“I’m a decent man who exports flowers.” – Pablo Escabar
In South America, farmers, typically poor and land scarce often have little alternative source of income other than to grow coca leaves – the raw material for the cocaine trade. The farmers typically operate on low margins, but must also bear the substantial economic risk of their crop being destroyed.
Authorities in the region (supported and encouraged by the United States and other major drug consuming countries), have sought to eradicate the coca crop. Either yanking it up by the roots, burning the fields in which it is grown, or spraying it from the air with weed killer. The logic behind the assault is that simply by reducing the supply of coca, the narco supply chain will be cut off from their raw material, in turn making it less profitable and thereby cutting the amount of illicit drugs entering overseas markets.