Coco Plant branch

Why it should concern us all

Colombia’s Coca Leaf Boom

October 2019, Number 09.04

“Cocaine production is growing again, despite the exhaustive, combined efforts of governments and the investment of billions of dollars into the fight against drug production and trafficking. In 2015, Colombia reported an estimated 140,000-plus hectares (about 346,000 acres) under coca leaf cultivation, similar to the amount registered at the beginning of the 2000s, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). But that was before the United States and Colombia implemented “Plan Colombia” in the 2000s, through which the U.S. invested over $10 billion to tackle, among other things, coca growth.

Colombia is the largest producer of cocaine, the second largest illicit drug consumed in the world, which means what’s happening in Colombia matters to the rest of the world. Cocaine revenues help finance transnational criminal organizations, drug lords and warlords not only in Latin America, but also in Europe, Asia and Africa, according to the book, Africa and the War on Drugs, by Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig. Hence, understanding Colombia is key to cutting the illicit resources of drug trafficking organizations everywhere...”

Excerpt from Laura Diorella Islas Limiñana, “Colombia’s Coca Leaf Boom,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  9, No. 4, 2019: 50-55.

Laura Diorella Islas Limiñana was an adjunct faculty member for the Marshall Center’s 2018 Countering Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) program and attended the center’s CTOC programs in 2015 and 2017 and the center’s Program on Applied Security Studies in 2017. She is a member of the steering committee of the Standing Group on Organised Crime of the European Consortium for Political Research. Her area of expertise has been focused on the transnationalization process of drug trafficking organizations.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.