Skip to main content
A man holds a Colombian flag after Colombia's government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels reached a final peace deal on Wednesday to end a five-decade war, in Bogota, Colombia, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino
Report

Who pays for peace in Colombia?

Vanda Felbab-Brown

With Colombia voting on Sunday in a referendum on the historic peace deal with the leftist guerrillas known as The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo, FARC), much of the conversation in Colombia has centered on who benefits from the peace. Even as the peace deal provides an unprecedented chance to end a significant element of Colombia’s civil violence that has been going on for decades, many in Colombia feel that the FARC benefits far more than the Colombian people and are ambivalent about the deal. If the referendum does not approve the deal, the costs to Colombia would be significant. The government has no plan B and an unprecedented chance, unlikely to reappear for a long time, will have been missed.

However, even if the referendum passes—as is desirable—a key question that needs to be asked is who pays for Colombia’s peace. That question encompasses both the narrow monetary costs of implementing the various elements of the peace deal, including disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of FARC combatants and rural development, but also the much larger question of the political costs to various Colombian actors. This paper explores these political costs of implementation that will have to be borne by FARC; the Colombian military; Colombia’s rightist politicians and elite and vested interests; internally-displaced people; the cocaleros (coca farmers); and Colombia’s middle class. The analysis also touches on the roles and impacts of various other actors, such as bandas criminales (BACRIM) and militant groups continuing to operate in Colombia, including The National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN). Understanding the costs these actors will face as a result of peace is crucial for understanding the impediments that will emerge to a successful implementation of the deal and mechanisms by which it could be derailed. The time frame of this analysis is projected over some five years.

Even though the Colombian people are being asked to forgive the FARC for many atrocities1 and are ambivalent and dissatisfied with having to make that sacrifice of justice and accountability (just as they were asked to forgive the paramilitaries in a similar deal of 2005)2, the peace deal benefits many. The three-hundred-page very-detailed accord promises enormous social transformation of the long-neglected rural periphery that would make Colombia’s social contract far more equitable.3 This restructuring of the social contract toward greater equity and promised social transformation lies at the core of the “peace” (or reshaped violence) that Colombia will gain from the deal. This transformation is highly desirable, both socially and normatively, but it is also immensely costly and complex and will take decades to accomplish. Its implementation will not be easy and is intimately intertwined with the costs that several crucial Colombian actors will face.

The Monetary Costs

Much of the discussion of the costs of the peace deal has centered on the monetary costs, particularly of the agreed-upon deep restructuring of the rural areas. The government of Colombia has not released its estimates of these costs and will do so only if the referendum approves the peace. These costs are expected to amount to some several GDP percentage points for many years. Some of the elements of the social transformation may already be part of Colombia’s budgetary plans and expectations, thus reducing the total size of the new costs.

A “peace dividend” (i.e., the economic benefits of violence reduction) could further decrease the overall costs—though how large the peace dividend will be could vary substantially. Often a significant element of monetary cost reductions in peace dividends come from reduction in deaths—in active war-fighting and related (as well as unrelated) homicides. These already fell substantially in Colombia several years ago.

Moreover, not all of the deaths in the conflict have been caused by FARC’s activities; many can be attributed to other groups, such as bandas criminales. Unlike many previous Colombian governments, the Santos administration has diligently sought to dismantle these groups, such as the Urabeños, one of the most powerful and destructively-influential of these groups.4 Nonetheless, the Urabeños and many others, such as the Rastrojos and the Aguilas Negras, persist throughout the country, engaging in violence, extortion, and usurpation of public funds and maintain varied portfolios of illicit economies, such as drugs, illegal logging, and mining. To varying degrees, they also aggressively seek political influence.

Another element of the monetary peace dividend could come from a reduction of expenditures on the military services, although that can involve significant political costs, as will be discussed below. Additionally, the financial elements of a peace dividend often come from an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI)—something that Colombia has actively sought to promote. But once again, much of the FDI growth has already materialized and been predominantly linked to the commodity super-boom; and as commodity prices have declined substantially, FDI to Colombia has slowed significantly.5 In fact, the widespread expectation is that the Colombian government will have to substantially cut its budgets as a result of the decline in commodity prices at the wrong time—just as the peace deal mandates large new spending over many years.

U.S. assistance to Colombia under the new Paz Colombia framework,6 amounting to some $450 million (dedicated to DDR, alternative livelihoods, and counternarcotics policies, including eradication, demining, and victims’ reparations), will cover a very small portion of the monetary costs Colombia faces.7 This is appropriate: The Colombian state and society will need to embrace the societal transformation that the peace promises, including by paying for it. But it will not be easy. And the United States needs to make sure that its assistance is not consumed by unwise counternarcotics efforts, such as eradication, which would leave little for social and rural development. One-hundred-and-five million dollars, almost a quarter of the package so far, is being allocated to demining alone, with Norway another significant contributor to the demining effort. In comparison, between FY2000 and 2016, the U.S. Congress appropriated $10 billion to Plan Colombia and its follow-on programs.8

Political and Other Costs

The FARC

One source of Colombian society’s ambivalence about the peace deal is the impression that FARC overwhelmingly benefits from it. Certainly, the FARC leadership seems to have accomplished its goal of avoiding imprisonment. However, the medium- and long-term future for the FARC does not actually look rosy. Although the group will be allowed to participate in politics after its transformation into a political party, its experience with normal organizational and administrative functions is very limited. Yes, historically it has derived performance-based legitimacy from delivering minimal public goods, such as sewage, trash cleanup, clinics, and schools, in areas of its operations, funded with revenues from the illegal drug trade. But if the transformed FARC in fact desists from participating in Colombia’s still flourishing drug trade, it may not have revenues for such economic handouts, and will now presumably compete with the extension of such public goods by the state. The FARC has little other economic, entrepreneurial, and administrative experience or vision. Moreover, over the past decade, most of its performance-based legitimacy has come mostly from protecting the cocaleros against eradication of their coca plots. Again, that too would be diminished if the FARC now assists in extending the state presence to reduce coca crop cultivation, though the modalities of that process, discussed below, could be very complex and could provide the FARC with some sources of performance-based legitimacy.

Will local communities be willing to accept the ex-combatants into their midst and will the ex-combatants be attacked by criminal actors and former paramilitaries and BACRIM?

More likely than not, however, the FARC will struggle to compete effectively in free elections, certainly at the national level but even at the municipio level. Its best chances of having a political future lies in areas of its strong control already in the 22 Transitional Village Zones for Normalization (Zonas Veredales Transitorias de Normalización) and six smaller camps stipulated in the peace agreement where FARC units will temporarily reside for six months after the deal comes into effect. And even then, much of its future political influence may come from tradition, narrative, and outright non-democratic means, rather than performance-based legitimacy.

Apart from reshaping its role as a broker between the government and the cocaleros, the FARC’s best bet to remain a relevant political player could come from positioning itself as bulwark against the extortion and usurpation of public funds by the BACRIM. Such a political role, however, assumes several things: One, that particular FARC frentes (the FARC’s military and administrative units) do not defect to the local BACRIM and merge with them; two, that the Colombian state will be able to protect FARC political and administrative actors from assassination and intimidation by BACRIM well beyond the DDR phase—in fact, for years to come; and three, that the FARC does not adopt the same approach of “politics by extortion” as the BACRIM.

A crucial factor influencing the quality of the peace to unfold in Colombia will be whether the FARC will maintain strong command and control over its middle-level commanders, not just immediately after the deal goes into effect, but also two or three years down the road. The FARC is a tightly hierarchically organized armed group that has not splintered despite repeated hits against its leadership, and despite the fracturing of other armed groups in Colombia. So the chances are less that many of its middle-level commanders will defect and become purely criminal actors or new armed groups cloaked in reinvented ideology than happened in the case of the demobilization of Colombia’s paramilitaries 10 years ago. Moreover, during a recent FARC-wide conference, FARC leaders unanimously approved the peace deal. Seeking to present an acceptable face to Colombian society and encourage a yes vote in the referendum, they pledged to put fighting behind them and embrace a second chance for the group in politics.9

However, the Shining Path in Peru was no less tightly hierarchically organized, and yet two prominent faction leaders—Comrade Artemio and Comrade Alipio—not only split off but also maintained a military fight against the Peruvian state, controlled significant, if remote, physical territory, such as the Monzón district, and were crucial players in Peru’s drug production and trade for another two decades.10 What kind of incentives the middle-level FARC commanders will maintain to uphold the peace deal and operate within its constraint is unclear. If they give up participating in the drug trade, most will likely not enjoy significant economic benefits from the peace nor a successful political career. Whether they will remain anchored in the peace will often depend to a large extent on the strength of their loyalty and obedience to the leadership and perhaps on the comforts of living in peace, as opposed to hiding in jungles and on the run from the Colombian military trying to target them.

Another telling case is the 2009 “peace” deal in Nigeria with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta (MEND). The Nigerian government essentially coopted top MEND leadership by paying them off and allowing them to control a variety of legal and extortion enterprises in areas of their influence. Yet the MEND top leadership was unwilling to share the rents with many of its middle-level commanders, and neither the MEND leadership nor the government devoted adequate resources for DDR or pure cooptation of the 15,000 MEND foot soldiers that were to demobilize.11 Within three years, the “peace” gradually withered. Various forms of violence and criminality returned to the Delta, and new armed groups, such as the Delta Niger Avengers, emerged. In June and July 2016, both the Niger Delta Avengers and the MEND were seeking to negotiate a new peace deal with the government, though with little prospect that irrespective of a new formal deal, much would change substantively on the ground.12

And of course in Colombia, many FARC middle-level commanders, particularly as they struggle economically and politically in civilian life over time, will face great temptations to return to armed tactics to gain control over Colombia’s many spoils, including the drug trade, gold mining, illegal logging, and land theft, including for the cultivation of legal crops. Already the peace deal negotiations and its prospects have destabilized balances of power and drug turfs among Colombia’s armed actors, including the BACRIM and The National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) with whom the government has not managed to get meaningful peace negotiations going so far. Both sets of actors have been trying to muscle in on the FARC’s territory and will redouble their efforts once the FARC starts handing over its weapons. Even though Mexican drug trafficking groups, such as the Sinaloa Cartel, have had a presence in Colombia for almost a decade, drug production and smuggling within Colombia’s borders is carried out by Colombian actors. Thus there is the possibility that established networks of production and trade could be violently reconstituted after the peace deal. Such violent contestation is already under way and the market could take a long time to stabilize, including in terms of violence. In some areas, defecting FARC units could also take over, merge with, or violently compete with the ELN, not just the BACRIM.

How many FARC foot soldiers similarly succumb to either organized criminal violence or perhaps rejoin other groups will crucially depend on the quality of DDR. The Colombian government has long sought to highlight the effectiveness of its DDR of the paramilitary groups and individual FARC defectors. In fact, and not surprisingly, that program was hardly perfect, with recidivism a significant issue and at least a third of the BACRIM membership originating in the paramilitary groups.13 Among the factors strongly driving recidivism in Colombia have been low educational levels of ex-fighters and hence limited economic opportunities after disarmament as well as the presence of criminal groups nearby14—i.e. of networks facilitating defection and illegal economic opportunities. Both factors will strongly abound in the case of FARC DDR. Moreover, the decision to conduct mass-level DDR of FARC fighters, instead of individually-tailored DDR that was at least formally in practice during the paramilitary process, further augments the likelihood that ex-FARC fighters will not easily find adequate economic opportunities; their other characteristics, such as alienation and a lack of experience in Colombian society, pose another challenge. Many have lived in the jungle the majority of their lives and do not have social or economic skills. Yet in the jungle their life was also intertwined with a sense of self-worth and ideology which they will no longer be able to fall back on after DDR. For many, the best chance of economic employment will be as security guards in parking lots and stores.

Other factors will strongly influence the effectiveness of DDR. Will local communities be willing to accept the ex-combatants into their midst and will the ex-combatants be attacked by criminal actors and former paramilitaries and BACRIM, for example?15 Thus the protection that the Colombian state needs to provide to FARC ex-combatants goes well beyond the protection of their units in the planned demobilization camps and normalization zones during a 180-day process. That protection will need to be provided for years to come, albeit on an individual basis as needed by regular police forces. The reintegration of individual-level FARC defectors often faced the challenge of the defectors being run out of areas with strong paramilitary past and BACRIM presence, such as Medellín, or simply killed by them.16 Often the only protection they could subsequently find was to join an armed or criminal group.

In short, within three to five years, both individual ex-combatants and various middle-level and former frente commanders will face multiple and intense pressures to return to criminality or politically-cloaked violence.

The Colombian Military and Police

The Colombian military will also face substantial costs as a result of the peace. One issue is the justice procedures and punishments its officer corps and individual soldiers will face for war atrocities. In one of the most notorious of these cases—the so-called “false positive” case during the 2000s decade—hundreds, perhaps well over a thousand of innocent people, were killed by Colombian soldiers who claimed their victims were FARC guerrillas. These were not cases of mistaken identity during the fog of war, nor merely the consequence of counterinsurgency forces not being able to distinguish guerrillas from villagers. Many of the victims were purposefully lured off by soldiers to a remote place, often with promises of jobs, murdered and dressed up as guerrillas so the soldiers received vacation and other bonuses.17 Many superior officers knew about and encouraged the murderous deception. Prosecutions for the “false positive” murders have been under way for years before the peace deal. But old and cold cases can be reopened.

Quite apart from justice procedures for past crimes, the Colombian military will likely face substantial budget costs as an institution. It has grown very substantially in terms of active personnel numbers, equipment, capacities, and budgets over the past three decades. For example, only in terms of personnel number, the Colombian military enlarged by a third between 2005 and 2015, from 207,000 soldiers to 296,000.18 Within a few years of peace, Colombian society may not be willing to continue to raise taxes to support the military, and even formerly promised pensions and benefits of individual soldiers may not be met. Will the ex-soldiers with reduced pensions and benefits be tempted to join bandas criminales?

Will the ex-soldiers with reduced pensions and benefits be tempted to join bandas criminales?

Unlike many other militaries in Latin America, Colombia’s military does not have a history of conducting military coup d’états, and such a scenario remains extremely unlikely. However, it is possible to imagine that at least some elements within the military could tacitly support future rightist politicians seeking to legislatively or legally undo the peace. Such attempts to eviscerate, subvert, and void an agreed peace deal with armed rebels have repeatedly and successfully been launched in the Philippines in its peace process with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) during the past decade.19

Apart from the budgetary costs, a transformation of Colombia’s military force posture is likely.20 One reorientation of the Colombian military is supposed to be toward external defense along Colombia’s borders. Much of its border is porous and the Colombian military would be well focused in those areas. Particularly the border with Venezuela, already facilitating drug trafficking and many other sources of smuggling, could become a major source of instability if a collapse of the Venezuelan regime produces vast refugee flows to Colombia, or worse yet, civil strife ensues in Venezuela. Many of Colombia’s remaining armed and criminal groups, have active operations along the border with Venezuela, sometimes de facto controlling its parts. Pushing state presence there and limiting the operations of these groups are the right priority for the Colombian government. But accomplishing that task will be challenging.

To reduce the pain of downsizing the Colombian military and potentially curtailing promised benefits to individual soldiers, the Colombian government is also actively exploring peacekeeping opportunities for Colombia abroad. The United States and Colombia have also actively sought to promote opportunities for Colombian military advisors and intelligence officers in Central America and Mexico, but have often encountered resentment from the governments and militaries of those countries to accept prominent or substantial roles for the Colombian military. Moreover, even if such acceptance grew, the employment and budgetary opportunities for the Colombian military would remain limited.

Peacekeeping promises to keep on the payroll many more Colombian soldiers as well as to enhance the Colombian military’s international institutional prestige. Already, there is an expectation that Colombian soldiers would be deployed to the Congo. The Nepalese military has successfully used peacekeeping as a mechanism of offsetting the costs of the post-2006 peace with the Maoists and even successfully integrated just under 1,500 of former Maoist combatants into its ranks.21 The Nepalese also excel in peacekeeping compared to many other countries which contribute to such endeavors. Throughout Africa, such as in the Central African Republic, there is a great need for peacekeepers. In Somalia, the African Union’s peacekeeping-counterinsurgency force, AMISOM, badly struggles against the radical Islamist militants of al Shabab.22 The counterinsurgency skills and other military capacities that the Colombian forces could bring to the African context are very useful. Nonetheless, the human terrain in the Congo or Somalia is nothing like what the Colombian forces are used to encountering, and the political complexities of peacekeeping, or more precisely active counterinsurgency and combat, are intense.

The Colombian police force has also grown: from 121,000 in 2005 to 159,000 in 2015.23 Robustly extending state presence, developing the long-neglected periphery, and suppressing criminality requires robust law enforcement presence, as well as the right strategy, doctrine, protocols, skillsets, and police professionalization and development. Numbers alone are not enough, but they matter. The presence of large numbers of corrupt and abusive police may undermine peace and development and intensify fragility and violence and criminal resurgence. However, too slim a presence of effective police is equally problematic. In fact, although every Colombian municipality has had some police presence for about a decade, these police deployments are at times too small. Thus the Colombian police may not face the same pressures for downsizing as the military. In fact, there may well be a need to further increase its size.

One possibility is to retrain and re-hat excess Colombian soldiers as policemen. This approach would relieve the costs of downsizing the military and is not rare in Latin America. In much of the region, particularly in Mexico and Central America, military forces have regularly been deployed for policing purposes, and soldiers and commanders have regularly been reposted to or rehired in the police forces. Such an approach, however, comes with severe downsides. Policing skillsets, particularly those needed for good relations with local communities as well as for effective suppression of organized crime, such as hotspot and hot crime policing, are very different than military skills. In the most basic difference, police should be trained to deploy the minimum force feasible and only as last resort while soldiers are often trained to destroy the enemy with lethal force right from the start.

To develop positive relations with local communities and legitimacy, the Colombian police should make an effort to recruit locally, among communities with minimal to nonexistence presence in the police force, among the Afro-Colombian military, and among ex-FARC combatants and sympathizers who pass robust vetting and training programs.

Indeed, particularly rural units of the Colombian police force will require a reorientation toward community policing and protection and away from a de facto paramilitary counterinsurgency mindset. Colombian urban police forces attempted such a transformation several years ago. The National Quadrant Surveillance Plan, commonly referred to as “Plan Cuadrantes,” was adopted in 2010. It was built around community policing to redress the deficiencies and abusive patterns of previous policing in places such as Medellín. It has emphasized permanent unit deployments to communities, tasked individual police officers with getting to know the community, and mandated that they be present in any particular area for a substantial time before they would be rotated to another area. At first, the assessments seemed very positive, but with time, they have come to vary greatly.24 Fundación Ideaz para La Paz assessment in November 2012, for example, estimated an 18 percent decrease in homicides, 11 percent in personal assaults, and 22 percent in vehicle thefts.25 Subsequent studies, however, were more critical. Cómo Vamos, a research institution measuring the quality of life indicators in major cities in Colombia and abroad, ranked at a dismal second=to-last nationwide in perception of safety—with only 21 percent of residents feeling safe in the city.26  El Centro de Estudio y Análisis en Convivencia y Seguridad Ciudadana found in 2014 that 71 percent of respondents in Bogota were either “very dissatisfied” or “dissatisfied” with the police. Its report also calculated that homicides increased in the capital between 2013 and 2014.27 These varying assessments do not necessarily mean that the strategy and conceptualization are invalid: Both citizens’ perception of the police and safety and crime statistics vary for many reasons. Nonetheless, they do imply that many further improvements in o the approach and tailoring to specific localities were necessary. More broadly, they reveal that policing peace in Colombia will require a lot of adaptations and changes to what law enforcement used to be during the civil war and counterinsurgency.

Peace policing will also require robust accountability and civilian oversight. Thus moving the police force out of the Ministry of Defense where it has been located to under the Ministry of Interior or possibly elsewhere, but separate from the military forces, makes good sense. But beyond this institutional move, it is also necessary to systematically build and encourage joint citizen-police boards in cities and rural areas as mechanisms for police accountability and legitimacy as well as problem identification and strategy formulation.

Rightist Politicians and Elites and Vested Interests

Former President Álvaro Uribe (in office from 2002-2010) has determinedly campaigned to prevent and subvert the peace process with the FARC. The punishments, such as imprisonment, for the FARC that he has been insisting on is a victor’s peace that the FARC would never agree to; and the Colombian military could not bring about as it would require fully defeating the FARC throughout Colombia, which the government was nowhere close to achieving. Yet Uribe and the rightist politicians around him, such as rural elites and other vested interests, may not simply give up their effort to sabotage the peace process even after a yes-vote in the referendum and after the peace deal goes into effect. They might try to take a leaf out of the Philippine rightist forces playbook that repeatedly used judicial and legislative challenges to derail peace agreements with the MNLF. Counterinsurgency and political exchanges between Colombia and the Philippines have been on for several years, with Colombia trying to export its demobilization of the paramilitary groups as a demobilization model to the Philippines.

Far more easily, rightist politicians and vested interests could simply undermine the implementation of rural development from within. A profound rural transformation as promised in the agreement would reduce the disproportionate economic and political power rural elites still maintain and the impunity with which they are often able to act. Even recent history in Colombia is replete with examples of such dynamics. Its line ministries, such as the ministry of agriculture, were a major drag on Colombia’s National Territorial Consolidation Plan (Plan Nacional de Consolidación Territorial), i.e., the build phase of counterinsurgency seeking to bring a multifaceted and robust state presence and development to areas supposedly cleared off FARC presence during the latter parts of the Uribe administration and the early parts of the Juan Manuel Santos government.28 Thus the Consolidation Plan and similar efforts, even their flagship elements such as in the Macarena region,29 withered. The disappointing outcomes were partially due to a lack of resources, but more often and significantly due to line ministries being unable or unwilling to implement them effectively. Vested interests often managed to reshape policies meant to benefit marginalized population to benefit them instead.30 In fact, one of the reasons the Santos administration switched its focus and energies toward negotiating a peace with the FARC was the utter stalling of the Consolidation Plan and rural development in the line ministries and on the ground.

But even if line ministries could be incentivized to diligently implement state-building and rural development schemes and overcome severe coordination problems that previously further hollowed out the consolidation efforts, will effective municipal administration be able to function as state implementing partners? Injection of resources to municipal administrations will be crucial, yet it can also provide incentives for criminal groups and armed actors to seek to extort them and steal the development resources, as has repeatedly happened in Colombia. The Colombian state will thus need to mount far more effective protection of local mayors and administrations than it has historically been able to accomplish. One creative political role for the FARC could be to monitor and expose pressure from illegal groups or vested interests and agribusinesses to prevent such resource theft.

Paradoxically, the end to formal violence with the FARC and the increase of value of land and natural resources in previously contested or inaccessible areas could trigger new forms of violence, land theft, eviction, and displacement. That has already been the dynamic in Colombia for several years, with new intimidation and displacement of local populations taking over control of land for African oil palm cultivation, logging concessions, coal mining, and even ecotourism, such as in the Tayrona National Park.31 Indeed last year only, an astounding 200,000 people have been internally displaced due to new land theft, continuing criminal and political violence, and the drug trade.32 The peace deal promises to return the stolen land to the displaced, some 7 million in total, or provide them with new land in other areas.  The Colombian government hopes to employ both space satellites and other technical solutions, as well as historic memories expressed through communal maps of land, to create cadasters and hand out titles. But such land restitution efforts have already been under way for most of the Santos administration, and have been very slow going. Much less land has actually been returned than was hoped for in 2010. Moreover, many of the displaced do not necessarily want to return to rural areas even as they economically struggle in the slums around Colombia’s large cities. Although providing them with economic aid packages as well as technical skills training and other assistance may oftentimes be far more economically viable in the medium term than seeking to return them to rural areas, in the short term, such urban-focused efforts also cost a lot.

The Cocaleros

Among the many claimants to the benefits of Colombia’s peace are the cocaleros. In the peace agreement, the FARC has committed itself to work to end Colombia’s drug trade and the government has committed itself to rural development that would provide the cocaleros with viable economic opportunities in the legal economy. After initially dismissing the cocalero protests against eradication, the Santos administration subsequently halted aerial spraying of coca crops, implementing manual eradication only.33 Aerial spraying has long been extremely contentious politically, providing the FARC with substantial political capital among the cocaleros.34 For many years, Colombia was the only country implementing spraying.

Providing effective alternative livelihoods to the several hundred thousand cocaleros, and many more who could take their place, will be very challenging, require vast resources, and take not years, but decades.

Yet amidst the political protests against eradication, and the political uncertainty over the peace process, coca cultivation has robustly increased in Colombia. According to the U.S. Department of State, coca cultivation in Colombia went up by some 39 percent, from 80,500 hectares (ha) in 2013 to 112,000 ha in 2014.35 Neither the United States nor the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have released data on Colombia’s coca cultivation in 2015, but the broad expectation is that they were not any lower, and instead likely higher, than in 2014. This is not at all surprising—the underlying causes of coca cultivation, including the marginalization of coca farmers, have never been addressed and coca cultivation has fluctuated in Colombia and for years has shifted among Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia based on varying market conditions, suppression levels, and other factors, such as crop disease.

Providing effective alternative livelihoods to the several hundred thousand cocaleros, and many more who could take their place, will be very challenging, require vast resources, and take not years, but decades. Countries such as Burma, Laos, and Vietnam in the 1990s achieved the eradication of illegal drug crops on a similar scale through a combination of repression, eradication, and negotiated limited economic incentives for farmers—though in Burma it did not last, with poppy cultivation now robustly back.36 Mao Zedong’s China successfully eradicated poppy in the 1950s on an even larger scale without essentially any alternative livelihoods being in place amidst an atmosphere of utter fear and no political resistance to a regime that did not shy away from executing millions of people.37 But only one country has succeeded in eliminating the cultivation of illegal crops through alternative livelihoods on a countrywide level—Thailand. There, it took three decades of efforts, a lot of experimentation with and adjustment to the alternative livelihood efforts and tremendous political and financial commitment by the Thai royal family and external partners, including sustained long-term financial assistance. Crucially, during the key years of alternative livelihoods efforts in the 1980s and 1990s, Thailand was one of Asia’s economic tigers and the entire country grew in a way that generated many new jobs. And at the peak of poppy cultivation in the 1960s, total production was under 20,000 ha, a small fraction of what Colombia needs to grapple with. Alternative livelihoods were designed as comprehensive and multifaceted rural development and did not merely center on chasing the replacement crop.38 They sought to extend Thai citizenship to poppy cultivators as well as provide them educational opportunities and health services. Eradication was only negotiated, and took place only several years (often five or more) after alternative livelihoods efforts were brought in to the villages and only after they started producing income.

Colombia would be wise to carefully study the Thai model. And the United States needs to exercise patience and not undermine Colombia’s deeper peace process by insisting on premature eradication of coca. A key problem of Colombia’s alternative livelihoods efforts, often wrongly encouraged by the United States, has been to insist on coca eradication first, as a precondition to economic assistance or very soon, within three or six months, after minimal and mostly inadequate “alternative livelihoods” are brought in. This initial economic assistance has never been sufficient to stimulate adequate and sustainable livelihoods, mostly serving as a temporary Band-Aid against food insecurity due to eradication or foregoing coca cultivation. Both the U.S. administration of Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress over the past decade have shown such wise patience regarding poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. It is time to apply similarly learning and wisdom to counternarcotics policies in Colombia, including their long-term problems and counterproductive effects, such as of premature eradication.39

The reality is that for a very long time, there will be a lot of coca in Colombia, quite possibly at significantly higher levels than in recent years. Yet if Colombia, partly due to pressure from the United States, moves to forced eradication before alternative livelihoods are in place, it will risk eviscerating the rural transformation that can be the deep anchor of Colombia’s peace.

Although the United States once again in September 2016, for the ninth consecutive year, decertified Bolivia for what it deems as non-compliance with counternarcotics efforts, Bolivia’s uno-cato model is another anti-drug strategy well worth for Colombia to explore and consider.40 Under the uno-cato policy, a family is allowed to cultivate a small area of land—uno cato or 135 square feet—with coca to assure food security and the family’s basic economic survival, while alternative livelihoods as well as eradication efforts seek to reduce cultivation over the uno cato and gradually reduce poverty and economic dependence on coca cultivation.41

The Morales government has been diligent in eradicating excess coca, often destroying as much as a third of yearly cultivation. The actual level of cultivation is disputed: According to the latest U.S. numbers, coca cultivation in Bolivia increased by 30 percent between 2013 and 2014, to 35,000 ha.42 According the UNODC and the Bolivian government, coca cultivation in the country declined from 20,400 ha in 2014 (one third less than the U.S. government estimated) to 20,200 ha in 2015. 43 However, even at the higher U.S. estimates, coca production in Bolivia remains considerably lower than in Colombia or Peru. Whether Bolivia’s levels of cultivation are the outcome of policy design and effective execution or the consequence of exogenous factors (with Bolivia’s production displaced by the expanded coca cultivation in Peru and Colombia) is debatable. U.S. counternarcotics officials maintains that over the past decade Bolivia has again become a major cocaine transshipment hub and a favorite hangout and business center for Colombian and Brazilian drug traffickers, and much of the coca cultivation ends up diverted to the cocaine trade.44 The government of Bolivia denies this, and engages in interdiction against traffickers.

The Morales coca policy has also struggled and arguably failed in its second core pillar—the so-called rationalization of coca, i.e., an effort by the government to find legal outlets for coca products. Partially due to an inauspicious international legal environment, but also due to a lack of customer interest, products such as coca wine or soap have not taken off. To generate any legal outlets for coca cultivated in excess of the amount consumed in traditional Bolivian markets (for coca tea and for chewing), the Bolivian government has resorted to feeding school children coca flour products. However, the children do not like them since coca flour is very bitter.

The most productive role for the FARC and one that could assure the group some political future would be for them to advocate smart alternative livelihoods and oppose premature eradication while simultaneously withdrawing from the illegal cocaine trade.

The Colombian government is putting a lot of stock into the legal cultivation of marijuana for external and future internal medical marijuana markets as a key element of its alternative livelihoods efforts. It has already handed out several licenses for medical marijuana cultivation.45 Yet unless many other facets of rural development, including distribution of land titles, microcredit access, technical and marketing skills development, and assistance with establishing value-added chains and market access also accompany the medical marijuana push in Colombia, it will suffer from all the same multitude of problems as have efforts to promote as replacement crops coffee, cacao, or potatoes.46 Moreover, without special assistance, Colombia’s cocaleros will not be able to compete against Colombia’s large agribusinesses in medical marijuana in the same way they are not able to compete in other legal crops. Indeed, developing off-farm jobs and incomes will need to be as crucial an element of efforts to reduce coca cultivation as of efforts to reduce urban poverty and provide assistance to the internally displaced. And should the legalized medical marijuana cultivation really take off so that it can employ more than a small of number of the cocaleros, the price of medical marijuana could dramatically drop to levels that may not provide sufficient income to small growers.

Thus in many areas of Colombia where cocaleros currently grow coca, medical marijuana will not be able to compete with cocaine. Indeed, because of the costs of transportation from these remote areas separated from Colombia’s infrastructure and external markets by mountain ranges and jungles, only the production of light-weight illegal drugs with high profit margins, such as cocaine or heroin, is economically viable. Indeed, in the majority of those areas – with a possible exception of niche ecotourism zones, such as for birdwatching that could over time be developed—no alternative livelihoods efforts will be viable: Cocaleros there will only be able to participate in legal economies and escape the trap of illegality if they move to other parts of Colombia. However, other current areas of coca and poppy cultivation can be developed economically—whether with legal agriculture or legal mining or other industries—and the Colombian government and international drug assistance efforts should concentrate on them.

Sadly, the most likely and viable replacement economy for many of Colombia’s cocaleros may be illegal logging. Such problematic logging—both legal and illegal, but in any case unsustainable and environmentally-devastating—emerged as a replacement to poppy in Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.47 Illegal logging has already significantly increased in Colombia over the past decade, driven both by international demand for hardwoods and illegal land clearing for African oil palm cultivation. And of course, past eradication efforts have pushed the cocaleros into national parks and other forest areas, compromising those natural environments. Paradoxically, it could well be Colombia’s biodiversity and environment that pays a great price for Colombia’s peace. Preserving this rich biodiversity and limiting climate change are yet further reasons why the United States should not insist on premature and misguided drug crop eradication in Colombia, and the Colombian government should resist such pressures until it can deliver viable and desirable legal livelihoods. The environmental costs would not be worth any of the limited gains of drug eradication.

The Middle Class and the Social Contract

Unless Colombia manages to undertake politically-complicated tax reform, a large and disproportionate part of the financial outlays to support the peace and its promised social development and transformation will be shouldered by Colombia’s middle class for decades to come. And it remains to be seen how long the middle class, often quite vulnerable to back-sliding as a result of macroeconomic shocks, price commodity downturns, or micro effects, such as poor health of family providers, will be willing to put up with such resource redistribution. In Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, the willingness of the middle class to pay for developing crime-ridden and marginalized slums evaporated within three years, despite an initial enthusiasm for the effort and broad support for the so-called Pacification effort (which has also struggled with many other challenges beyond adequate resources).48 In India, the middle classes have often been even less generous to the poor whose ranks they may have left only a generation or less before, often boycotting government efforts to extend public services and urban development to urban slums or particularly underdeveloped rural areas.49

Indeed, both for the sake of sustainability and basic equity, the Colombian state and society must seek to implement a more equitable tax reform. Fewer of the wealthy should be able to get away with not paying taxes or paying inappropriately small ones. Maintaining the tax on the wealthy that since the Uribe years has financed the war effort and transforming it into a tax to support the peace process and periphery development is a crucial element.

Moreover, the tax reform also needs to promote growth that creates job, not merely capital—that means rather fundamentally reversing the tax system entrenched in Colombia for decades that charges land very lightly (exacerbating land theft and speculation) and labor very heavily, privileging capital-intensive growth but not job creation.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (L) and Marxist rebel leader Timochenko shake hands after signing an accord ending a half-century war that killed a quarter of a million people, in Cartagena, Colombia September 26, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSPJY2
REUTERS/John Vizcaino – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (L) and Marxist rebel leader Timochenko shake hands after signing an accord ending a half-century war that killed a quarter of a million people, in Cartagena, Colombia September 26, 2016.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Whether Colombia ever manages such tax reform will be one indicator of whether it manages to achieve a sustainable peace along with social justice that the FARC peace deal promises. A more limited and financially and politically-cheaper peace, without social inclusiveness and equity, can plod on in Colombia for a long time. Perhaps—and sadly—that may be the most likely political outcome in Colombia regardless of what happens in the referendum on the FARC peace deal.

Yet such a future would be a terrible waste of an opportunity that may not return for a long time. The underdeveloped marginalized periphery—in the remote rural areas as well as the urban slums—would only fester, perhaps one day spilling its problems over again onto the developed and thriving parts of Colombia. In the shorter term, such a peace without social transformation would be pervaded by criminal and social violence.

Colombia can prevent such a mediocre outcome through several broad mechanisms.

  1. Pursue long-term transformation. The Santos administration must continue to lobby actively for the broad-based social support for the peace-linked social transformation—way past a yes-outcome in a referendum. By building such support, it should try to inoculate the nation against efforts of rightist politicians and vested interests to eviscerate the peace and social transformation after the Santos administration has completed its second term.
  2. Push through tax reform. Santos should attempt to push through the above-outlined tax reform before its administration is over, especially if the referendum delivers a resounding yes to peace. The regime should also seek to legislatively codify mandatory social development of marginalized rural and urban areas for at least a decade. Since many of the development and state-building programs will have to be experimented with and often significantly altered to achieve better effectiveness on the ground, such legislation should not get into specifics of implementation. It should not specify, for example, where, on what, and how money should be spent or otherwise earmark the funds beyond the concept of transferring resources to marginalized communities and areas to facilitate their social development and the achievement of a deep peace. Maintaining policy flexibility while retaining a strong commitment to social inclusion and broad-based equity should be the spirit of such legislation. Instrumentally, such a peace tax could be promoted as the equivalent of the Uribe administration war tax on the wealthy to support the anti-FARC military effort.
  3. Block and deter defections. The Colombian government and its international supporters should diligently counter any defections from the peace deals. Many elements and facets come under the rubric of this broad recommendation, such as aggressive targeting and disabling of any FARC units that defect to other militant or criminal groups, as well as a determined effort to provide meaningful, robust, and well-designed DDR to individual ex-FARC combatants, not merely token assistance. Robust effectiveness in crushing early defections may create deterrence effects to halt others. It also includes ramping up efforts against the bandas criminales as well as an effort to engage or substantially militarily weaken the ELN and other armed groups that proclaim a political objective. And importantly, it also includes providing protection against physical attacks and assassination to ex-FARC leaders and combatants for years to come, well beyond the 180 days of disarmament. Providing political and technical assistance to the FARC to find a legitimate and effective role in the political space, such as an effective voice on behalf of the cocaleros or of urban poor, would also facilitate peace for the long term.
  4. Sequence state-building efforts and concentrate resources. While the broad commitment of the state and society needs to be to state-building and development throughout Colombia, how and where the state rolls out the beefing up of its presence will have to be sequenced. The resource demands on robust development and state-building are simply too large to conduct them throughout the country. Picking what areas are strategically most important and where crucial demonstration effects need to be achieved first so that commitment to the social transformation can be maintained is politically very difficult. The pressures of democratic elections are to give every community some handout, even though such limited handouts do not result in transformative effects. Indeed, the build-phase of counterinsurgency, rural development, and alternative livelihoods efforts in Colombia frequently suffered from this problem. The Colombian government would check off the box of having extended state presence by giving one or two policemen to each municipality, irrespective of how many tens or hundreds of square kilometers the municipality covered, or by giving a community a bridge, an electric generator, or a clinic and nothing more.

Yet not just politics—but also justice and equity—make it difficult to select only some areas as deserving of a robust, multifaceted, capacious injection of state assistance in round one while others may have to wait several years for a similar package to arrive in their area. Indeed, in the various iterations of the Consolidation Plan, the government could not agree within itself and with local administrations on how many and what areas should be selected as strategic zones and prioritized. Those debates essentially ended unresolved; and the government shifted attention to negotiations with the FARC. They will now have to be revived.

Even though concentrating resources and sequencing areas of state development is politically difficult, it is also necessary. Eventually, all of Colombian communities will need to be covered by the development effort. But if the state starts doing a little bit everywhere, it will dissipate its resources without achieving sustainable transformation in most areas and without building sustainable political support for the costs of peace through credible demonstration effects.

Footnotes

  1. Somini Sengupta, “Colombia’s Leader Says Peace Deal Rests on People’s Ability to Forgive,” The New York Times, September 19, 2016.
  2. For the justice and reparation limitations of a previous deal with Colombia’s paramilitaries in 2006, see, for example, International Crisis Group, “Correcting the Course: Victims and the Justice and Peace Law in Colombia,” Latin America Report No. 29, October 30, 2008, https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/29-correcting-course-victims-and-the-justice-and-peace-law-in-colombia.pdf.
  3. For a review of the deal, see International Crisis Group, “Colombia’s Final Steps to the End of War,” September 7, 2016, https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/058-colombia-s-final-steps-to-the-end-of-war.pdf.
  4. See, for example, David Gagne, “BACRIM: Winner or Loser in Colombia’s Peace,” InSight Crime, July 1, 2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/bacrim-winner-or-loser-in-colombia-peace-deal; and David Gagne, “Colombia Security Forces Failing to Block Urabeños Expansion,”InSight Crime, April 11, 2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/colombia-security-forces-failing-to-block-expansion-urabenos.
  5. The World Bank, “Colombia Country Overview: Foreign Direct Investment, Net Inflows: 2005-2015,” http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.KLT.DINV.CD.WD?end=2015&locations=CO&start=2005&view=chart.
  6. Daniela Franco, “‘Paz Colombia’: Santos, Obama Announce Next Chapter of U.S. Support,” NBC News, February 5, 2016.
  7. For details on U.S. assistance, see June Beittel, “U.S. Foreign Assistance as Colombia’s Peace Talks on the Cusp of Completion,” Congressional Research Service, July 20, 2016, https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IN10454.pdf.
  8. Ibid.
  9. “Colombia’s Rebels Unanimously Approve Peace Accord with Govt,” The Associated Press, September 23, 2016.
  10. See, for example, David Scott Palmer and Alberto Bolivar, “Peru’s Shining Path: Recent Dynamics and Future Prospects,” Florida International University: Western Hemisphere Security Analysis Center Paper No. 2, 2011, http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=whemsac.
  11. See, for example, Iro Aghedo, “Winning the War, Losing the Peace: Amnesty and the Challenges of Post-Conflict Peace-Building in the Niger Delta, Nigeria,” Journal of Asian and African Studies, 48(3), June 2013: 267-80.
  12. See, for example, “Nigeria’s Peace Talks Are Doomed from the Start,” Stratfor, June 17, 2016; and Emma Amaize, Levinus Nwabughiogu, and Tony Nwankwo, “MEND, FG Strike Deal to End N-Delta Crisis,” The Vanguard (Nigeria), July 31, 2016, http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/07/mend-fg-strike-deal-end-n-delta-crisis/
  13. See, for example, Francisco Gutiérrez Sanín and Andrea González Peña, “Colombia’s Paramilitary DDR and Its Limits,” in Antonio Giustozzi, ed., Post-Conflict Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration: Bringing State-Buidling Back In (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).
  14. Oliver Kaplan and Enzo Nussio, “Explaining Recidivism of Ex-Combatants in Colombia,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, May 2016.
  15. For a background on how such factors influence the effectiveness of DDR and historic effectiveness rates and challenges of DDR, see, for example, Robert Muggah, “Introduction: The Emperor’s Clothes?” in Robert Muggah, ed., Security and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Dealing with Fighters in the Aftermath of War (Abingdon, Routledge, 2009): 1–29; Vanda Felbab-Brown, “DDR in the Context of Offensive Military Operations, Counterterrorism, CVE and Non-Permissive Environments: Key Questions, Challenges, and Considerations,” in James Cockayne and Siobhan O’Neil, eds., UN DDR in an Era of Violent Extremism: Is it Fit for Purpose? (New York: United Nations University, 2015): 37-61; and Stina Torjesen, “Towards a Theory of Ex-Combatant Reintegration,” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 2(3): 2013: 1-13.
  16. Vanda Felbab-Brown, “Reducing Urban Violence: Lessons from Medellín,” The Brookings Institution, February 14, 2011, http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0214_colombia_crime_felbabbrown.aspx.
  17. Simon Romero, “Colombia Lists Civilian Killings in Guerrilla Toll,” The New York Times, October 29, 2008.
  18. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The Military Balance 2005-2006 (London: Routledge, 2006): 329; and IISS, “Chapter Eight: Latin America and the Caribbean,” The Military Balance, 116(1), February 2016: 389.
  19. Author’s interview with a key negotiator of the Philippine peace deals, Singapore, November 2015 and Bangkok, Thailand, 2016. See also, Friedrich Planck, “Not Enough Pieces of the Cake? The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the Mindanao Final Agreement,” Asian Security, 11(2), August 2015; and Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Costly Wars, Elusive Peace: Collected Articles on the Peace Processes in the Philippines, 1990–2007 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2013).
  20. Evan Ellis, “Strategic Insights: The Post-Conflict and the Transformation of Colombia’s Armed Forces,” Strategic Studies Institute, August 17, 2016.
  21. Gopal Sharma, “Ex-Maoist Fighters Join Army in Nepal but Challenges Remain,” Reuters, August 26, 2013. See also, Subindra Bogati, “Assessing Inclusivity in Post-War Army Integration Process in Nepal,” IPS Paper 11, CINEP¸ Programa por la Paz, Berghoff Foundation, http://ips-project.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/IPSPaper11-Assessing-Inclusivity-in-the-Post-War-Army-Integration-Process-in-Nepal_English.pdf; and International Crisis Group, “Nepal’s Peace Process: The Endgame Nears,” Asia Briefing No. 131, December 13, 2011, https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/b131-nepal-s-peace-process-the-endgame-nears.pdf.
  22. Vanda Felbab-Brown, “Saving Somalia (Again),” Foreign Affairs, June 23, 2015, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/somalia/2015-06-23/saving-somalia-again; and “Somalia: Most-Failed State,” The Economist, September 10, 2016.
  23. IISS, The Military Balance 2005-2006: 331; and IISS, “Chapter Eight: Latin America and the Caribbean,” 391.
  24. For an excellent compilation of the various assessments, see Kenneth Sebastian Leon, “Colombia’s National Policing Model: Real Success?” AULA Blog, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, American University, October 2, 2015, https://aulablog.net/2015/10/02/colombias-national-policing-model-real-success/
  25. Fundación Ideaz para La Paz, “Impact Evaluation of the National Plan for Community Policing in Quadrants,” Report No. 18, November 2012, http://archive.ideaspaz.org/images/Informe%20Fip%2018%20PNVCC%20ingles_web-cristal.pdf.
  26. Cómo Vamos, “Informe de Calidad de Vida 2013: Seguridad y Convivencia Cuidadana,” 2013, https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1508082/22-ene-bcv-convivencia-seguridad-ciudadana.pdf.
  27. Centro de Estudio y Análisis en Convivencia y Seguridad Ciudadana (CEACSC), “Primera Encuesta: Felicidad y Satisfacción de los Ciudadanos en Bogotá D.C. año 2014,” 2014,  http://www.ceacsc.gov.co/index.php/descargas1/category/14-encuesta-de-felicidad-y-satisfaccion?download=8:encuesta-de-felicidad-y-satisfaccion.
  28. See, for example, Vanda Felbab-Brown, “Colombia’s Consolidation: Everything Coming Up Orchids?” The Brookings Institution, March 8, 2011, https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/colombias-consolidation-everything-coming-up-orchids/; and Adam Isacson, “Consolidating ‘Consolidation’,” WOLA, December 2012, https://www.wola.org/files/Consolidating_Consolidation.pdf.
  29. William Neuman, “Push for Colombians to Stop Farming Coca Falls Short,” The New York Times, June 2, 2015.
  30. Interviews with Colombian officials involved with the Consolidation Plan, USAID and U.S. Embassy officials, development and security experts, and local development actors, Bogotá, Nariño, Catatumbo, and Magdalena Medio, 2009, 2011, and 2015.
  31. Ibid. See Diana Bocarejo and Diana Ojeda, “Violence and Conservation: Beyond Unintended Consequences and Unfortunate Coincidences,” Geoforum, 69, February 2016: 176-183.
  32. Nick Miroff, “Colombia’s War Has Displaced 7 Million. With Peace, Will They Go Home?” The Washington Post, September 5, 2016.
  33. For background on the cocalero protests that promoted the change in Colombia’s policy and the FARC’s recent positioning with respect to the cocalero movement, see Sibylla Brodzinsky, “Colombian Rebels Offer to Support Peasant Protests.” The Guardian, July 23, 2013. See also, Vanda Felbab-Brown and Anna Newby, “How to Break Free of the Drugs-Conflict Nexus in Colombia,” The Brookings Institution, December 16, 2015.
  34. Vanda Felbab-Brown, Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 2010).
  35. U.S. Department of State, “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) – Colombia,” March 2016, http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2016/vol1/253252.htm.
  36. Vanda Felbab-Brown, “Enabling War and Peace: Drugs, Logs, Gems, and Wildlife in Thailand and Burma,” East Asia Policy Paper No. 7, The Brookings Institution, December 2015, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Policy-paper-7-webv5-1.pdf; and James Windle, Suppressing Illicit Opium Production: Successful Interventions in Asia and the Middle East (London: I.B. Taurus, 2016).
  37. See, for example, Edward R. Slack, Opium, State, and Society: China’s Narco-Economy and the Guomindang, 1924-1937 (Honolulu: Hawaii University Press, 2001); Zhou Yongming, Anti-drug Crusades in Twentieth Century China: Nationalism, History, and State-Building (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999); and Chen Yung-fa, “The Blooming Poppy under the Red Sun: The Yan’an Way and the Opium Trade,” in Tony Saich and Hans van de Ven, eds., New Perspectives on the Chinese Communist Revolution (Armonk: Sharpe, 1995): 263-297.
  38. See, Ronald D. Renard, Opium Reduction in Thailand, 1970-2000: A Thirty-Year Journey (Bangkok: UNDCP Silkworm Books, 2001); and Vanda Felbab-Brown, “Improving Supply Side Policies: Smarter Eradication, Interdiction, and Alternative Livelihoods and the Possibility of Licensing,” LSE Drug Reform Series, May 2014, http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2014/05/07%20improving%20supply%20side%20policies%20felbabbrown/improvingsupplysidepoliciesfelbabbrown.pdf.
  39. For the effectiveness and limitations of counternarcotics effects in Colombia and Afghanistan, see Felbab-Brown, Shooting Up; and Vanda Felbab-Brown, “No Easy Exit: Drugs and Counternarcotics Policies in Afghanistan,” The Brookings Institution, April 29, 2015, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FelbabBrown-Afghanistan-final.pdf.
  40. On the decertification process and its problems, see, for example, “How Bolivia Fights the Drug Scourge,” The New York Times, September 14, 2016; and Kathryn Ledebur and Julia Romani Yanoff, “Some Are More Equal Than Others: U.S. Decertification of Bolivia’s Drug Control Efforts,” The Andean Information Network, September 21, 2016, http://ain-bolivia.org/2016/09/some-are-more-equal-than-others-u-s-decertification-of-bolivias-drug-control-efforts/
  41. Coletta Youngers, “Shifts in Cultivation, Usage Put Bolivia’s Coca Policy at the Crossroads,” World Politics Review, December 5, 2013; and Linda Farthing and Kathryn Ledebur, “To the Beat of a Different Drum: Bolivia’s Community Coca Control,” NACLA Report on the Americas, 47(2) Summer 2014: 51-55.
  42. U.S. Department of State, INCSR, 2016.
  43. See UNODC, Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia: Monitoreo de Cultivos de Coca 2014, Agosto 2015, http://www.unodc.org/documents/bolivia/Informe_Monitoreo_Coca_2014/Bolivia_Informe_Monitoreo_Coca_2014.pdf; and Deborah Bonello, “UN Reports Small Decreases in Bolivia Coca Cultivation,” InSight Crime, July 6, 2016, http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/bolivia-coca-cultivation-drops-closer-to-legal-crop-allowance.
  44. Author’s interviews with DEA agents, Washington, DC, Fall 2011.
  45. “Cannabis in Colombia: Weeds of Peace,” The Economist, August 6, 2016.
  46. Vanda Felbab-Brown, Joel M. Jutkowitz, Sergio Rivas, Ricardo Rocha, James T. Smith, Manuel Supervielle, and Cynthia Watson, “Assessment of the Implementation of the United States Government’s Support for Plan Colombia’s Illicit Crops Reduction Components,” USAID, April 2009, http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACN233.pdf.
  47. See, for example, Felbab-Brown (December 2015).
  48. For background and effectiveness of the Pacification effort known known as UPP, see, for example, Sarah Oosterbaan and Joris van Wijk, “Pacifying and Integrating the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro: An Evaluation of the Impact of the UPP Program on Favela Residents,” International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 39(3), 2015: 179-98.
  49. See, for example, Anjal Prakash, “The Periurban Water Security Problem: A Case Study of Hyderabad in Southern India,” Water Policy, 16(3), June 2014: 454-69; Susan Chaplin, “Indian Cities, Sanitation, and the State: The Politics of the Failure to Provide,” Environment and Urbanization, 23(1), 2011: 57-70; and Susan Chaplin, “Cities, Sewers, and Poverty: India’s Politics of Sanitation,” Environment and Urbanization, 11(1) 1999: 145-58.

More

Get daily updates from Brookings