Colombia

US says Colombia's coca production surges to record levels

Coca production in Colombia has surged to levels unseen in two decades of U.S. eradication efforts, according to a White House report released Tuesday.

Cultivation of the plant used to make cocaine rose 18 percent last year from 2015, with coca crops planted on an estimated 188,000 hectares (465,000 acres) of the Andean nation.

Much of the coca boom has been centered in remote hamlets like Puerto Bello, in southern Colombia, where peasant farmers who've lived for decades under the dominance of leftist rebels are anxiously awaiting the rollout of a joint rebel-government plan to wean them off illegal crops in the aftermath of a historic peace accord last year.

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