Bloomberg — Colombia will continue to use force to eradicate the illegal crops used to make cocaine in regions where farmers aren’t destroying them voluntarily, President Gustavo Petro said.
Petro’s statement clarifies the new government’s position after the police this week suspended the forced eradication of coca, the raw material for making cocaine, as they waited for guidance.
The government isn’t giving farmers “a green light to plant more coca,” Petro said Thursday, in a post on Twitter. “Where there are no agreements for voluntary crop substitution, forced eradication will proceed.”
In his inaugural address this month, Petro said the war on drugs had caused the death of 1 million Latin Americans, without stemming the flow of cocaine. Petro reiterated his plan to implement substitution programs, whereby farmers are given incentives to grow legal crops.
Colombia had about 143,000 hectares planted with coca last year, enough to produce more than 1,200 tons of cocaine, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Fighting for control of coca-growing regions is one of the main causes of violence in the Andean nation.