HomeNewsBriefBrownfield Gives Glimpse Into US View Of Colombia Drug Trafficking
BRIEF

Brownfield Gives Glimpse Into US View Of Colombia Drug Trafficking

COLOMBIA / 3 NOV 2015 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

A recent interview with William Brownfield provides an insight into how the United States views the current state of drug trafficking in Colombia, and the potential future of its criminal landscape in the midst of political change.

In conversation with Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Brownfield revealed that despite a 50 percent drop in US cocaine consumption over the last eight years, the country has been experiencing a renewed rise in cocaine usage. Brownfield highlighted the fact that this trend — which possibly began two years ago — is occurring in “synchronization” with Colombia’s increasing cultivation and production of the drug. The US official added that the South American nation should be seeing a further rise in cultivation in 2015.

The US official emphasized that Colombia is living through a period of complicated changes, namely the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the decision of the Colombian government to halt coca spraying with glyphosate. According to Brownfield, both factors require a rethinking of anti-drug policies in both Colombia and the United States. He suggested that the loss of coca spraying could be resolved through manual eradication, more sophisticated scientific and political strategies, and more collaboration in region.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Drug Policy

Brownfield briefly added that the vast majority of Colombian drugs pass through neighboring Venezuela, proposing that drug traffickers see the route as being the cheapest and most efficient.

InSight Crime Analysis

Brownfield’s claims that cocaine consumption is increasing in the United States is a new development that could shed light on Colombia’s 44 percent spike in coca cultivation in 2014. InSight Crime coincides with Brownfield’s predictions that 2015 will see a further increase (of up to 50 percent) in cocaine production. While there have been various hypotheses surrounding this jump, a growing demand up north could certainly be tied to Colombia’s increased supply. However, it is important to keep in mind that the imminent peace deal could actually be behind the intensity of this rise, as the FARC can use higher production as political leverage and a financial safety net.

SEE ALSOColombia News and Profiles

The US official may have a point about the need for an alternative to aerial fumigation if the government wants to keep coca cultivation under control. However, merely focusing on manual eradication is unlikely to make a significant dent on overall drug production, and is furthermore made increasingly difficult by FARC booby traps and community protests.

The passing comment Brownfield made regarding Venezuela complements estimates that around 200 tons of cocaine are smuggled in from Colombia every year. But while Colombian neo-paramilitary and FARC groups are certainly involved, some drug trafficking in the region is handled by Venezuela’s own “Cartel of the Suns,” believed to be controlled by high-ranking military officers.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

CIACS / 2 JUN 2017

In our June 1 Facebook Live, co-directors Steven Dudley and Jeremy McDermott spoke about InSight Crime’s special investigation…

COLOMBIA / 4 SEP 2018

The FARC political party appears in disarray as it celebrates its first birthday, and the internal fracture rocking the political…

COLOMBIA / 26 MAY 2011

Colombia has announced a new security plan which aims to wipe out guerrilla groups and emerging drug gangs by 2014.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…