Colombia laments lack of progress in war on
YahooNews, September 21, 2006
(Reuters) - Colombia has made painfully little
progress in its war against illegal drugs
despite all its efforts and the country needs
more support from the international community to
succeed, President Alvaro Uribe said on
With $3 billion
in U.S. help, the Colombian government is trying
to eradicate fields where peasants are growing
coca, the plant from which cocaine is made.
Despite this, the
said in June that coca cultivation in Colombia
rose eight percent in 2005.
profits from cocaine buy many of the weapons
used by Marxist rebels and far-right
paramilitaries fighting in a war which has
dragged on for more than 40 years. Thousands of
people are killed or forced from their homes
"In the fight
against illicit drugs I express with anguish
that progress has been small when compared to
the sacrifice made by the people of Colombia and
the willingness of the government to eradicate
(coca plants)," Uribe told the U.N. General
"The efforts made
in the numbers of extradited citizens, the
confiscation and sprayed areas as enormous, but
the results are not proportional," he said.
Since 2000 the
Colombian government has almost halved coca
cultivation through a campaign that relies on
spraying of herbicides to kill the crop as well
as on law enforcement.
Despite this the
country still accounts for 70 percent of global
cocaine production of 910 tonnes, in part
because coca farmers are becoming more
Uribe said his
government needed more money to compensate
peasants who had switched from coca to other
"I ask the world
- why is there not less rhetoric and more
effective commitment so that Columbia ... may
finally and definitively overcome the scourge of
coca?" he said.
"We are willing
to revise our strategy, to improve it, but we
need the entire world to get involved with us."