Throwing good money after dumb â€¦
April 19, 2006
Let's tinker with this Washington Post story about how Peru's leading presidential candidate is promising to halt cooperation with U.S. coca-eradication efforts if he's elected.
First, the lede:
First, the lede:
LIMA, Peru -- The front-running presidential candidate in Peru, having pledged to put a stop to coca eradication, represents the latest challenge to a regional U.S.-financed counternarcotics effort that shows signs of fraying at its edges, according to U.S. and South American analysts.That's a fine start, but I'm going to move graphs 17 and 18 up next, so the story makes sense (who reads that far down anyway?):
Opponents of U.S. policy have long urged American officials to scrap forced eradications and put more money into domestic drug prevention programs. Joy Olson, director of the Washington Office on Latin America, said the theory behind eradication -- that reduced availability of the crop will drive up street prices and discourage cocaine use -- has been proved false by cocaine's continued widespread availability in American cities at low prices.
If cocaine prices are viewed in a 20-year context -- not the three-year curve the U.S. government routinely uses to point to price increases -- they are at near-record lows, about one-fifth of what they were in the early 1980s. Olson added that harmful side effects of eradication -- such as environmental and social damage caused by migrating cultivation zones -- have been evident throughout the Colombian countrysideâ€¦Context. It's a good thing. Now we can pick up the story at the original second graph: