Eradication vs. Legal Coca: Colombia and Bolivia’s Disparate Drug Policies

Soldiers uproot coca shrubs as part of a manual eradication operation in San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia, March 22, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).
Soldiers uproot coca shrubs as part of a manual eradication operation in San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia, March 22, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

At his inauguration ceremony a year ago, Colombian President Ivan Duque promised a forceful crackdown on drug trafficking, especially cocaine, through “the eradication and substitution of illegal crops.” Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, he is now pushing to restart aerial spraying of coca plantations using the herbicide glyphosate, which is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, in nearby Bolivia, President Evo Morales has taken a different route, expanding legal coca cultivation while relying only on domestic law enforcement agencies to tackle drug trafficking. This coca policy will be one of many issues on […]

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