Collateral Damage from Colombia's Drug War 

Collateral Damage from Colombia's Drug War 
Posted by CN Staff on May 18, 2002 at 14:05:58 PT
By Reese Erlich 
Source: Common Dreams
Walking along a dirt trail in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, subsistence farmer Santiago Tanguila says life in this village on the Colombian border has always been difficult. But now, he says, pointing to trees with yellow, withered leaves, the village's 32 residents are facing a new challenge. In an attempt to kill coca leaf -- the raw material for cocaine -- Colombian planes are using a U.S.-manufactured herbicide near the border with Ecuador. 
The aerial spraying has caused widespread crop damage and illness because winds often blow the toxic liquid into Ecuador, according to government officials, environmental groups and local farmers such as Tanguila. About 10,000 Ecuadorans have been affected by the aerial spraying, according to the environmental group Ecological Action, based in Quito, Ecuador's capital. The fumigation effort is financed by Plan Colombia, a multibillion-dollar program, partially financed by the United States, to cut back cocaine production. The Colombians use RoundupUltra, a glyphosate-based herbicide manufactured by the U.S. company Monsanto, mixed with a locally made chemical that causes the poison to stick to the leaf. "This liquid covers everything," said Tanguila, who is president of the Indigenous Association of San Francisco 2. "It wrecks our agriculture. It affects everything we grow." Monsanto says RoundupUltra, which is used as a weed killer in the United States, is safe for humans and plants when properly applied. At worst, it could cause temporary eye and skin irritation, according to company spokeswoman Janice Armstrong. She declined to comment about the herbicide's use in the war on drugs. But residents of San Francisco 2 want the spraying stopped. In February, they filed a class action lawsuit for unspecified damages in Washington against the Dyn Corp., a Virginia firm responsible for the spraying. Company executives want the suit dismissed, arguing that U.S. courts should not be given jurisdiction and that the company is involved in a legal program authorized by the U.S. Congress. A judge is expected to rule within the next several weeks whether the case should proceed. "We have a strong case," said Terry Collingsworth, the village's lawyer and general counsel for the International Labor Rights Fund in Washington. "Plan Colombia was never designed to spray inside Ecuador." All Ecuadorans living within three miles of Colombia and 89 percent residing within six miles of the border have reported symptoms of herbicide poisoning such as respiratory problems, headaches, skin rashes and intestinal bleeding, according to Adolfo Maldonado, a Spanish doctor who helped prepare the study by Ecological Action. Farmers also say the spraying has killed their coffee, yucca and mango crops and polluted local water supplies. Many of the fumigation victims are Quichua Indians, the largest tribal group in Ecuador with some 110,000 members, some of whom live along the border. Down a dirt path, Quichua farmer Judith Rodriguez recalls the misty cloud of herbicide that hit her farm just a half-mile from the border. "I got sick with fever. I have body aches and intense headaches," she said. "I had rashes on my skin." The Colombian government insists that its planes have been instructed not to spray closer than six miles from the border. But such claims are disputed by dozens of Ecuadoran farmers in the border province of Sucumbios, one of the poorest provinces in Ecuador. Maximo Abad, the mayor of Nueva Loja, the provincial capital formerly called Lago Agrio, reports dozens of complaints from peasants who have been affected by aerial spraying. In addition to physical harm, there is the "psychological impact," he said. "The fumigation is done with airplanes guarded by helicopters. They are violating Ecuadoran airspace and scaring children." Ecuador's Ministry of Environment says it would like to conduct its own scientific study to determine the impact of spraying on agriculture and health. Ministry official Melania Yanez, however, says not all problems reported by farmers are caused by fumigation. Low coffee yields and smaller mangoes are more than likely not caused by herbicides, since toxins typically kill a plant outright, she says. But Yanez says the ministry remains concerned because of the "health symptoms reported by farmers are consistent with pesticide poisoning." Ecuadoran officials have asked their Colombian counterparts for a written guarantee that they will refrain from aerial spraying within six miles of the border. To date, the request has been refused. Meanwhile, Quichua farmers say they will continue to push for compensation from the United States. "We want them to pay us for our damaged crops and health problems," Tanguila said. "How else can we recoup our losses?" Note: Ecuador Border Tainted by U.S.-Made Coca Killer.Newshawk: Mike G.Source: Common Dreams (ME)Author: Reese Erlich Published: Saturday, May 18, 2002 Copyright: 1997-2002 Common DreamsContact: editor Website: Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News The Colombia Quandary - Patrick Leahy Growers Bear Brunt of Plan Colombia Rights Disaster
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Comment #7 posted by Toker00 on May 19, 2002 at 19:09:33 PT
You are right where you need to be, P4me. Don't run off to Cannada, please. I join you in PISSING ON WASHINGTON. June the sixth, is it?Your comments are right on time, dude. You are not alone.P4ME-2Peace. Realize, then Legalize.
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Comment #6 posted by 2Spooky on May 19, 2002 at 07:31:48 PT
heheheh! I would be interested to know what constitutes "perfect" (for men OR women).In my experience, perfection is a fluid concept, and is more realisticaly replaced by a threshold of acceptability ;).
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Comment #5 posted by Tigress58 on May 19, 2002 at 06:41:11 PT
p4me and the Perfect Woman
p4me - I am the perfect woman and single, however, there are NO perfect men out there. I am an extremist also, and keep a tight lid on my tongue because I have a great tendancy to get in trouble with my articulations. I am NOT the female that fits the female stereotype, and find myself condemned and persecuted more often than I care. I have many thoughts on how to change this US government, and benefit the world, however, I have a child I'm raising alone, and prefer to stand alive by his side at least until he reaches legal age. You feel all alone, how do you think I feel?My best benefit to my child and the world is to raise him up to do those things that a renegaid female can't. He is the future, and seems to have a political attitude of social value. 11 more years to get him there.signed p4me2
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Comment #4 posted by p4me on May 18, 2002 at 19:53:37 PT
This is the way I See It
The United States Billionaires want to own all the money in the world. It is not all about having control of all the oil in the world. It is about having say so over everything. Control the World Trade Organization. The Chinese are partnering up to Europe saying the war on terrorism is being driven to gain control of the resources of Latin America and central Asia. They are right. Rockefeller once said you could never have too much money and at one time he personally owned 2% of the wealth of the whole country. They want it all and they want you to work cheap, don't be late, don't park over the line, and p4me. p4me2. I thought maybe I would have met the woman of my dreams if she would have only registered as p4me2. I thought maybe someone would have used p4me2 in some context by now. Maybe I am not communicating. I am trying to turn into a bat using reputed methods. It never has worked before but I am willing to give the prohibitionist the benefit of the doubt on this one. So can someone say p4me2 every once in a while. It has been my little game to see if one person would have said just one time p4me2. I guess it is time to be frank.If you didn't see Bill Mayer's speech at the NORML Convention you will not have full appreciation of what I say plus you need to see it for yourself and aquaint yourself with pot-tv. One thing Mayer said was to have zero intolerance for the lies of the media. I am way aheal of him because I have intolerance for the media before they even lie or silence me one more time. Save a tree and your time. Cancell all your subscriptions if it is published by conglomerate media.Another thing I am ahead of Bill Mayer on is his suggestion that a million people march on Washington and not smoke one joint. Not a bad idea just take you some herbal tea or eat a special brownie before you get out and get in line. Start a single file line that would embrace everything from the Washington Monument to the White House to the steps of Congress. And all at one tip empty about a gallon size Coleman of pee all over Washington. Let them keep that out of the media. AMERICANS SAY P4ME2I thought we thought a like but dam. I must really be some kind of extremist. Holy Shit Cannabat. Doesn't somebody in film school have any creativity? How about on June 6th take a gallon of pee in a glass jar and break it as a ceremony of freedom. Tell them it was an accident in Washington and plea for compassion. Forget the jar in Texas and leave the bar to protest and say you couldn't hold it any longer. In Los Angeles tell them you were going to clean it up before you left. In San Francisco, let it all hang out. Set up a public pee barrel where all the passerby's can register there true feelings. Have a contest to see who can collect the most pee. It is a matter of honor to see how much pee we can collect. We should have collections in front of a DEA office in some city every day. It is a matter of public honor. Isn't someone in New York pissed off. Convert the back of your van into a pisser.When I first started here I used to close with: The land of the free is now the land of pee. I used to think we were all alone together. Now I feel alone. I am an extemist. Hell, I should move to Canada.VAAI
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Comment #3 posted by Tigress58 on May 18, 2002 at 18:54:31 PT
When will accountability 
for actions committed against other countries have its proper impact on this nation. Coffee is sold in this country and I drink the US poison, mangos, and other products. Narco-hips and their environmental standards and clean air acts. Someone once told me this nation can do to Columbia what it pleases because we have more power. That statement is on the level of child abuse. Because I'm an adult bigger and stronger that gives me the right to physically overpower and abuse a child. The thought is no different when applied to another country, or law enforcement piggies, or our political leaders.
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Comment #2 posted by Hopeful Freeman on May 18, 2002 at 17:08:50 PT
Power to the People
"Company executives want the suit dismissed, arguing that U.S. courts should not be given jurisdiction and that the company is involved in a legal program authorized by the U.S. Congress. A judge is expected to rule within the next several weeks whether the case should proceed." ---Sadly this isn't the strangest thing I've ever heard. Who would dare to challange the Tyrants Booming voice? Possibly a Stronger Voice, the united voices of the people. Crimes against humanity have been tolerated too long without any real protest. I say it's about time for the people to be noticed again, and not forgotten. Or has 3 DECADES of pain scared everyone into a demented state of Desenistized silence...
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Comment #1 posted by p4me on May 18, 2002 at 16:20:16 PT
good luck getting that ....
story in an American newspaper. The sheep are being herded by the instruments of corrupt power and the media want no problems with their flock.If people had any sense the New York Times revenue would fall to zero in protest of the biased in the conglomerate media. It is very sad but let us not tell our children in school about America's biggest problem.Starve the economy and have a thrifty meal. VAAI
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