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[Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield:] Colombian leadership must find a way to implement a robust forced manual eradication effort to create a disincentive to coca cultivation and an incentive to participation in the government’s crop substitution effort. Making manual eradication work includes overcoming the persistent social protests that disrupt forced eradication operations. Without a permanent solution to the social protest issue, forced eradication efforts are unlikely to have a significant effect on coca cultivation levels in 2017. In 2016, 675 attempted eradication operations were cancelled in the field due to restrictive rules of engagement that prevented security forces from engaging protestors. In 2017, the protests continue. On March 28, the Ministry of Defense-led CEO in Tumaco launched a successful eradication operation along the border with Ecuador. To date, approximately 6,000 hectares have been eradicated. However, the operation has been marred by social protests and violence, resulting in the injury of two police officers and the death of a third. The security forces must be empowered to eradicate in national parks, indigenous areas, and the no-fly zones around the FARC disarmament zones, where coca cultivation is at industrial levels. Additionally, proper military-civilian coordination continues to be weak, and the proper financial resources to implement the CEO concept are still inadequate.
Ambassador William R. Brownfield, Prepared Statement of: Ambassador William R. Brownfield Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Hearing before the: Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere (Washington: U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, August 2, 2017): 3 <https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/080217%20Brownfield_Testimony.pdf>.