7 Stories

UN: Production of Coca Surges in Colombia

Production at levels not seen in two decades

(Newser) - A new UN report shows that coca production in Colombia has surged to levels not seen in two decades, the AP reports. The report Friday confirms US government findings from March that production is skyrocketing. The culprits are varied and include President Juan Manuel Santos' decision in 2015 to stop... More »

Is War on Drugs Bad for Chocolate?

Gourmands fight for native Peruvian cocoa

(Newser) - To cut down on production of the coca plants behind cocaine, the US has pushed an alternative crop to Peruvian farmers: a high-yielding cocoa hybrid. And while CCN-51 has had commercial benefits, there's one problem, chocolate experts say—it just doesn't taste that good. Instead, these connoisseurs say,... More »

Coca Leaves Chewed Way Earlier Than Thought

They date back 8,000 years in South America

(Newser) - Peruvians chewed coca leaves more than 8,000 years ago, say researchers who've found the earliest evidence of usage of the plant, the BBC reports. Scientists knew that South Americans chewed the leaves but had previously dated the first use to 5,000 years ago. Coca, the plant from which... More »

Peruvian Rebel Group Finds New Life

Shining Path kinder, gentler and more ideologically muddled, but still deadly

(Newser) - All but forgotten, Peru's Shining Path guerrilla group has again become a force to be reckoned with, killing more people in October than it had in any month since the 1990s, the Washington Post reports in a look at its secretive ranks. Today’s drug-financed Path leans more liberal narcoterrorist... More »

Colombia to Americans: Cocaine Kills Environment

Drug-makers are destroying Colombia's precious rainforest

(Newser) - Colombia is adding a new tactic in its campaign to persuade Americans to stop buying cocaine: a plea for the environment. The government wants to spread the message to users—especially, say, wealthy professionals who dutifully recycle but also partake of the drug—that cocaine growers are running roughshod over... More »

Cocaine on the Upswing in Peru

US attempts to quell trafficking stagnate in coca-based economy

(Newser) - Peru's cocaine business is growing again, sparking a spate of killings, threats, and US-funded attempts to stop it, the Los Angeles Times reports. Coca bush plots have increased by a third since 1999 to feed markets in Europe, East Asia, and Brazil—but growers are hard to collar because they... More »

Peasants Booted for Biofuel Bucks

Green crop brings black days for displaced Colombian farmers

(Newser) - Paramilitary gangs are driving thousands of Colombian farmers from their land to make way for the nation's latest lucrative crop: palm oil to produce biofuel, the Guardian reports. The violent land grabs have helped create some 3 million displaced Colombians. "It's the dark side of biofuel," said a... More »

7 Stories