International Narcotics Control Board Annual Report

Latin America and the Caribbean

Today, Colombian and Bolivian newspapers covered the release of a new report by the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations. However, it appears that the majority of the information being reported on, such as the increase of coca cultivation in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, is based on old data that can be found in the UN Office on Drug Control's Coca Cultivation in the Andean Region report released in June 2008 and 2008 World Drug Report. The report will be available online tomorrow (February 20th), according to the INCB website. Below are some highlights from the press packet released today, which is available on the Semana website. Central America and the Caribbean:

  • This region continues to be one of the principle trafficking routes for illicit drugs traveling from South America to North America and Europe. As vigilance of maritime trafficking routes has increased, traffickers have started using low-flying light aircraft.
  • Street gangs continue to be linked to international narcotrafficking networks.
  • Trafficking of illegal substances that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is going to increase in Central America as organized crime groups take advantage of lax controls over goods near the border region with Mexico in order to acquire pharmaceuticals that contain these precursors.
  • The Board encourages national authorities to act energetically against international narcotrafficking networks, including those linked to street gangs, and that they adopt other measures, among them the promulgation of laws on civil confiscation and against corruption.

South America:

  • Colombia continues to be the largest producer of coca, which increased 27%.
  • 55% of the total area of illicit coca cultivation is in Colombia, 29% in Peru and 16% in Bolivia.
  • The Board is concerned about the September 2008 agreement the Government of Bolivia signed with coca farmers in Yungas which allows them to cultivate more coca than permitted in the Chapare region.
  • International crime groups continue to use Venezuela as one of the main points of departure for shipments of illicit drugs from South America.