ADVANTAGES

The article states, "Here in the lush Yungas region of western Bolivia, farmers are allowed by law to plant a total of nearly 30,000 acres of coca--leaf that is then sold in the domestic market for tea or to be chewed to ward off hunger. But production here far exceeds that threshold, and much of the surplus feeds a cocaine trade thriving in part on the new regional demand of a rising Latin American middle class. The Andean cocaine supply now exceeds the amount produced in the 1990s, when U.S. policymakers pushed anti-drug aid to the region to counter powerful Colombian cartels. In 1993, when a U.S.-supported police unit shot dead the drug lord Pablo Escobar in his home town of Medellin, the Andes produced 200 fewer tons of cocaine than it did last year."

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