Slow environmental violence and the corporate greening in the War on Drugs in Colombia

Authors: Diego Andrés Lugo-Vivas*, Universidad del Valle - CET Washington
Topics: Latin America, Agricultural Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Environmental peacebuilding, Slow environmental violence, Colombia, National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops, corporate greening
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 41
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Next to a broader agrarian reform, the Peace Accord signed between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) and the Colombian Government (2016) was designed to support the voluntary substitution of illicit crops in an attempt to fight drug trafficking. In the municipality of Miranda (Northern Cauca), over 1300 peasant families agreed to eradicate their coca crops and stop their work in coca fields as part of the National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops (PNIS). Nearly three years later, the program has shown little progress based on complementary evidence. First, it has only embraced 38% of the families who declared their will to replace illicit crops, and second it has delayed commitments regarding access to land and financial and technical assistance for alternative projects. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this presentation brings an insightful and original political ecology perspective to environmental peacebuilding, showing that the promised transformation for marginalized peasant communities has been neglected. I argue that failed state interventions have created gradual forms of socio-environmental damage (Nixon, 2008; Auyero and Swistun, 2009), including, soil degradation, erosion, and disabling soil washing. Thus, initial solutions for coca substitution have not only been redirected to benefit green corporate agrarian projects but also gradually abandoned by the State. The above has created different forms of slow environmental violence and more importantly it has triggered a synergistic combination of slow (environmental), structural (multi-dimensional precarity), and direct (armed) violence.

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