Solving South America’s cocaine problem.

South America is the largest producer of a drug called cocaine. Most of the countries in the region are losing their war against it. Most of the cocaine produced ends up in the United States. Entire regions of Latin America are controlled by drug cartels. These cartels bribe government officials to support the drug trade. In Venezuela, the drug trade is allegedly supported by Nicolas Maduro himself. In most of the places, the government focuses on eliminating drug cartels. This in itself as a standalone measure is ineffective. The major thing to be kept in mind is that farmers growing coca are either forced or growing another crop is economically unviable for them. The solution taken by the government of Colombia to burn the crops of these coca farmers is ridiculous. The families grow coca because for them growing coca provides more money than growing normal crops or even exotic fruits. The problem is that farmers of South America are most of the time isolated as they have their fields deep in the rainforest. They don’t have the required logistics to reach urban markets.  Growing fruits and normal crops is not feasible as these are bulky due to which most of the money earned needs to be used on expensive communication and transportation facilities. Most importantly coca transportation is done by drug cartels. Farmers just have to grow and convert it into a paste. Colombia’s anti-narcotic police destroy the coca production of families who have it as their only source of income. They don’t even provide an alternative. The government doesn’t even relocate them to cities to provide them healthcare, education, etc. This situation leads to farmers growing coca again the following year. Colombia also adopted a crop substitution program that gives every family which decides to destroy its coca production 1 million pesos((247 US Dollars) a month. This program is ineffective and most of the time it doesn’t provide farmers the promised benefits. This situation leads farmers into a financial limbo as they don’t have the financial means to support their families.

Solving this problem is a complicated process. First of all the farmers need to be connected with cities and the government needs to provide logistical support so that alternative crops can be sent to markets. All countries should adopt the crop substitution program similar to Colombia but it should be more accessible and efficient. The families must also be provided basic education and healthcare facilities. The governments must reclaim areas controlled by drug cartels. The major leaders of such organizations must be eliminated. It should be made sure that these drug cartels are not able to control the lives of farmers. As a whole, this problem can only be solved intelligence sharing and a coordinated effort by the countries involved in the drug trade.

3 Comments

  • Well written Ekam! I was keen on knowing the sources of information collected.

    Happy to Read! Looking forward to more posts.

    • Thanks,
      I basically researched about the condition of the people living in the areas affected. For the laws, I used the website of the government.
      For a reality check, I also went on to watch a few small documentaries on the topic.

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