Friday, March 02, 2007

INCSR Report for 2007

The U.S. State Department just released the 2007 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. One inescapable conclusion is that we are not winning the drug war.

It has some kind words for Colombia, but then an examination of the data itself shows that coca cultivation (144,000 hectares in 2005, the last year they have data) is tied for the highest of any year going back to at least 1991.

Bolivia also gets pretty good treatment, emphasizing cooperation, though skepticism shows through (“although the President did not find in his September 15, 2006 Majors List Report to Congress that Bolivia had failed demonstrably in counternarcotics cooperation, he requested that an evaluation be conducted in six months to gauge the GOB's progress on counternarcotics efforts”). Incidentally, net cultivation in Bolivia has remained steady, though it is down considerably since the mid-late 1990s.

Now on to Venezuela, where no holds are barred. The report on Venezuela begins with:

Counternarcotics successes in Colombia are causing a shift in trafficking patterns toward neighboring countries like Venezuela, whose geography, rampant high level corruption, weak judicial system and lack of international counternarcotics cooperation are increasingly enabling a growing illicit drug transshipment industry.

I really don’t know the degree to which Venezuela is enabling drug trafficking. What stood out for me, though, was the idea that we continue to believe there are “counternarcotic successes in Colombia” when this same report says that Colombian coca production is way up.


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