- UNODC reports Colombia’s cocaine production hit a record in 2022, nearing the country’s oil export earnings.
- Major oil-producing regions, like Putumayo, overlap with high-density coca cultivation zones, fueling conflicts and disrupting oil operations.
- Rampant oil theft from key pipelines, driven by the cocaine trade’s demand for gasoline, harms the environment and impacts Colombia’s petroleum production.
Colombia’s cocaine production continues to soar ever higher. For the fourth year straight, the United Nations Office on Drugs And Crime (UNODC) reported that Colombia’s 2022 cocaine output surged to yet another all-time high. Since the early 1980s, the tremendous profits generated by the narcotic have been responsible for fueling the strife-torn county’s civil conflict and heightened rural violence. Crime and violence are spiraling out of control in Colombia despite the country’s first leftist president Gustavo Petro, himself a former Marxist guerilla, committing to a policy of total peace. Rising crime, violence and conflict will roil an economy already struggling to grow, with Colombia’s oil industry being hit hard by cocaine-fueled conflict with many petroleum-rich regions located in or near coca-cultivating hotspots.