US study says cocaine production remains high in Colombia

Jul 14, 2022, 2:20 AM | Updated: 2:53 pm

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Cocaine production in Colombia remained near record levels in 2021, according to estimates released on Thursday by the White House, raising the stakes for bilateral cooperation between the United States and Colombia’s next administration.

President-elect Gustavo Petro has promised to rethink drug policy in the South American country and prioritize development programs over coca eradication schemes.

In a press release, the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy said that last year Colombia produced approximately 972 tons of cocaine, that are exported mostly to the United States, while 234,000 hectares were planted with coca, the plant used to make the illicit drug.

The figures for cocaine production are slightly lower than in 2020, when the nation produced 994 tons of cocaine and planted 245,000 hectares of coca, according to the White House’s annual study. But cocaine production is still significantly higher than ten years ago, when Colombia produced an estimated 273 tons of the drug.

The White House noted in its statement that Colombia “remains a close ally and partner” of the United States when it comes to tackling cocaine production, and said that last year, Colombia’s armed forces manually eradicated 103,000 hectares of coca and seized more than 750 tons of the drug.

But the partnership will be put to a test later this summer when leftist Petro is inaugurated.

The former guerrilla fighter has been a critic of manual eradication policies that often create conflicts between the Colombian army and farmers in remote areas, who have turned to coca as their main source of income.

During this year’s presidential campaign, Petro said that he wants to boost development programs in isolated areas so that farmers can get legal products to market while they voluntarily eradicate their coca fields. He also said he wants to renegotiate a free trade agreement with the United States which he says has made it harder for some Colombian farmers to sell their crops.

Petro has long criticized U.S. backed efforts to fumigate coca crops using small planes. These programs were suspended in 2015 after studies suggested that the chemical they were using to spray coca crops could be harmful to people and the environment.

The United States has said it wants to continue to work with Petro on a wide range of issues that include security, immigration and climate change. This week, Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council’s director for the Western Hemisphere, said he would visit Colombia to speak with members of the incoming government.

In its statement, the White House also noted that cocaine production remains high in Peru and Bolivia, which are the world’s second and third largest producers of the drug. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24,500 people in the United States died in 2021 from cocaine overdoses, while fentanyl overdoses killed 71,000 people.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

187 Cuban migrants arrested after landing in Florida

MIAMI (AP) — U.S. immigration officials say 187 Cuban migrants have been arrested after landing in the Florida Keys on 10 separate boats over the weekend. Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted images of the small boats without passengers on Twitter. The Miami Herald said a large group […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Mali charges 49 Ivory Coast soldiers detained since July

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A Mali prosecutor says the 49 Ivory Coast soldiers held in Mali since July on accusations of being mercenaries have now been charged with undermining state security. Mali’s prosecutor in the counterterrorism unit gave the update on the soldiers’ situation. Ivory Coast has been demanding the release of the soldiers since […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

5 still critical after car drove through fundraiser crowd

BERWICK, Pa. (AP) — State police say five people remain in critical condition after a car drove through a crowd at a weekend fundraiser for victims of a fatal northeastern Pennsylvania fire earlier this month, killing one woman and injuring 17 other people. Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes, 24, is charged with homicide in the death […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

London’s Heathrow Airport extends passenger cap to October

LONDON (AP) — London’s Heathrow Airport said Monday it will extend its cap on daily passenger numbers until the end of October as part of its efforts to cope with soaring demand for air travel amid staffing shortages. The airport, one of Europe’s busiest, said a maximum of 100,000 travelers can depart each day until […]
1 day ago
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin smiles during the press conference with Minister of Defence ...
Associated Press

Defense secretary Austin positive for COVID for second time

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday he has tested positive for COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms and will quarantine at home. It’s the second time Austin has gotten the coronavirus. In a statement, Austin, 69, said his is fully vaccinated and has received two boosters. He said he’ll quarantine for the next […]
1 day ago
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre during a press conference at Mun...
Associated Press

Germany won’t back call to end Russian tourist visas

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Monday that Berlin would not back several fellow European countries that have called for an EU-wide move to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. The nations backing such a ban say that Russians should not be able to take vacations in Europe while Moscow wages […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
US study says cocaine production remains high in Colombia