Colombia to fumigate ‘illicit’ crops without consent
Colombia in focus ⬿

Colombia to fumigate ‘illicit’ crops without consent

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December 30, 2007

According to a recent article on Narco News, Colombia’s Anti-Narcotics Police will soon begin fumigating illicit crops inside of the country’s Indigenous Territories.

Though not publicly known until November 24, on October 8, the National Narcotics Council approved the new fumigation plan–alleging the government first engaged in a consultation process with the affected communities (which they are required to do by law).

Consultations have “supposedly been carried out in the departments (states) of Guaviare, Magdalena, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Cuaca, Caquetá, Vichada, Arauca and Guainía, and are still pending for Chocó, Amazonas, Antioquia, Córdoba, Valle, Meta, Nariño and Vaupés.”

During the 7th Congress of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC, in its Spanish initials), which took place from December 9 to 15 in the city of Ibagué, Columbia–Narco News spoke to senator and Embera indigenous leader Geradro Jumí, who insists no such consultation process has taken place. According to the well-known journalist Alfredo Molano, at least not one where the government didn’t blackmail “the indigenous with carrot and stick. The stick that they are being accused of drug trafficking and terrorism; the carrot a promise – in return for their approval [of the fumigations] – of extension of the reservations, creation of indigenous-run radio stations, [employment in] forest-ranger programs, schools, health clinics, roads, and – yes, you read it right – attention to human rights.”

Narco News explains, “that is to say, the government has so opted to “award” indigenous communities with benefits that should really be theirs by right. And if that doesn’t work, it can always turn to one of the most effective methods of persuasion: repression, knowledgably administered by the Colombian armed forces backed by members of the so-called “emergent” paramilitary gangs.”

If at first you don’t succeed (convince us you did)

Even more troubling is the danger that come with the fumigation. The chemical they intend to use none other than Monsanto-brand glyphosate (Roundup), a herbicide that is well known to cause irreparable environmental damage wherever it is used.

Toxic rain kills more than the coca, an article published in 2001, provides a good case example:

“Representatives of four indigenous communities protested last January 11 against the damage glyphosate had done to their staple crops (maize, bananas, manioc and other vegetables), their health and the lives of their animals. A delegation from the ombudsman’s office, along with experts from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), visited the area between January 15 and 25 and reported on what they described as a “desolate scene.” There had been “indiscriminate destruction of the jungle, legal crops, medicinal plants and fish-ponds. There is clear evidence that wildlife has fled, rivers are contaminated and production in the region has fallen.”

“Skin and gastro-intestinal problems, fevers, headaches, nausea, colds and vomiting were common among the inhabitants, the mission observed.”

This is despite the police and the national anti-narcotics authority claim that they dropped the herbicide exclusively on the coca plantations, which is by all means true.

It must be said however, that there’s one thing glyphosate didn’t (and still doesn’t ) destroy. Can you guess what it is?

That’s right! it doesn’t kill the coca plant, the one plant they are hell-bent on eradicating in this epic war against drugs.

So then what’s the point of using glyphosate? Is it because of the stylish containers it comes in?

Rather than make assumptions, have a read of the above-mentioned article on Narco News.

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