The FARC have laid out their anti-narcotics plan. Adam Isacson, a drug policy expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, said the drug policies of the Colombian government and the FARC are somewhat similar.
The FARC ask for:
** Rural development programs that encourage farmers to replace coca leaf, poppy and marijuana with legal crops.
Yes! One model of rural development could be the Forest Warden Families Program in which jobs are created to preserve natural resources and protect the environment. Per se, encouraging reforestation, or providing loans for ecological lodges or for farmers to produce banana, cacao, coffee, palm oil or rubber and building the necessary infrastructure for the farmers to get the produce to market. But keep in mind that it is five times more expensive to transport a container from a Colombian port than from Hong Kong.
** Recognition of the medicinal, nutritional, therapeutic, artisanal and cultural uses of the coca leaf, marijuana and the poppy flower.
Of interest: Famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio uses coca leaves in his recipes. Coca leaves were used medicinally in pre-Inca times to treat tooth pain, head-aches, rheumatism, nausea, altitude sickness, and even the pain of child birth.
In the past, the FARC have shot down fumigation airplanes. I ask: Will the FARC contribute to a fund for family members of victims of fumigation who the FARC have killed?
** Demilitarization of drug policy. The FARC memo emphasizes “no imperialist intervention.”
A challenge. In the short-term in Colombia, while there continue to exist illegal groups still funded by illegal drugs, even after a demobilized FARC, it would be difficult for the authorities to differentiate between safeguarding the law and “demilitarization of drug policy.”
** Anti-drug policies that go after the financial structures that support drug dealers and those financially benefited by the drug trade.
Tougher challenge: According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, money flows related to transnational organized crime activities represent about 1.5 percent of global GDP, 70 percent of which is laundered through the financial system. The largest flow of illegal money comes from illicit drugs, accounting for a fifth of all crime proceeds. The gross profits out of cocaine sales (total US$85 billion) were estimated at US$84 billion for the year 2009, compared with about US$1 billion earned by the farmers in the Andean region. Most of the gross profits (retail and wholesale) were generated in North America (US$35 billion) and in West and Central Europe (US$26 billion).
** Treatment of drugs as a public health problem, and decriminalization of drug consumption.
In Colombia, it’s already legal to carry small doses of cocaine and marijuana.