Monday, August 26, 2013

FARC Talks and Illicit Drugs

You may not be aware that the FARC has an English-language website dedicated to telling its side of the story and publishing info about its talks with the government, currently taking place in Havana. It is a pretty slick site, and it seems they make a concerted effort to come across as moderate (or as moderate as you can be under the circumstances!). It even references it on Twitter at @FARC_EPeace

Today's "Joint Communiqué #22" focuses on illicit drugs, in which the FARC has been deeply involved without admitting it. Anyway, the two sides agreed to the following three points:

1. Illicit crop substitution programs. Integral development plans with participation of the communities in the design, execution and evaluation of the programs of substitution and environmental recovery of the areas affected by illicit crops.
2. Prevention programs of consumption and public health.
3. Solution to the phenomenon of production, consumption of narcotics.

I know that sensitive talks like this must tread lightly and stay vague, but my first impression was that this didn't sound too different from U.S. policy, especially since they don't seem to rule anything out from the "solution" of #3.

Point #1 is interesting because I have never read about much more than spotty and inconsistent success with crop substitution. However, if local populations are involved in the discussion--and not forced to accept certain crops--and the FARC, not to mention right-wing militia, stops harassing people then maybe it can work better. In this case, the FTA with the United States should come in handy.


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