Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges of a post-conflict Colombia more evident, and perhaps no other part of the world is more indicative of how an economy can be fueled by the production and trafficking of cocaine. With villages that are dependent on the transformation of coca leaf into base paste, a port that connects local and international criminal actors, and rivers that serve as unguarded transportation routes for coca going north, Nariño truly is at the heart of everything.  

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