Monday, December 22, 2003


There's developing news on the US sponsored war on the coca plant in Colombia that merits the attention of anyone interested in the atmospheric health of the planet. The Washington Post reports the fumigation policy has indeed succeeded in reducing the cultivation of the coca plant in Putumayo province by "93 percent after three years of intensive U.S.-financed aerial herbicide spraying." However, the subtitle of the piece is Fighting Spikes in Province Despite Anti-Drug Program.

Thousands of gallons of an untested Monsanto herbicide were dumped on over 150,000 acres of land. This ecologically suicidal program was supposed to end the decades old civil war in Colombia. Yet, eradicating the plant didn't eliminate the demand in the US; it merely pushed the cultivation outside that incomprehensibly large perimeter of poisoned earth, bordered by the Putumayo river, c.1,000 mi (1,600 km) long, rising in the Andes, and flowing SE to the Amazon in NW Brazil. And the civil strife continues unabated.

...less coca has not translated into less violence, the long-term Colombian objective, in Putumayo. Neither a new economy nor a stronger local government has taken hold, as envisioned by the anti-drug plan, and the military is still struggling to keep down a potent guerrilla force.

Colombian and U.S. authorities have long said that coca production provides the motivation and financial fuel for the country's nearly four-decade civil war. But the continuing violence in a province that has been the chief venue of U.S. anti-drug assistance challenges that notion. It also shows the difference in the benchmarks for success, which the Bush administration measures as a swift reduction in drug crops and the Colombian government envisions as a lasting peace.

The US has wasted $2.4 billion in mostly military assistance to Colombia since 2000 under the premise of eliminating the drug trade. You can hardly call this money well spent.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home