"The Renegades." That's what the Colombian press has dubbed the guerrillas who refuse to demobilize: the front first and seventh factions of the FARC.* These are the "Negro Acacios," "John 40s," "Mordiscos" and all the other great drug lords who camouflage as guerillas but spend their days and nights trafficking drugs.
The latest news from the United Nations confirms we are once again flooded with this evil crop: a 39 percent increase within the last year. Such an increase can be explained by the recent negotiations with the FARC and the suspension of the herbicide fumigation, both of which have allowed the coca plant to flourish once again.
And we see it with cocaine: 420 metric tons were produced last year, according to data from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. This increase of 140 percent in the last four years shows just how much cocaine production has prospered during this time of negotiation with the FARC.
Business is booming these days. What's scary is that these numbers are going to continue to jump even higher when the peace treaty is signed. I wonder what the CIA and Uncle Sam's other intelligence agencies will do when the FARC's first and seventh factions decide not to disarm and instead continue to earn a hefty sum by illegally protecting crops and routes.
And I have to wonder this because the CIA’s record is enough to bring tears to the eye: the CIA supported and approved the trafficking of cocaine from the contras in Nicaragua to the United States to finance their war against Sandino's army. They turned a blind eye when the price of cocaine fell by half in Los Angeles, Baltimore and Miami between 1982 and 1985 (“Cocaine Nation,” Tom Feiling).
They also helped Lucky Luciano's Italian mafia become the top heroin trafficker in the United States in exchange for their support during the Invasion of Sicily in 1943. This little act of "reciprocity" allowed Luciano's business to expand to the streets of New York and Washington.
It was the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States that helped traffic opium and heroin to the United States through its allies in southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. The same agency allowed the Mujahedeen rebels to traffic drugs in Afghanistan to finance the Afghani resistance against Soviet occupation in 1980. In Israel, the CIA helped the Christian Phalangists flood North America's streets in cocaine and heroin to finance the Lebanon War and the Siege of Beirut in 1982. All of these groups were protected by the CIA and, by extension, the American government.
Will the U.S. government turn a blind eye when cocaine production continues to grow after the peace treaty is signed in Colombia? When the renegade FARC groups maintain control of the most profitable business on the planet since the '70s? When Plan Colombia's resources go to removing landmines and assisting victims of the conflict, leaving only a small portion for eradicating crops?
What will the American government do then, after being so flippant during the peace process and negotiations with the FARC? If Plan Colombia helped cut coca crops in half, the new Colombia peace process could help them to double.
*Editor's note: FARC is a guerilla movement that stands for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.