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At Washington D.C. Film Premiere of “Leaving La Floresta.”

A Filmmakers Take on U.S.-Colombia Drug, Trade Policies

On the evening of October 13, 2011, the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) premiered a newly made independent film, “Leaving La Floresta.” The film follows a group of young men who document their journey in Colombia -the home of the largest population of internally displaced people in the world- in order to learn more about the causes of this displacement. Part travel documentary, part advocacy journalism, the movie focuses on the role that the United States’ Plan Colombia coca fumigation policies play in the process of this vast migration to urban centers of the country.

The filmmakers seem aware of their limitations as outsiders, acknowledging their intrinsic privileges as well as their naïveté from the start. They show genuine reverence for the Joya family, who they showcase as an example of the deplorable human consequences of U.S.-Colombian drug policy. Olga and Abelardo Joya, parents of five, were forced to abandon their cacao farm in the Colombian countryside and relocate to an urban slum after their property was contaminated by herbicides intended to be sprayed on coca fields in the area. Their story is both touching and compelling.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Sierra Ramírez.
To read the full analysis, click here.

Thursday October 27th, 2011 | Research Memorandum 11.3

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. It has been described on the Senate floor as being "one of the nation's most respected bodies of scholars and policy makers." For more information, please see our web page at


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