HomeNewsBriefColombia Peace Process Hampering Drug Interdiction: Brownfield
BRIEF

Colombia Peace Process Hampering Drug Interdiction: Brownfield

COCA / 17 JUN 2016 BY SEAN TJADEN EN

A top US anti-drug official has suggested Colombia's peace process is hindering efforts to combat drug trafficking and production, an indication the US is growing wary over the impact negotiations are having on the explosive growth of coca cultivation in the country.

Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) William Brownfield made the comments on June 16 while testifying before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

"We have to acknowledge that as the peace process and its negotiations have developed over the last four years, one of the elements of Colombian government policy that has not been maintained at its previous level is counter-narcotics and eradication," Brownfield said. 

The Colombian government has been engaged in peace negotiations with rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) in Havana, Cuba since November 2012. According to White House figures, coca production in Colombia rose by 39 percent in 2014 and 42 percent in 2015. 

"It is my view that it should be possible to pursue those negotiations…without having to walk the clock back to where we were eight or nine years ago in terms of drug cultivation and production in Colombia," Brownfield said. "It should be possible to continue to eradicate or have the threat of eradication so that thousands of campesinos [farmers]…don't believe that it's open season on planting as much coca as they might wish."

InSight Crime Analysis

The United States government has been a consistent supporter of Colombia's peace talks. In February 2015, the administration of President Barack Obama appointed Bernard Aronson, US assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs, as a special envoy to the peace process. Earlier this year Secretary of State John Kerry visited Havana to meet with delegations from both the government and the FARC. Obama has also pledged more than $450 million in aid to help Colombia transition from decades of civil conflict to peace. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of FARC Peace

Nonetheless, Brownfield's comments suggest the US government is growing increasingly concerned about how the peace process is contributing to Colombia's rising coca production. This may indicate the US is anxious for the Colombian government to wrap up peace talks so that it can focus more attention on supply-side drug reduction efforts. 

Even if the peace process is successfully completed, the US and Colombian governments will still face major challenges in reducing coca crops. While Colombia has been a key US ally in the regional war on drugs, the Andean nation has recently backed off previous hard-line policies. In May 2015 the Colombian government banned the aerial spraying of coca crops, which for years had been a pillar of the US-backed aid program Plan Colombia. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 25 OCT 2022

Bolivia's cocaine trade is on the up. Originally a coca leaf cultivator, Bolivia has moved to cocaine production.

COLOMBIA / 8 JUN 2021

Repeated attacks on teams recovering stolen lands in Colombia highlight the risks involved in restitution, a little-known process that is…

EX-FARC MAFIA / 13 OCT 2021

On April 23, 2021, two Venezuelan military helicopters landed near the town of La Victoria in the border state of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…