National Geographic : 2004 Nov
Cocaine Country The reporting for your article, which started in December 2000, does not accurately portray what is taking place today in Caqueta and numerous other communi ties across Colombia. According to the United Nations, Colom bia's coca crop was reduced by 47 percent from December 2000 to December 2003. Moreover, in the state of Caqueta, the coca crop was reduced by 72 percent from August 2000 to December 2003. Through a U.S.-Colombian partnership begun in 2000, the government of Colombia is working to reach every commu nity with alternative develop ment and other social programs to help coca and poppy farmers transition to legal economic activities. Since 2001 Colombia and the U.S. have cooperated to support the cultivation of 45,456 hectares [175 square miles] of FOR MORE INFORMATION To get NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800 -NGS-LINE (1-800 -647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800 -548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic pubYlcaltons, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications Forum legal crops. The Colombian government is committed to destroying the cocaine industry in every region, combating all actors-both guerrilla and paramilitary-engaged in drug trafficking and terrorism, and providing relief to affected pop ulations. We have by no means resolved all our problems, but sadly your article fails to acknowl edge the dramatic improvement realized in the last few years. LUIS ALBERTO MORENO Ambassador to the United States Embassy of Colombia Washington, D.C. The camera may never blink, but indiscretion and the omission of material facts will blur a pic ture beyond recognition. Con trary to what you represented in "Cocaine Country," the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] is an unrepentant and ruthless drug cartel. It controls a heroin and cocaine trade worth between 250 million and 600 million dollars a year. The FARC is on the State Department's list of terrorist groups. It is also on the Treasury Department's list of narco-terrorist organizations. Americans are banned from doing business with FARC mem bers. Its leadership has been NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - NOVEMBER 2004 A A S *RAP July 2004 "Cocaine Country," our story about the relationshipbetween coca growers and insurgents in Caquetd, Colombia, elicited a strong responsefrom Colom bians. A number of them described the progress in curtailing Colombia's drug trade. (While the cover shown here was on subscribercopies, the cocaine story was on the cover of half the newsstand copies in North America and on most copies sold overseas.) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increaseand diffusion of geographic knowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C ., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. 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