Illegal Drug Trade In Colombia: The Problem Persists
Colombia has a long history of violence within the country, with most of the violence relate in some way to the illegal drug trade. In the past Colombia mainly grew and exported marijuana, but more recently has transferred their trade to the processing and shipping of cocaine and heroin. Rebel groups such as FARC use the drug trade to fund their associations, which not only causes drug violence, but also weaken the Colombian government. Furthermore, the countries receiving the drugs are seriously affected as well. It is reported that 80% of the world’s cocaine comes from Colombia, resulting in violence worldwide.
The Colombian government has been working to suppress the cocaine barons since the 80s, but Colombia's history of an unstable government is making it difficult to get them under control, which often leads to violence. By 1994, the campaign started to die down. The government was starting to be suspected of corruption and drug deals, and by 1997 the Left wing guerillas and right wing paramilitary groups had destabilized the government to the point where the guerillas were controlling more than half of the country.
Nearly half of the Colombian population lives in poverty due to the weak government and economic system resulting from the violence and drug trade. Currently, Plan Colombia implemented by the United States is providing millions of dollars worth of military aid in order to combat FARC. In addition, they are supporting frequent sprayings of herbacides over jungles to prevent drug cultivation, however, there is speculation that this is ruining crops and causing families to starve.
Photo: Image by Flickr user pattoncito, used under a Creative Commons license.