Washington — Steadily increasing cooperation among nations led to “significant successes” in reducing international drug trafficking and criminal activity in 2005, the U.S. State Department declared in releasing the 2006 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) March 1.
However, included in the report:
- Bolivia: “Overall coca cultivation increased 8 percent from 2004 to 2005, to 26,500 hectares.”
- Peru: “The USG estimates there are 38,000 hectares of coca cultivation in Peru, including 4,000 hectares in new areas.” This represents a stunning 38 percent increase from 2004 to 2005. The combined one-year increase in Peru and Bolivia was 12,400 hectares, or 24 percent.
- Ecuador: “Ecuadorian security forces located and destroyed about 36,160 cultivated coca plants in small, scattered sites in 2005. While not commercially significant, the extent of cultivation was about double that of 2004. Together with the discovery of a small, partially harvested opium poppy plantation, they suggest that growers are testing the feasibility of drug crop cultivation in Ecuador.”
Colombia’s coca-cultivation estimate for 2005 has not yet been made public, and probably will not be for a few more weeks. If it ends up revealing that eradication failed to reduce coca cultivation in Colombia last year — as was the case in 2004 — then official U.S. statistics will show a 7.5 percent increase in coca cultivation throughout the Andean region.
Such a result would be a stark admission of failure, since Washington has spent more than $6 billion on counter-narcotics in the Andes since :”Plan Colombia” began in 2000.