Ariel Ávila explains the stubborn persistence of coca cultivation in Colombia.
- Marco Rivadeneira, a well-known campesino leader who had accompanied peace accord-mandated crop substitution programs in Putumayo, is killed in Puerto Asís municipality. Three men took Rivadeneira from a crop-substitution meeting by force; his body was found shortly afterward.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ office, the OAS Mission in Support of the Peace Process, and the Truth Commission are among organizations issuing statements rejecting the murder.
- Three days after Rivadeneira’s murder, the government steps up forced manual eradication operations in Putumayo’s coca-growing areas.
From their fight to assert the rights of coca-grower movements in Bolivia to their contribution to peace building in Colombia, women growers have been crucial agents of change in their communities.
Two women from Putumayo talk about how coca cultivation and related violence have affected their lives, and their leadership of efforts to turn away from the crop.
- News emerges that, at some point in recent weeks, the Colombian government terminated its contract with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to monitor and verify the crop-substitution effort carried out under chapter 4 of the peace accord.
- In a thorough February 4 report, UNODC found high levels of compliance with the crop substitution program, with very little re-planting of coca despite delays in government compliance with commitments.
A detailed update, as of October 31, 2019, on the state of the Colombian government’s illicit crop substitution program within the framework of chapter 4 of the 2016 peace accord. (Link at unodc.org)
- Police carrying out manual coca eradication in the Rio Mexicano sector of Tumaco, Nariño, enter into a confrontation with residents. A farmer named Segundo Girón is killed by a bullet; three police are reported wounded. About half of the coca-growing families in the Rio Mexicano area have signed on to the peace accord’s crop substitution program, the rest did not.
- Hernando Londoño, director of the program implementing the peace accords’ crop substitution commitments (Comprehensive National Program for Illicit Crops, or PNIS), causes a stir by alleging that no leaders of coca substitution efforts have been killed. While dozens of people involved in coca substitution efforts have been murdered, Londoño tells El Espectador, they have not been leaders of coca farmer associations. He goes on to allege that “one or two last year” were killed because they were demanding kickbacks from the payments that coca growers were receiving from the PNIS program. “Those who have been killed were obviously involved in the program,” Londoño went on, “which is regrettable and should not happen, but many cases have to do with the same coca leaf business.”