President Juan Manuel Santos backed up U.S. claims Monday that Colombia was no longer the world’s leading producer of cocaine.
In a speech praising the Defense Ministry’s achievements, President Santos said it was “great news” that coca crop cultivation had decreased by 17% between 2010 and 2011 — figures which contrast starkly with United Nations figures published five days ago saying Colombian coca cultivation had gone up by 3% during the same period.
The White House’s drug policy chief Gil Kerlikowske claimed Monday that Colombian cocaine production had 72% since 2001, and Peru and Bolivia had now overtaken Colombia.
“This is a huge breakthrough and we will continue fighting,” said Santos.
According to the presidential statement, the Colombian government has stemmed the flow of drug trafficking money going to criminal groups, who are now increasingly turning to illegal mining and extortion to fund their activities.