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The FARC's Best Friend: U.S. Antidrug Policies and the Deepening of Colombia's Civil War in the 1990s

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Abstract

The strengthening of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) during the 1990s was an unintended consequence of a series of tactical successes in U.S. antidrug policies. These included dismantling the Medellín and Cali drug cartels, interdicting coca coming into Colombian processing facilities, and using drug certification requirements to pressure the Colombian government to attack drug cartels and allow aerial fumigation of coca crops. These successes, however, merely pushed coca cultivation increasingly to FARC-dominated areas while weakening many of the FARC's political-military opponents. This provided the FARC with unprecedented opportunities to extract resources from the cocaine industry to deepen its long insurgency against the Colombian state. The Colombian experience demonstrates the importance of creating a more sophisticated understanding of how lootable wealth can exacerbate civil wars.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Miami 2006

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