In this talk, based on an article published in World Development, ‘The coca enclosure: Autonomy against accumulation in Colombia’ (2020), Anthony Dest analyzes a relatively new phenomenon in northern Cauca: the massive expansion of coca cultivations.
After decades of intense forced eradication campaigns promoted by the U.S. government, the so-called “War on Drugs” failed at achieving its stated aim. Instead, these militaristic policies pushed coca growers to find more remote places to cultivate coca in different parts of the county. In northern Cauca, coca cultivations are strongly associated with a wave of “colonization” (colonización) by coca growers displaced by Plan Colombia. In addition to the crops, these settlers also brought what some local inhabitants call the “anti-culture of coca,” which is associated with new forms of consumerism, violence, and an extractive relationship to the land.
Anthony explores coca’s power to transform social and economic relations, and it reveals how the structural inequalities in Colombian society are reproduced in regions where it is cultivated.
Full article available here: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X203029