U.S. Spending Billions, But Coca Crop Grows

The U.S. continues to spend billions of dollars to fight the war on drugs overseas. Unfortunately, across the Andean region, the size of the coca crop keeps increasing.

By Juan Forero and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
COROICO, Bolivia — Benito Cocarico admits that some of the coca leaves he grows to sell as tea and a traditional pick-me-up are channeled off into the broad stream of the global cocaine trade. But as he trudges on the muddy trails of his farm, located in a region where the raw material for the drug grows on narrow terraces, he explains how central the crop is to his family’s well-being.
“The prices of oranges, mandarins, coffee and other products are too low, and they do not give you enough to survive,” said Cocarico, 50, adding that he plans to double the size of his coca crop. “So we are obligated to plant coca.”
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