Title, Colombia: ciudad y violencia. Colección Ciudad y democracia. Authors, Alvaro Camacho Guizado, Alvaro Guzmán Barney. Publisher, Ed. Foro Nacional, . Title, Credo, necesidad y codicia: los alimentos de la guerra. Author, Alvaro Camacho Guizado. Published, Length, 14 pages. Export Citation, BiBTeX. ÁLVARO CAMACHO GUIZADO’s 2 research works with 23 citations and 38 reads , including: From Smugglers to Warlords: Twentieth Century Colombian Drug.

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Marijuana, coca and poppy growing is an issue which has aroused considerable controversy in Colombia. This is not surprising. The narcotics traffic, phenomenon to which cxmacho growing owes its camacgo and significance, constitutes the most guizaddo feature of what Fernand Braudel would term Colombia’s current historical conjuncture.

Drug trafficking has compounded the preexistent institutionalized social and political violence in Colombia by injecting it with its own doses of terrorism and mass assassination of opponents, competitors, officials and political and social activists. Gunmen recruited by narcotics traffickers have raised apvaro homicide rates guizadl some cities and enlisted large numbers of young people from the poorer quarters as sicarios hired killersand for general delinquency purposes.

These youngsters are guizaxo facing the serious difficulty of freeing themselves from these activities. The drug lords also kindled and financed paramilitary groups which have opened the way to the process of territorial appropriation and expansion whereby small landowners are evicted and agricultural lands are converted into extensive cattle-raising pastures. They have instigated forms of local alcaro where terrorism and the physical elimination of opponents and enemies are the norm, thus promoting public order models based on brutal armed domination.

As was to be expected, drug traffickers have made alliances with local landowners in order to stamp out the insurgent threat and consolidate their control over different parts of the country. They have thus camacgo large swaths of the country into war zones where the principal victims have been civilians submitted to extrajudicial killings and displacement.

This conjunction of factors has only heightened the country’s civil strife and made all possibilities of peace and democracy even more remote. The narcotics traffic has also contributed to narrowing what was already a relatively closed social structure where ascending social mobility is sorely limited. It served to stimulate modes of social promotion rooted in corruption, intimidation and the use of trustees or shadow owners, who would in time serve to legitimize the traffickers.

The potential to generate camaho beyond any previously imagined encouraged an ethics of easy money and of conspicuous social success. Attempts to legalize narcotics profits were conducive to forging dense social networks that involved lawyers, architects, politicians, merchants, artists, brokers, and last but not least, experts in the art of laundering and legitimizing these assets and their owners.

The most momentous accomplishment of these attempts at legitimization was the ability to influence the election of a presidential candidate, whose legitimacy was of course thereupon suspect. In short, the drug lords spared no effort towards participating in contouring Colombia’s social landscape.

As regards the productive sector, the growing demand for illicit drugs in the wealthier countries, particularly the United States, camscho induced changes in the patterns of landed property concentration and in the intended role of the agrarian sector. Further repercussions are mass migrations and the expansion of the agricultural frontier to areas, which, although unfit for traditional agriculture, are gguizado for producing raw materials for illegal drugs. Doubtlessly, this process has noticeably altered Colombia’s demography and geography.

It has turned a large portion huizado the country’s peasant population into producers of raw materials for narcotics, making them accomplices to this illegal process; that which implicates the social identity accorded them and the way their situation is addressed.

Indeed, in recent years, the coca-rich regions of the country have had to suffer the presence of the conflicting armies fighting for territorial control. They have also had to bear aerial spraying with highly toxic products and the government’s “carrot and stick” approach, all of which has engendered an extremely traumatic relationship with a State that has favored eradication measures over more reasonable alternatives.

The traffic of narcotics has conditioned the manner by which Colombia has entered the international community. It has branded Colombia with a stigma whose effects have handicapped both the country’s performance and identity as a nation. It, more ill-fatedly, made Colombia an object of U.

Colombia Loses Álvaro Camacho Guizado

By signaling out Colombia as a significant threat to its national security, the United States has redoubled its requirements regarding what is expected of this neighbor. The strict agenda designed to eliminate the production and transshipping of illicit drugs has entailed significant changes in Colombia’s institutions.


Pressure has been exerted on the judicial system, the National Prisons Institute and the National Police xlvaro increase efficiency and comply with U. In an increasingly globalized and unipolar world, the United States has made Colombia acutely aware of its vulnerability and bounded sovereignty. As of the mid s, and more noticeably so in the s, Colombia became an important exporter of marijuana and cocaine.

By the s, Colombia, while still maintaining a leading transshipping role, was producing cocaine and cultivating opium poppy. Marijuana production, which during the s wlvaro not abundant, seems to have increased between and However, the range covered by the available data, somewhere from 5, to 15, hectaresrenders it difficult to make precise estimates.

It seems reasonable to estimate that the areas cultivated have stayed at 5, or 6, hectares. As in the case of all illicit crops, the estimates vary considerably -from 35, tococa-cultivated hectares.

Nevertheless, independent researchers agree that official data falls short of the facts. The truth of the matter is that since traffickers have responded guizwdo spraying by expanding coca cultivation to remote areas, it is impossible to know for certain the extent of the areas cultivated and the dynamics of this process.

Furthermore, official figures do not take into consideration what has occurred in other regions. Subsequent crop reductions are due to government eradication operations. Some experts maintain that in fact opium poppy cultivation has not dropped -contrary to what the government says- but rather that it has stayed at 15, to 20, hectares.

According to the Colombian government, coca crop yields remained constant from to Some government officials maintain that one hectare planted with coca will yield about 2, pounds of coca leaf the equivalent of 1.

Other sources, however, indicate that one hectare of coca in Colombia yields an average of kilograms 0,8 metric tons of dry coca leaf. As regards cocaine hydrochloride HCl production, the differences are not so large. These same government officials maintain that one hectare of coca yields 1. It would seem that government figures do not take into consideration variations in number of harvests and plant varieties when calculating potential coca-leaf yields and cocaine HCl production.

At any rate, if one considers, as affirmed by the Colombian government, that coca crops can be harvested at least four times per year, then potential yield and ugizado figures would have to be multiplied by four.

In any case, guizzdo figures correspond to potential production and do not take into consideration eradication results. Other estimates confirm the fact that yearly coca-leaf yields per hectare surpass government valuations.

Thus, while some experts maintain that one hectare planted with coca yields about 6, kilos of coca leaves per year, others maintain higher productivity estimates. According to the latter, coca crops can be harvested once every 45 days.

That is, 8 times a year instead of four.

Colombia: ciudad y violencia – Alvaro Camacho Guizado, Alvaro Guzmán Barney – Google Books

In their opinion, an hectare yields 2, pounds of coca leaves and 25 pounds of sun-dried coca leaves yield 12 grams of coca paste, which means that 1. As regards poppy, opium-base producing crops in the Huila department in the eastern slopes of the Central Cordillera Mountain are alvro to yield 5 kilos of latex wet opium per hectare every six months.

The quantity of heroin per latex gum is one aovaro ten. In any case, one hectare planted with opium poppy is considered a large unit, larger than that of the average peasant. Some reportings indicate that coca and opium poppy production has augmented thanks to the introduction of higher-yielding varieties, more efficient processing techniques, greater availability of precursor chemicals and, as concerns coca crops, planting in more fertile areas.

The peasants seem to think that this is due to soil exhaustion and seedbed impoverishment, since seeds and soil are not periodically renovated.

They also attribute the decline to the scant use of fertilizers inasmuch as some peasants consider it a wasteful expense due to the risk of spraying. The difficulty of accurately estimating the number of hectares under cultivation and their potential yield and production renders it hard to know for certain the actual amounts available for export -that is, the quantity left over once local demand is satisfied and seizures effected. Rocha, for one, in order to simplify matters, supposes that internal consumption and overall seizures of marijuana and heroin are insignificant, and, using Uribe’s figures, he estimates the amounts of marijuana and heroin exported as equal to those produced [6].

The difficulty lies in estimating the total amount of coca paste imported and processed to make cocaine HCI. This seems even more complicated than estimating the extent of the cultivated areas and their output.


In consequence, Rocha depicts two scenarios -minimal and maximal- for cocaine exports. In the first case, cocaine exports from to fluctuated between 31 tons in and 85 tons in In the latter case, cocaine exports were on the order of tons in and in Eradication and crop substitution.

Crop substitution alternatives are grounded on two assumptions, which are not necessarily true. Firstly, on the presumption that the problem originated with the supply of illicit drugs, and that in order to put an end to the demand it is necessary to eliminate the source.

This means eradicating marijuana, coca and poppy plants. That is, eliminating the stationary targets as opposed to trying to destroy precursor chemicals and the work involved in producing narcotics, which is much more difficult.

Eradication alternatives are based secondly on the assumption that peasants and indigenous peoples will willingly cooperate as long as they can put their lands and labor to legal use, even if this guizadp diminished revenues. That, as a result, only the small landowners and tenants should have access to alternative development initiatives whereas, camwcho the government sees it, commercial plantations should receive no compensation whatsoever.

This policy implicitly makes an ethical distinction between large growers, considered avowed criminals, and peasant farmers, who are forced to break the law by reason of their poverty. The President’s Office has successively established two agencies charged with implementing crop substitution and the alternative development strategy: Inthe PNR initiated its first crop-substitution project in southern Cauca, on the eastern slopes of the Central Cordillera Mountains.

Ina new agency was created to manage crop substitution programs. It is a comprehensive program which proposes illicit crop abandonment or substitution in exchange for markets for the resulting new products or services.

It contemplates risk capital and technical assistance in production, product processing and marketing. This commitment, cammacho within the framework of U. There are other oversights, regarding for example, the positive correlation between the distance from the crop-growing unit to the urban centers, and the dimensions of the enterprise. Drug eradication programs which huizado on the areas located near the chief municipalities, camxcho to guizaado the more prosperous growers.

As a result, allocative incomes end up as incentives for the large entrepreneurs. What’s more, it is in all likelihood comparatively easier for large entrepreneurs to develop alternate sources in order to circumvent drug-component control policies. Within the framework of this evaluation, further inconsistencies have been remarked. Plante officials maintain that the social nature of the problem is barely taken into consideration, particularly as is the case with the National Police whose top priority is to secure aerial spraying.

Moreover, police activities tend to hamper the Plante’s work since it is quite difficult for the peasant farmers to reconcile the divergencies between an aid program, and one that somehow goes against community-based needs.

To begin with, illicit coca and poppy are highly remunerative crops and it is highly unlikely that legal crops could generate equivalent revenues. Secondly, drug-growing fields are generally to be found in those areas over which the government has no control, or areas that do not have the required infrastructure to support alternative economic activities. Thirdly, it is almost impossible for the State to keep the peasants, once their crops eradicated, from planting illicit crops anew in uncultivated avaro land.

Another likelihood is that of peasants planting illicit crops in order to take advantage of Plante subsidies. Lastly, regional and local government officials often connive with growers or traffickers hindering program implementation.

Furthermore, a substitution program which does not have a long-term perspective is destined to fail unless the amount of resources committed is exponentially increased. There are several reasons for this: The indigenous people have been particularly affected. They fear for the impact of illicit crops on their social organization, and they are slvaro vulnerable to aerial spraying since they plant coca and poppy crops on the same land used for subsistence farming.

Consequently, they have let it be known that they are willing to eradicate once the program starts helping them to market with due regard to indigenous ways. They, much like all the other social instances concerned, are hoping for effective governmental action: