June 19, 2008 |
Colombian peasants devoted about 27% more land to growing coca last year, the United Nations reported Wednesday, calling the increase a surprise given the intense efforts to eradicate cocaine's raw ingredient. Estimated cocaine production, however, increased only slightly in Colombia and other Andean nations as cultivation shifted to smaller, less productive plots in more remote locations. About 1,096 tons was produced in 2007, compared with 1,085 tons the year before, according to the U.N.
February 25, 2008 |
Nature photographer Aldo Brando saw a horrible beauty in the destruction visited upon Colombia's national parks by outlaw coca growers. As his helicopter slalomed through a dozen sky-high columns of smoke from fires set by poachers clearing Macarena National Park, Brando saw endless "craters" of lime-green coca. He likened the park's once unbroken carpet of dark green primeval forest, now scarred by roads, fires and illegal chemicals, to "the black-and-white palette of war."
June 5, 2007 |
Despite widespread spraying of defoliants financed by the U.S., total acreage of coca cultivated in Colombia rose 19% in 2006 compared with 2005, according to an annual survey by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The report stresses that much of the gain may be attributed to an expansion of the area included in the survey, which is done by satellite, airplane and on the ground.
February 7, 2006 |
Colombian rebels killed at least seven police officers in their first serious attack against workers ripping out coca plants in Macarena National Park, police said. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, fired a mortar shell at police officers guarding the workers and followed up with fire from assault rifles, an officer said. Hundreds of workers were sent last month to remove the source of cocaine from the park.
January 20, 2006 |
Colombia sent more than 900 workers with shovels into a nature reserve to destroy coca plants grown by Marxist rebels. Police say the eradication campaign is aimed mainly at restoring the Macarena National Park's ecosystem. But President Alvaro Uribe would also like to rob the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, of cocaine sales, one of its main sources of revenue. He ordered the eradication after guerrillas killed 29 soldiers in the area last month.
October 3, 2005 |
U.S. Ambassador William B. Wood urged Colombia to spray weedkiller in the country's nature parks to destroy coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived. He said the chemicals would not cause widespread damage to the reserves' ecosystems. Harried by eradication campaigns elsewhere, drug traffickers have in recent years streamed into the parks, where spraying is banned. There, they have torn down thousands of acres of virgin rainforest to plant coca.