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June 2007
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ONDCP doublespeak

Your tax dollars at work. Decades of taxpayer money spent, poor farmers’ lives ruined, excessive violence… And drug war success in Colombia is measured this way

The results of the 2006 U.S. Government survey of cultivation in Colombia indicate that statistically there was no change in the amount of coca being grown between 2005 and 2006. The 2006 coca cultivation estimate is subject to a 90 percent confidence interval of between 125,800 and 179,500 hectares. The 90 percent confidence interval for the 2005 estimate was between 127,800 and 160,800 hectares. The significant overlap between the two years‰ estimates means that it is not possible to infer year-to-year trend information.
The survey estimates that there were 157,200 hectares under cultivation, an increase of 13,000 hectares from the 2005 estimate, subject to the confidence limitations described above. The 2006 area surveyed increased by 19 percent compared with 2005, and almost all of the increase was identified in these newly surveyed areas. Because they had not been previously surveyed, it is not possible to know with certainty if the coca found in these areas is in fact newly planted and had not been producing for a period of time.
Rapid crop reconstitution, a move to smaller plots, and the discovery of previously unsurveyed coca growing areas, have posed major challenges to the techniques and methodologies used to understand Colombia‰s coca cultivation and cocaine output. After losing one-third of the estimated coca cultivation to herbicidal spraying between 2001 and 2004, traffickers and growers implemented the widespread use of techniques such as radical pruning and replanting from seedlings. Such countermeasures result in crops that are initially unproductive or significantly less productive than mature fields. Yet, when surveying a field, it is impossible to know with certainty whether it is a mature, productive field, or a field which has been sprayed with glyphosate, and then pruned or replanted. […]

Translation from ONDCP-speak: We’re sure that the drug war in Colombia is a huge success, even though the facts say otherwise. And it’s not our fault anyway, because the drug traffickers aren’t cooperating with us. But we can solve the problem if we do more of the same.
It really burns me up that these people actually get a paycheck from us.

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