by Juanita Vélez, Natalia Arenas and Ana Karietna León Quiroga
Colombia's government is intent on passing a law that will grant a one-year judicial immunity for small-scale coca farmers who agree to abandon their illegal cultivations, which is a provision of the government's peace deal with the FARC. Without guaranteeing that farmers will not be jailed in the short term, there is little hope that they will voluntarily switch to alternative crops as part of the government's new substitution program.
But while drafting the law, Colombia's government came up against an impossible dilemma: what to do with the 40 percent of farmers who not only cultivate the coca leaf, but also process it into coca paste, according to the latest report on illegal cultivations by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Pierre Pouliquin