While fortunes are being made by traffickers and corrupt international financial institutions, poor farmers in the Andes, in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, have been cornered into growing the only produce that still brings cash on their farm. Coca leaves and coca-paste, a mixture of coca leaves macerated in kerosene, are the only products that buyers will come and pay cash for in areas where there is virtually no presence of the state and no social assistance whatsoever. The international agrobusiness competition, American for the most part, has destroyed their ability to sell other agricultural produce even in their own markets.



The U.S. "Plan Colombia" offers a one-time payment of less than $1,000 as assistance to farming families and does nothing to help the local agriculture compete against the much cheaper imports from the United States. Already caught between the warring factions, the poor farmers of Colombia are being further victimized by the U.S. policy of spraying defoliant on their lands with unknown consequences to their health.