Without U.S. Aid, Cocaine Production Might Have Increased Even More


A new report (PDF) on Plan Colombia from the Government Accountability Office concludes that "drug reduction goals were not fully met." That's a pretty generous way of looking at it. As the GAO notes, one of the $6 billion aid program's two main goals when it was launched in 1999 was to "reduce the production of illicit drugs (primarily cocaine) by 50 percent in 6 years." Instead "coca cultivation and cocaine production levels increased by about 15 and 4 percent, respectively." On the brighter side, "opium poppy cultivation and heroin production declined about 50 percent." Hence the current worldwide heroin shortage.

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  1. [smashes face into monitor]

  2. A program is failing? That just means we need to spend more on it.

    If it ever starts succeeding, of course, that means it deserves more funding.

    The problem with drugs is that they feel good. The problem with drug trafficking is that people like making money. If we address either of these fundamental human qualities, we can win. All it takes is a little faith, a little hope, and a good fraction of our population in prison.

  3. Who says government subsidies never work?

  4. Cocaine is a terrible crop.

  5. i feel bad when i have unproductive days, but if i had 6 years of negative productivity i think i would quit.

    alas i don’t work for the government.

  6. Jacob Sullum,

    What does Obama think of Plan Columbia?

  7. If government subsidies are needed to provide me with high quality blow – then you can call me a welfare queen.

  8. What does Obama think of Plan Columbia?

    Does it hurt or help Hugo Chavez?

  9. Definetly a case of not enough money being “blown” on blow. Damnit man when will you all realize that just a few more dollars can make all the difference!!! Or not.

  10. Sounds like a stunning success to me. The trick is to remember the real goals of drug policy: expand gov’t authority and spending, give politicians a free lunch issue to look tough on crime and, as a bonus, allow us to temporarily deport the sort of American who wants to do such work to another country.

    Mission accomplished.

  11. What does Obama think of Plan Columbia?

    He picked Biden as his VP.

  12. Episiarch will be pleased by this news. In fact, I choose to believe he is snorting a line of coke right now wrapped in the American flag. God bless America!

  13. How big a source of heroin was Columbia to begin with? Because I gotta be honest – when I think heroin, I think Golden Triangle and Afghanistan.

  14. “i feel bad when i have unproductive days, but if i had 6 years almost a century of negative productivity i think i would quit.”

    There, fixed it for you.

  15. Do you guys really think this CIA plane wasn’t shipping coke? and our government is innocent?


  16. The billion dollars in proposed U.S. aid, Mexican newspapers pointed out, will only be used to target drug traffickers with no obvious ties to American intelligence.

    Leading to this extraordinary skepticism is the fact that recent investigations into downed drug planes have suffered, on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border, from a certain murkiness.

  17. …when I think heroin, I think Golden Triangle and Afghanistan.

    Yeah, well they’ve both done a great job of branding. Papaver grows well in hilly areas with a pronounced winter, so there are a lot of places it’s a good crop. Southern and Southeastern Asia hill areas are most noted, but South America has many places that could fit this description.

    In the 1970’s, one of the biggest producing areas was Mexico.

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