Drug Farmers Seek Alternatives

Drug Farmers Seek Alternatives
Posted by FoM on July 25, 2001 at 11:56:12 PT
By Sibylla Brodzinsky
Source: St. Petersburg Times 
As the U.S. Congress debates funding for a new counterdrug initiative in Latin America, the United Nations is asking Colombia to accept international monitoring of the U.S.-sponsored crop spraying program that is coming under mounting attack here from politicians and peasants alike. The U.N. Drug Control Program's representative in Bogota, Klaus Nyholm, said the Colombian government was studying the proposal for an audit of the drug crop spraying campaign, which he called "inhuman," for targeting small farmers, and "ineffective." 
"We can't do anything to prevent it but an international audit would be able to document what is being done," he said. A controversial U.S.-sponsored aerial spraying campaign to eradicate half this nation's coca and poppy fields has Colombian farmers clamoring for less destructive alternatives to end their economic dependence on drug crops. Washington is funding the counternarcotics offensive, known as Plan Colombia, with the bulk of the $1.3-billion in aid approved last year. Congress is now considering an additional $676-million for Colombia and its Andean neighbors. As of June, Colombia's anti-narcotics police had fumigated 127,400 acres of coca crops, mostly in Putumayo province on the border with Ecuador where nearly half of the cocaine-producing bushes are grown. While Colombian and U.S. officials hailed the results as a major advance in the drug war, politicians here are questioning the policy as unjust and ill-conceived. "An anti-narcotics policy with its prime focus on fumigation is a policy that is condemned to failure," said Sen. Juan Manuel Ospina. While Colombia has been using aerial fumigation against drug crops since 1992, the area of coca and poppy cultivation has skyrocketed to more than 400,000 acres. As a new crop-dusting offensive began last week in the provinces of Cauca and Narino, national Human Rights Ombudsman Eduardo Cifuentes called for an immediate suspension of the spraying, citing the lack of an approved environmental protection plan and the absence of effective alternative development programs. "There are no real programs for crop substitution, except attempts that are being carried out in Putumayo province," Cifuentes wrote in a letter to Justice Minister Romulo Gonzalez. As the aggressive aerial spraying began in Putumayo in December, nearly 40 communities there agreed to manually eradicate their illegal crops to forestall fumigation, in exchange for government aid and investment in infrastructure. But, according to Ospina, only two of the communities have received the promised subsidies, leading many farmers who signed the pacts to replant coca bushes. The government's representative for social programs in Putumayo, Gonzalo de Francisco, was not available for an interview. Though the crop substitution programs in Putumayo have yet to work, farmers in Cauca and Narino are angered that they have not been offered the same option, although their governor has repeatedly presented alternative development strategies for the region. Meanwhile, the Colombian Senate called hearings with government officials to question the fumigation policy, and two senators plan to introduce a bill that would change the focus of the anti-narcotics program from aerial spraying to offering the hundreds of thousands of peasant farmers who cultivate drug crops a legal alternative. "Fumigation does not resolve the problem, but it worsens others. We are not in favor of the illegal crops but rather against an irrational policy," said Ospina, one of the sponsors of the bill. Ospina's bill would not prohibit aerial spraying altogether, but would make it a last recourse if social programs to wean peasants off the illegal crops fail. But Floro Tunubala, governor of Cauca province, currently targeted in the spray campaign, sees little support in the government for alternatives to spraying. "They are going to go ahead with the fumigations, trampling everyone," he said after two days of meetings with President Andres Pastrana and drug policy officials in Bogota to try to halt spraying in his province. He also met with U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson who he said told him the spraying was necessary to get approval in Washington for new funding. Tunubala, along with governors of five other southern Colombian provinces, has led efforts to secure funding from the European Union to offer farmers alternatives to growing drug crops and securing markets for the new products. But the government, Tunubala said, appears willing to invest in social development only once the crops have been sprayed. The lag time between the destruction of the crops and the arrival of government help, however, is driving many farmers further into the jungle to replant the drug crops. "The government's position is to fumigate first and then repair the (social) damage it causes. We are asking that it be turned around," he said. Note: As the U.S. Congress debates funding for a new counterdrug initiative in Latin America, the United Nations is asking Colombia to accept international monitoring of the U.S.-sponsored crop spraying program that is coming under mounting attack here from politicians and peasants alike.Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)Author: Sibylla BrodzinskyPublished July 25, 2001 Copyright: 2001 St. Petersburg TimesContact: letters sptimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:U.N. Drug Control Program Drug War News Vote Saves Colombian Anti-Drug Funds Wants Audit of Colombia Cocaine Spraying CannabisNews Articles - Putumayo
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Comment #18 posted by dddd on July 26, 2001 at 07:44:12 PT
Yes...Eudora can be used on a Mac....You cant beat a PC forgood price and value nowdays..My Mac is old and slow bytodays standards,,but it's like an old shoe,,,very comfortable,and quite familiar.......LoL...dddd
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on July 26, 2001 at 07:33:59 PT
You could be correct about Macs. I've only had a PC. The one we are looking at this afteroon is this one. The 900 series ( The Cheap One ) is the one we will probably get. It comes with a CD Burner and printer and monitor. I'm going to get a 17 inch monitor because I have a tough time with a 15 inch monitor. Can't see very well anymore. Check it out! Use Eudora email and not OE if you want to avoid a lot of viruses in my opinion and if you have a PC. I don't know if you can use Eudora with a Mac though.
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Comment #16 posted by dddd on July 26, 2001 at 07:12:02 PT
I hate to say it
..but I am happy,and proud to have my Mac...I think thatthese virus makers just dont bother hassling withtrying to infect Macs,because there's not that manyof them around.Macs are immune to most PC viruses,,,,,,and they are way more deluxe too....PCs' are wanna-be Macs.dddd
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on July 26, 2001 at 07:01:46 PT
Here's the article about virus
Here's the link to the virus article that I posted on Cannabis News. It's the one from Wired. I was surprised that there weren't more comments. Because of a virus floating around now, not the one from the article, I think I will be ordering a new computer today. Just by coincidence Gateway called yesterday and we talked about it and since the price is getting reasonable we might get another computer even though my computer is fine. My husband then will have a computer of his own and that would be nice. Watch out for the sircam virus.Smoking Mad Over Pot Virus's the removal tool if you are concerned you have the sircam virus. I used this and a editor from Map did too so far with no trouble. I am not sending any email so if you get something from Cannabis News it isn't from me so delete it please. mm.removal.tool.htm
What's New In Drug Policy Reform
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Comment #14 posted by Darb on July 26, 2001 at 00:09:54 PT
Marijuana Virus (English Version)
I found a link to an english version of the article Lehder posted about the Marijuana virus. Sounds pretty interesting, might help spark more discussion about marijuana in the masses in the long run at least.
Smoking Mad Over Pot Virus
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on July 25, 2001 at 22:10:06 PT
Thanks Lehder 
I put the one article on this page and I have another page where I put the other link. Good articles. Thanks!Colombia Drug War News
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Comment #12 posted by Lehder on July 25, 2001 at 21:46:29 PT
A Dutch Perspective
Here is an article on Plan Colombia from Radio Netherlands. It's a few months old (I'll be embarrassed if it already appeared here!) and doesn't say much that has not been well discussed here at cannabisnews. But what we find and infer by reading between the lines in U.S. reports is written in the Netherlands simply, plainly and upfront. It all must look so simple and obvious to Europeans - what must they think of us? - yet most Americans would deny it, would be angered, insulted and ready to fight or imprison you for speaking the simple truth as the Dutch do.'s a compendium on Dutch drug policy as written by the Dutch: Cheney last year made $36,000,000, George Bush about $3,000,000. Wouldn't it be great to have just enough to go to a peaceful place and do the interesting and creative things we want to, to think and work very hard and advance civilization and try to understand the universe, what it is and why the hell we are here. But of course if you have no real interests and have never given any thought to anything but yourself....Cuánto usted necesita, los muchachos blancos?
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Comment #11 posted by freedom fighter on July 25, 2001 at 21:35:56 PT
Mr. cynic
allright man!I just wonder how many would really know what is really going on..I am not talking about folks who stop by here..we are too enlightened..Last week at my so-called treatment, I was amazed that my terp.(interpreter) did not even know what cannabis is.She was about my age and she did not know what cannabis is.I had to explain..It is just another term for
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on July 25, 2001 at 19:55:56 PT
My 2 cents
I always use to wonder what would possibly trigger World War III. The more I learn about the drug war the more it seems like the drug war itself could cause it. It sure is a tool for world domination.
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Comment #9 posted by lookinside on July 25, 2001 at 19:27:55 PT:
if i had to guess who is closer to the truth here, i'd have to agree with lehder...we have megalomania loose in WARshington...i'm afraid the united states' huge economy is being sustained by the rape of the rest of the planet...the government's decisions concerning global warming, and it's approach in the "war on drugs"(both are irrational) leads me to believe in a hidden agenda...power is being concentrated in the multinational corporations...i think the U.S. government is merely the political arm of the multinational's cartel...follow the money, folks...if we can figure out where the dollars are ending up, we will know who's REALLY behind this whole mess...
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Comment #8 posted by givemhell on July 25, 2001 at 19:26:51 PT
get their blood
Instead of shooting the Columbians they need to gas them and capture them alive. Then they could kill them by drawing out all their blood and send it back to the United States to help with the blood shortage. No. Bad idea. That assumes the government cares about the United States.
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Comment #7 posted by SWAMPIE on July 25, 2001 at 18:30:03 PT
As I commented in an earlier thread,I sincerely believe that this war is a part of the"Pinkie-and The Brain" syndrome,and "The Brain"will stop at nothing to"Take Over The World"!!!!!This government wants the land/oil /gas-energy rights to keep indulging the rich peoples' habits,the VERY cheap labor,and the ability to expand into a larger power!!The"United States of South Amerikka"to be exact!!These indigenous people are easily trained to do what the"Thinkers"want them to do,just dangle a big enough carrot,and they will follow!!!The people of this country will do anything to get out of any kind of labor!!Why not pay some poor Spanish-speaking person a small wage/food to be your slave??They will work for peanuts!{no offense meant to anyone of that nationality}.Our government can't get the colored people to work like slaves since slavery was abolished,other than to sell drugs;Again,no offense meant to people of color,but look around you on any given day,and see who buys $200.00 in lottery tickets,then buys $5.00 worth of bologna on the Welfare card to feed their kids!To make matters worse,the balance on that card is $900.00!!!!!Seen it more than once,different people,different places!!!Who are they trying to kid????We need to adopt a review system in this country to get these IDIOT NIMRODS that we call our POLITICIANS to do what they are paid to do!!!That means to EXPRESS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!ALL OF THE PEOPLE!!!!!!! AS ALWAYS,ONWARD THROUGH THE FOG!!!SWAMPIE
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Comment #6 posted by Lehder on July 25, 2001 at 17:58:30 PT
"Crescit Eundo"
 - lema del estado de Méjico Nuevo
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Comment #5 posted by Pontifex on July 25, 2001 at 17:04:02 PT:
Shaking their moneymakers
Dr. Russo, it's always a treat to read your comments. Thanks for stopping in.Doctor asks, "Who gives a rat's rear what Amerika wants?"Columbian politicians care a great deal. As politicians, their job is to spend money. And $$$ from the US are much more attractive now than paltry Columbian taxes/donations or even bribes from the FARC. Can't you tell? Even the smallest regional governor is drooling to get some of that Yanqui cash -- and though they may inveigh against spraying, they won't rule it out because they'd be kicked off the gravy train.Lehder, I admire your imagination and skepticism, but I think the issue here is much less than a global conspiracy. I think the whole Columbian mess is just a bunch of politicians, farmers and insurgents vying for their share of a multi-billion dollar industry. The politicians may come up with some tortured excuses to funnel money to their supporters -- but then again, that's their job, and they're professionals. No imperial conspiracy theory is needed -- though one shouldn't rule it out...
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Comment #4 posted by Lehder on July 25, 2001 at 16:38:42 PT
War on Drugs = War on Civilization the unstated aim of the federal government of the United States of America is the attainment of total control of the Earth, including all its material resources andpeoples, by economic, political and military means. The achievement of this requires the expenditure of vast amounts of money over several decades. A major part of thismoney comes from covert U.S. government trafficking in illegal drugs, primarily the addictive drugs cocaine and heroin. U.S.-sponsored world-wide drug prohibition,a.k.a. the "War on Drugs", is primarily a tactic to keep street prices high and profits astronomical, regardless of the huge social and personal damage done. U.S.-sponsoreddrug prohibition will continue until either the U.S. attains its aim of complete military and political domination of the Earth (which is still some time away, if it ever happens) orthe junta which rules the U.S. and which aims at total control is removed from power. Only an alliance of anti-fascist nations, and sustained resistance by people who value their freedom, can prevent the subjugation of the Earth to those intent on controlling and exploiting it. Repeal of the laws, and of the U.S.-imposed international treaties, prohibiting possession and sale of drugs which are presently illegal would remove the enormous profits derived from wholesale illegal drug trafficking and cut off a majorsource of the money required by the U.S. for the achievement of its aim of total world domination. Obviously the U.S. will never repeal these laws and treaties, so it is up tothe other countries of the world to do so, if they value their sovereignty, freedom and cultural tradition.
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Comment #3 posted by Cajun01 on July 25, 2001 at 16:05:15 PT:
What's up Doc?
Glad to see ya back Dr. Russo. I take a lot of stock in what you have to say, and appreciate your professional opionion.I think it is a travesty what governments do in the name of the laws that they create or manipulate at will. I wonder how they sleep at night knowing the damage they cause or if they even care.To All: Keep up the fight...
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Comment #2 posted by Mr. Cynic on July 25, 2001 at 14:24:39 PT
Campus Protests
Like you, I would love to see protests of any form against this madness; however, since we are using mercenaries and not drafting citizens for this war the incentive for protest is simply not there.  During Vietnam the college population had a real interest in demonstrating against the war - survival. Unfortunately, until this reaches the catastrophic stage, nothing will change.
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on July 25, 2001 at 14:00:08 PT:
What Uncle Sam Wants, Uncle Sam Gets (or Takes)
"He also met with U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson who he said told him the spraying was necessary to get approval in Washington for new funding."Who gives a rat's rear what Amerika wants, that country that routinely ignores the pleas of rational Colombians that ask for relief from this crime against nature?I have weighed in on this one enough. All the spraying truly represents is a subsidy to Amerikan chemical companies. It cannot achieve its objectives. It can merely kill the ecosystem and all the poor campesinos that attempt to eke out an existence there. It's enough to make a sentient being weep for the futility. I, for one, would love to see the campuses erupt on this issue, as in days of yore. 
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