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Security & Strategic Review - May 2017 (ISSN 1741-4202)

Can Colombia’s coca strategy prevail?

The government led by President Juan Manuel Santos is making a concerted effort to address domestic criticism and international concerns about a surge in coca cultivation in Colombia, especially over the last two years. In the second half of May, Santos and several members of his cabinet, particularly his post-conflict minister, Rafael Pardo, visited a number of communities of coca growers in municipalities formerly deep within the areas of influence of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc). So far more than 80,000 families have committed to coca substitution programmes in exchange for state financing. The government aims to eradicate 50,000 hectares of coca over the next year through its substitution scheme. It is an ambitious objective, complicated by the growing presence of illegal armed groups filling the void left by the Farc.

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