When Pablo Escobar, Colombia’s “King of Cocaine,” was killed, the world thought–or hoped–the cocaine industry would crumble. But ten years later the country’s production had almost quadrupled, and since 2001, Colombia has produced more than 60% of all the cocaine consumed in the world.Cocaine is both a curse and a salvation for Colombians. Farmers grow coca for cash but fear discovery. Families must cooperate with drug-funded guerrillas or go on the run. Destitute teens become trained killers for a quick buck in a ruthless underworld where few survive for long. At the same time, tension grows between Colombia’s right-wing government and its socialist neighbors in Latin America. With the failed US War on Drugs playing into this geopolitical brew, the future of cocaine is about more than what happens to street dealers and their customers. Based on three years of research and more than 100 interviews with growers, traffickers, assassins, refugees, police, politicians, and drug tourists, Cocaína is a brilliant work of journalism, and an insight into one of the world’s most troubling industries.
In spare, sharp prose, Linton weaves his narrative threads into keen political and historical analysis — investigative journalism at its finest. The book is not only about those who make cocaine, but those who have ’made it’ and survived the interminable conflicts created by drug politics.