A Slippery Latin Slope

The U.S. is about to cut a big check to Colombia. What is it buying into?

The news was worse than the CIA had ever imagined. After reviewing a fresh batch of spy-satellite photos and intelligence reports from the ground, agency analysts this month concluded that Colombia produced 520 metric tons of cocaine last year, three times what the agency had previously calculated. Then last week, Administration drug czar Barry McCaffrey made public the other CIA bombshell: Colombia's opium-poppy cultivation also jumped 23% in 1999. All told, says McCaffrey, 80% of the cocaine and heroin entering the U.S. comes from or through Colombia, causing 52,000 deaths here each year, along with $110 billion in health-care, crime and...

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