In a letter to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), a global network of 177 NGOs of which the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) is a part, expresses strong support for the Peace Accord signed by the Colombian government and the FARC, while also expressing deep concern regarding intensified, and increasingly militarized, forced coca eradication efforts, especially in areas where communities have already signed crop substitution agreements.
Point four of the accord on the “illicit drug problem” recognizes that poverty, social exclusion and violence are the driving forces behind the spread of coca cultivation across the country. As a result, agreements are being signed between local communities, individual families and the Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito, or PNIS, in which local growers agree to eliminate their coca in exchange for cash subsidies and government investment in their communities.
Forced eradication in areas where communities have signed crop substitution agreements perpetuates violence and generates new conflicts, undermines the very spirit of the voluntary crop substitution agreements and confidence-building efforts with local communities, and potentially threatens the effective implementation of the peace accord.
IDPC therefore requests that President Santos ensure all Colombian government institutions, including the Ministry of Defense, respect the crop substitution agreements, support genuine dialogue with local communities to overcome difficulties in their implementation, and cease forced eradication in areas where such agreements have been signed or are being negotiated.