Peace and Colombian coca crops


While reading the news on Monday morning, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that The Miami Herald wrote an article about other important things happening in Havana, Cuba, something beyond President Obama’s visit.

The headline read “Will peace halt Colombia’s coca boom?” At a first glance you, probably, would never know that the article was about the peace talks grinding along in the island; but since I’m Colombian I knew right away so I kept reading.

The newspaper did a great job informing the public about the negotiation process, which started more than three years ago. The information was precise, truthful and without biases.

However, what surprised me the most was that instead of focusing on the breaking new the author, Jim Wyss, added a completely different angle to the story.

The fact that negotiators had set Wednesday as a deadline for a final peace deal, was mentioned, but the whole story demonstrates how the decision could affect farmers.

Throughout the story, Wyss proved the world wrong by portraying what farmers in Colombia actually want. The consensus among coca growers is that they want to be out of the business but, for that to occur, the government has to build roads, marketplaces and create an economic ecosystem where legitimate crops can thrive.

Sadly, while coca hurts thousands of people all over the world, it is also a survival crop for the majority of those farmers. Cesar Duarte, a Colombian farmer, is aware of that but he also thinks that “that’s worrisome, and that’s why we’re saying we no longer want to make our living growing coca.”

Even though the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) wasn’t out of the equation, the story didn’t take any particular side, instead, it served as a voice for a minority that is being highly affected by the situation and at the same time abandoned by its own country.

So media, somehow, allow us to have a voice.