Coca, livestock and roads: the political economy of the road infrastructure built by the FARC in Caquetá and Putumayo.

Project: Research Project

Project Details


Esta investigación busca analizar la relación entre las formas de producción en territorios de frontera con una presencia histórica de las FARC y las formas de estatalidad y control territorial de este grupo insurgente, y la manera como estas se expresan y median por las carreteras.

Específicamente, busca explorar la relación entre la economía de la coca y su transición a la ganadería en el Caquetá, o su coexistencia con el petróleo, en el Putumayo, y las formas de estatalidad y control territorial de las FARC en ambos territorios, y el papel que la infraestructura vial construida entre las FARC y la comunidad tuvo en mantener o subvertir las relaciones sociales engendradas por estas economías.

Adicionalmente, busca entender lo que ha pasado con estos territorios, economías y relaciones sociales en el posconflicto, bajo el cual se ha priorizado la infraestructura.

En un contexto de incertidumbre en el cual se busca una ‘transformación territorial” mediante la transición de economías ilícitas (coca) a las lícitas, pretende comprender la relación entre esta transformación y la infraestructura vial, y las nuevas relaciones de poder, formas de estatalidad, y bases productivas que se generan en este nuevo periodo.

Commitments / Obligations

It is expected to advance the state of knowledge about the transformations in the political economy in the selected territories, and in particular, the illumination of the relationship between coca, livestock and roads, in the case of Caquetá, and coca, oil and roads, in the case of Putumayo.

With the resources obtained, it will be possible to carry out field work in very little-studied areas, thanks to the particular career of the researcher and the contacts established within the framework of the “Rebel Highways” project.

The permanence in the field and movement in these remote territories will allow an ethnographic view that is difficult to obtain even by state officials, since most of them lack the time and budgets to penetrate these territories, as has already been demonstrated in the interviews carried out by the project already mentioned.

Additionally, the incorporation of audiovisual and cartographic elements will illuminate new dynamics regarding the history of the armed conflict, and the new dynamics, conflicts and opportunities of the post-conflict.

After being socialized, it is expected that these results will contribute towards a more nuanced and rigorous vision of the history of these departments and, in particular, of the challenges and opportunities of the post-conflict, particularly in terms of the possibilities of transforming the productive bases of the territories with the goal of building a just and lasting peace.

It is expected that the beneficiary population groups will be the same communities interviewed, since most of them lack historical memory exercises among themselves, and also the recognition of their dignity and work in the midst of the armed conflict.

They will also benefit indirectly if there is an impact on the implementation of the Peace Agreement, at least to minimize the criminalization of coca producers, provide recognition of the new challenges that these communities face when abandoning illicit crops, and optimize the implementation of productive programs.

Public officials and NGOs involved in the implementation of the Agreement will also benefit, with whom this work will be socialized, since it is expected that it will serve to improve the design and implementation of the economic planning components of the Agreement, particularly the PDET and the PNIS.
Effective start/end date2/1/1911/30/19

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Main Funding Source

  • Installed Capacity (Academic Unit)


  • Bogotá D.C.


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