Colombia Using Manual Labor to Fight Cocaine Growers


Government-paid workers using hoes and their bare hands are ripping out coca bushes in parts of Colombia in a major shift from the U.S.-sponsored aerial spraying that had been used to battle cocaine production in the past, the Washington Post reports. The work is difficult but important because it strikes a financial blow to anti-government guerrillas who depend on drug production to fund their fight against Colombian authorities.

Government officials say the new manual eradication program had eliminated more than 100,000 acres of the crop by last year, accounting for almost 25 percent of all coca eradicated. “We are convinced of the advantages of manual eradication over spraying, and that’s why we want to give more importance to manual eradication,” Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said in an interview.


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