A Carpet of Cocaine

Colombia's jungles are teeming with rich, armed, drug-dealing rebels. Can the U.S. really beat them?

As U.S. Antidrug Chief General Barry McCaffery jetted into a Colombian military base last week, he saw the makings of a nightmare outside his window. "It was astonishing," the former Army general told TIME. "In some southern districts of Colombia, about a third of the land is under coca cultivation." From the air, it seemed that every jungle clearing was inlaid with coca bushes. The view impressed upon McCaffery that despite the loss of five U.S. servicemen--whose reconnaissance aircraft slammed into a jungle mountain hidden by clouds days before his visit--the Clinton Administration's war against Colombian drug cartels has to be...

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