingredient for cocaine, in 2016.
The amount of cocaine produced in Colombia reached its highest level since the beginning of “Plan Colombia,” a failed $10 billion bilateral strategy from 1999 to reduce drug trafficking to the US, by far the world’s largest cocaine consumption market.
In spite of all this progress, our greatest concern, as President Trump discussed with you at the White House — and we discussed again today — is the dramatic increase in cocaine production, which has now reached an all-time high in Colombia. This worsening crisis requires swift action to protect the people of both our countries.
US Vice-President Mike Pence
Caracol Radio reported that since a peace was signed with the FARC on December 1 last year, 27,000 hectares of coca have been forcibly eradicated and 12,000 hectares have been removed as part of a voluntary crop substitution plan that is part of the peace process.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos seeks to eradicate of 100,000 hectares of the illicit crop together with the United Nations and to a lesser extent the US.