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The golden age of cocaine is happening right now: what is the situation in Colombia?

By Matthew Bristow*

The biggest cocaine boom in history originates in the outskirts of cities like La Dorada, Colombia. Here, just a few miles down a rutted track through the Amazon, cattle ranches and fish farms give way to endless fields of coca, the pale green bush used to make the drug.

Apart from a few schoolteachers and the occasional incursions by the armed forces, the Colombian state hardly exists beyond this point. To travel here, outsiders need permission from a feared drug cartel known as the Border Commandos, whose army-green T-shirt-clad henchmen patrol the highways in . . .

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