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Day 10: Plan Colombia

I think I’m about three days behind schedule now; I really need to make up some time in the Caribbean. Don’t know how easy that is going to be, absolutely NOTHING has been arranged. I feel quite sick just thinking about it. There are hardly any ferry services in the Caribbean, cruise ships flat refuse to take on casual travellers and the chances of working my passage on a private yacht are probably less than 50:50. In short, I could be stuck in the Caribbean for quite some time.

If any of you know anyone who is in the Caribbean at the moment and has a boat (preferably a speed boat!) PLEASE let me know. It’s getting to the 11th hour here and I don’t want this whole thing to fall apart at the first hurdle. Thanks.

At the moment I’m on the bus to Bogotá. Colombia is beautiful, so green and mountainy and Romancing The Stone. The people are friendly as hell as well, offering me snacks and chatting to me a lot more than the folks from down south. Northerners eh? We rock.

There is still massive poverty here in Colombia though and a large portion of the country is not even under the control of the government as hard left and hard right paramilitaries rule the roost over vast swathes of the nation, and I’m going to give you three guesses how they fund their daft little insurgency. But on the bright side, Colombia is no longer the kidnap capital of the world – that honour has gone to Iraq.

In 1999, the US gave the Colombian government 3.3 billion dollars to institute ‘Plan Colombia’, a grand scheme that involves US planes spraying coca fields with Herbicide, with the intention of killing the cocaine trade at root, so to speak.

Idiots. A child could have pointed out that it wasn’t going to work, and saved the US taxpayer a fair old hunk of cash. Surprisingly(!), the gangsters who produce cocaine didn’t just up sticks from the $6,000,000,000 industry with which they had grown so fond, so when a farmer’s field was ruined by spraying, they would simply go and intimidate some other poor toothless farmer into growing stuff for them somewhere else – like in the delicate ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest.

So what’s the upshot of all this? Well, in the last ten years, there hasn’t been a single percentage drop in cocaine supply from Colombia to the US or Europe, but a lot of rainforest has been trashed. Well done America, next time you’ve got 3.3 billion dollars to waste, how’s about letting me shovel it into a burning well in front of a bunch of starving African AIDS orphans instead? It would be just as productive and much more fun.

I said it in the earlier blog: fair trade cocaine. It’s the only way out of this mess, and the only way Colombia is ever going to get its country’s lush green mountains back. Let’s hope admitted ex-cokehead Barack (replacing admitted ex-cokehead George W – weren’t the 80s great?) can see it in his wisdom to finally bring this ludicrous situation under control and make that unpopular but morally correct decision.

Right, I’m running out of batteries, so just time to say THANK YOU for all your messages of support and for the kind donations to WaterAid. It’s really giving me a lift to know that there are so many people who are willing me to succeed. Can’t wait to see you all again when I pass through the UK at the end of February – keep your diaries free!

Lots of you have been asking how you can get in touch with me on the road. The best way is via email to my yahoo account, or via the ‘Contact’ page, but if you want you can always send me a text on my usual number, but don’t ring it as I haven’t got enough credit.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Dino

    Put some feelers out got the boat but not hopeful. Fingers crossed for you though. Dont fret about the schedule, its just doing it that is important.
    Stock in there kiddo


  2. Robyn

    Hey Graham!! Just watched your blog! Yaz and I were grinning from ear to ear watching you trapsing through south america in your indiana jones hat! Those treacherous bolivian and peruvian roads looked all too familiar – the ‘close your eyes and hope you don’t end up at the bottom of a cliff’ approach is the only way to go! I’m sorry you’ve had a rough start, but you’ll get into it – and I’m so excited for you – it all just looks so fab!
    Take care of yourself you intrepid explorer!
    Robs x

  3. Lorna

    Graham, I am trying everything to get you a boat from travellers websites, brits who live in the caribbean, even the trinidad embassy, tourist information, loads of boat companies and now even trinidad local radio who I’m hoping will put an appeal out on air. I have emailed all guyana shipping to see if there are any cargo boats too but they havent got back. Tried to phone a few times – will keep trying. Sorry – I know its not good news but I want you to know I really am trying here. There are some people who have left comments from your blogs who seem to be resident in the caribbean but I cant access their email address…put in your next blog an appeal for anyone who lives locally to help…I’ll keep going.

  4. Amy

    A big hello from the Fire Management office – and a big WELL DONE!!

    Unfortunately we can’t help you out with a speed boat – if only I had a speed boat – I know where I would be right now!
    But you know what….I am sure you will work something out because you are you!!

    Loving your blogs and in the process of spreading the word – everywhere…I am hooked already and I am sure everybody else will be too!

    Hope to see you in Feb – keep that chin up!

  5. Ray

    Hi Graham, I’ve got some contacts with the yachting community in the Caribbean. I’ll make contact today (13th Jan). Where will you be aiming to leave the South American mainland from? Ray & Anna Pole

  6. Mark Beck

    Hey Graham,

    Colleen and I are enjoying the blogs and videos so far. Such an amazing thing that you are doing. Don’t worry about the speeboat, I’m sure somehow a plan will have been made by you. Can’t wait for the next video…


  7. Webmaster

    [Lindsey said]

    “I laughed, cried and screamed at the screen. Really enjoying the blogs, and videos. asked a someone who used to work in cribbean tourism about the boats…( prob a long shot)”

  8. Lorna

    Graham – are you looking to get from Bogotá into the Caribbean?

    More details/information required. Specifics: pickups, dropoffs, which island nations you’re jumping around, end destination and such like. Please.

    L x

  9. Michelle

    Your expedition is keeping me much entertained while I lie in bed with the flu. Good luck with finding transport across the Caribbean. There was a programme advertised on tv the other day about ‘toys for boys’ which included a nifty gadget that looked like a water version of Back to the Future flying skateboards – I think this could be your answer…

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