Colombia: Government Cracks Down on Peasant Coca Farmers

By Felipe Vera

Over the past month, the reactionary Colombian state has cracked down on peasants in their efforts to eradicate coca farming. One young peasant was killed in Norte de Santander, and in Caquetá peasants were shot at by the armed forces. In Tarazá and Valdivia, Antioquia, peasants confronted the military, armed only with sticks and rage in order to defend their only means of living.

Peasants who produce coca only receive about 0.04% of the value at which cocaine is sold, being subjected to immense poverty and exploitation. Under the pretext of the “war on drugs,” it is primarily peasants who have faced the brunt of state repression. Over the past few months, Colombian President and lackey of US imperialism Iván Duque has pushed for bringing back the aerial eradication program which would spray massive quantities of herbicides known to cause cancer.

Although the Colombian state has declared it will attempt to eradicate 50% of coca cultivation and cocaine production by 2023, many areas where production takes place are left untouched. Living under the thumb of US imperialism, the farmers often have no other option than to cultivate cash crops fueled by the US demand for drugs. The government crop substitution program has proven to be a farce as many peasants have not received any subsidies or even alternative projects to work on.

The Colombian revolutionary news source El Comunero Prensa states, “The resounding failure of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ to end drug trafficking in the last two decades, led by the United States and specified in Colombia as ‘Plan Colombia;’ and the successes achieved to strengthen, arm, and train the armed forces, paramilitarism (also financed by drug trafficking), striking the guerrillas, and strengthening national submission with free trade agreements and increased Yankee foreign investment in Colombia, show the true interests behind this alleged fight against drug trafficking.”