Colombia’s security forces have had at least twenty-one major clashes with coca farmers in the past year amid claims the government is breaking agreements made with farmers through a new crop substitution program. The clashes threaten the credibility of the United Nations-supported counter-narcotics strategy that seeks to drastically reduce coca cultivation through the voluntary substitution of coca plants, the base ingredient of cocaine, for legal plants such as cocoa, coffee, or banana.
This program was enshrined in a peace agreement with the country’s formerly largest rebel group, the FARC, in an attempt to end more than half a century of armed conflict. At least four people have been killed in violence in the past year that has upset locals in all Colombia’s main coca growing regions.
In the majority of documented clashes between farmers and police, locals claimed they had already signed up with the crop substitution program when police or soldiers arrived to forcibly eradicate their crops.
Read Full Article