Colombian Governors Demand Halt To Coca Fumigation

  Colombian Governors Demand Halt To Coca Fumigation

Posted by FoM on July 17, 2001 at 13:32:29 PT
By Yadira Ferrer  
Source: Common Dreams 

Six governors from southern Colombia asked President Andrés Pastrana on Monday to order a halt to the use of the glyphosate and other herbicides in eradicating illicit drug crops, charging that the chemicals endanger human health and the environment. Governors Pablo Muñoz, of Caquet department, Floro Tunubal, of Cauca, Parmenio Cuéllar, of Nariño, Juan Cárdenas of Huila, Iván Guerrero, of Putumayo, and Alfonso Jaramillo, of Tolima, explained to Pastrana that the situation confronting the region is explosive, as 35,000 indigenous peoples and peasants are threatening to rise up in protest against the fumigations. 
Governor Tunubal said that the aerial spraying begun last week under the orders of the National Anti-Narcotics Directorate is an attack ''against the life'' of his community, because the glyphosate used also kills the areas food crops, contaminates the water supply and surrounding jungle and, most importantly, harms the health of the peasant farmers. The fumigation operations are ''costly and ineffective,'' as proved by the experience of the last 25 years. In that period, the authorities have been using the herbicide to eradicate illicit crops - including coca (used to make cocaine), marijuana, and poppies (to produce heroin) - ''but the total area covered by these plantations has expanded from 20,000 to 160,00 hectares,'' Tunubal pointed out. The governors exhorted Pastrana to comply with the accord that was signed in 1999 to put an end to a protest at that time against state-ordered herbicide spraying. The agreement included the suspension of fumigations in exchange for voluntary eradication of the illicit crops by hand. The departmental leaders also called on the president to adopt an alternative plan that they have presented to the international community, proposing the integral development of the southern portion of the country as an alternative to Plan Colombia, which is Pastrana's strategy to combat the drug trade and to attend to social needs. The People's Defender (ombudsman), Eduardo Cifuentes, repeated Monday that the decision of the National Anti-Narcotics Directorate to conduct aerial herbicide fumigation in southern Colombia ''will bring grave consequences for the local ecosystems and for the health of the region's inhabitants.'' ''I believe that the state should have a margin of autonomy in managing its internal policies... and in considering the effects that this decision (to fumigate) has on the environment and the population,'' said the government official, referring to the Pastrana administration's promise to the United States under Plan Colombia to eradicate illicit crops here within the next five years. Plan Colombia, which Bogotá and Washington define as ''a strategy for peace, prosperity and the strengthening of the state,'' has been loudly criticized by some 60 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Colombia, Europe and United States that claim it is causing an escalation of the country's decades-long civil war. The government-sponsored strategy has a budget of 7.5 billion dollars, of which the United States is providing 1.3 billion, largely in military aid for the anti-narcotics efforts underway in the Colombian south and southeast, which are also regions with a high presence of leftist guerrillas. The policy to eradicate the illegal plantations of coca, marijuana and poppies should be carried out, but through measures that are ''reasonable and in line with the Colombian Constitution,'' underscored Cifuentes. The country's environmental legislation involves the universal principle of precaution, which in this case requires the authorities - the Ministry of Environment - to suspend the fumigations until they have scientific proof that its effects are innocuous for people and the environment, said the People's Defender. Nevertheless, in Colombia, the application of glyphosate and other mixes of herbicides and agro-chemicals in anti-drug efforts has continued despite the fact that the Ministry of Environment has said the National Anti-Narcotics Directorate does not possess an environmental management plan for carrying out the fumigations. Marco Romero, of the state-run National University, said in comments to IPS that the Directorate has pursued aerial spraying of drug crops ''in an irresponsible way, violating all the related environmental and constitutional laws.'' The fumigation of illicit crops is outlined in the anti-drug policy executed by the Pastrana government, and is closely linked to the vision the United States holds of the drug trafficking problem, says the academic. In Romero's opinion, the US approach is that the narcotics trade exists because Colombia has illegal drug plantations and, as a result, it is a problem that must be attacked at the source of production. But many Colombian analysts interpret it the other way around: illicit crops exist because they are encouraged by the lucrative drug trade. One proof of this thesis is the ease with which the drug crops reappear in other areas following fumigation at any given site. Nariño's Governor Cuéllar says that the government's zeal to eradicate drug crops using aerial fumigations obeys the obligations the Pastrana administration has to the United States under Plan Colombia and Washington's approach to the narcotics trade. In Cuéllar's opinion, the United States sees the problem as the mere existence of the drug crops, while for Colombians these plantations exist because of ''the poverty and marginalization of the peasant farmers.'' The meeting of Colombia's southern governors coincided Monday with the request in Brussels by European Parliament deputy Joaquín Miranda, of Portugal, that Pastrana renounce aerial spraying of drug crops in the Colombian south and that he back the alternative plan proposed by the departmental leaders. According to the European deputy, the fumigations carried out ''could ruin the possibilities proposed by those communities'' and their authorities to resolve the problem of illicit crops through manual eradication, crop substitution programs and other economic alternatives. The Cauca governor had presented this possibility in April before the European Parliament and the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, both of which gave the alternative plan their support. Published on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 by Inter Press Service. Newshawk: ddddSource: Common Dreams Author: Yadira FerrerPublished: July 17, 2001  Copyrighted: 1997-2001 Common DreamsContact:  editor commondreams.orgWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News Seeks Halt To Aerial Fumigation Program Articles - Glyphosate

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Comment #19 posted by Lehder on July 21, 2001 at 06:10:13 PT
I'll most likely stay too, dddd. But I want my options open; as a Libertarian I do not recognize the legitimacy of national borders for controlling people's movements. I'm even looking into obtaining a Peruvian passport, or other passports. I want to be able to leave and leave for good on short notice.It's not about dope; it's about stupidity and conformity. I went thru the Vietnam era and the government tried to draft me into the military. It failed. But the tone of this war is the same as the last; people have learned nothing. In 1967 if you had hair and opposed the war the streets were full of louts ready to beat you into the pavement. By 1980 you couldn't find anyone who had supported the war: everyone thought it had been foolish. It will be the same here: by 2010 you won't find anybody who wants to imprison smokers. But there will be another war of bigotry and intolerance over something just as useless, certainly here in the U.S. The only chance to avoid a third repetition in my expected lifetime is to force people to learn something about tolerance and the Bill of Rights by 1) war-crimes trials and 2) removing government from education. Fat chance.I wish more people were fiercer and more radical. My spirit today is with the anarchists in Genoa. I'm getting really impatient with this shit. I was asking myself if I'm radical enough to join a group, if such existed, which protested by mass vomiting in government buildings. Hey, if george bushhogger sr. can puke into the lap of the Japanase prime minister, then I can vomit where I please too. I wonder who President Bush Jr. will puke on in Italy? Our government makes me sick. heading out, gotta go for a walk.
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Comment #18 posted by dddd on July 20, 2001 at 23:32:44 PT
I hear ya Lehder
I seriously considered relocating several times recently,,but Idecided that I'll probably just stay here and see if I can continueto pretend I'm normal,,,and keep developing my techniques onhow to not get busted....mastering the art of living in the shadows,with minimal contact with the empire,,keepin' the rear view mirrorreal clean,,and checking the brake lites and turn signals often..I agree,,things are going to get alot worse,before they get better,,,,hopefully,I can avoid the Gulag Americanica,,which has destroyedthousands more lives than any drug could...dddd
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Comment #17 posted by Lehder on July 20, 2001 at 21:17:07 PT
"I have already started looking for places other than the US to live. I have no desire to live in a police state, nor do I want to be here when the shit really hits the fan."--CC#3An immigration lawyer in Ontario told me that the Canadian Parliament is currently revising their law and will make it easier for Americans to qualify as "landed immigrants." They are expected to finish later this year or early next. Canada loves educated people, young people and people with Canadian relatives. I'd love to see a U.S. brain drain. It wouldn't take long.CC is right. This is going to get bloody. The government is not going to change. As the ugliness becomes apparent to more and more, and as the war becomes less popular, the government's attitude will only become all the more inflexible. You can learn this from the histories of similar conflicts like those of the three Barbara Tuchman excerpts I copied into another article's comment boxes earlier today. I know, it seems crazy to me too - civil war, genocide, government hate crimes - all right here in America. But conditions are a lot worse here today than they were 10 years ago. It gets obvious after a while, especially when one sees how absolutely identical the government's attitude is to that of other evil and very ignorant oppressors of the past. If you can get out, GO. The wisest Jews started leaving Germany in 1933. You know about the rest. Emigrating is a hassle, but it sure beats life in prison. It sure beats the grave. 
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Comment #16 posted by Elliot Fleener on July 20, 2001 at 08:52:04 PT
gosh,Kaptinemo's off his rocker
how ridiculous.Suggesting that there are such things going on. Why,if stuff like this was going on,it would be in all the papers.And surely,many of the honest,good,and true officials in our governmentwould have spoken out.  I mean there are certain people who would neverlet something like Kap suggests happen.Good honest politician such asBob Barr,and Henry Hyde,  people of integrity like Bill McCollum andDiane Feinstein,they would never allow such things to go on withoutsounding the alarm to the amerikan people. Now if you want to change things,join me as "good man #2",in the onlyreasonable solution we've heard lately.After you sign on,we'll onlyneed 498 other guys to put Neils plan into action! Dont forget,after Neiltakes over,those who are part of the 500 will be inside the beltway andprobably get a key to the Lincoln Bedroom.
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Comment #15 posted by kaptinemo on July 20, 2001 at 07:32:44 PT:
You asked, here's one answer:
I realize that I may have come off as a bit dramatic. But the degree of power these so-called non-governmental - and highly secretive - organizations have is such that I believe my seemingly alarmist statements are warranted. But I leave to the reader to decide these things.I've been aware of these organizations for 25 years now; how individuals who belong to these interlocking groups, with their own ideas of how human society should be organized, have gained places of power within society. And given the fact that they are so deeply interwined with corporations (in fact, many can be said to be the Corporate State, themselves) and the impact that they have on daily life, the danger of such a concentration of power in the hands of a shadowy few cannot be underestimated.But you want a specific answer on how to challenge them? One route is very simple, really:A few years ago, in the late 1980's early '90's, a book came out in Britain called The Brotherhood which claimed that the police forces of that country had been infiltrated by one of these non-governmental organizations and had been dispensing some very lopsided 'justice' as a result.This raised such a very public stink that there were laws proposed that required civil servants of any stripe to reveal their membership in any private organization that might affect their ability to carry out their duties in a un-biased fashion. Particularly if that organization had political aims, but had not declared itself as being a lobbying organization.Now, this is nothing new in the States; I remember very clearly that when I went to work on a job that required a security clearance, they asked all kinds of questions, like:Have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? (no joke, they did ask; like a Commie infiltrator would ever say yes) The KKK? Any group that advocates the violent overthrow of the government of the US?They could add a question that asks: "Do you belong to an private non-governmental organization that seeks to use government positions and resources to further it's aims?"That would shoot down about 80% of the pols in the US. If they lied and it could be proved that they had and be prosecuted, it would be a powerful deterrant to this kind of thing.But those in power are not a bunch of harmless little old ladies having a kaffeklatsch; they are very dangerous, indeed. Depending upon who you read, they have had a very large say in the affairs of the world, especially for the last 50 years, and are not about to let that slip out of their hands. The very mysterious deaths of people ranging from anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood to Nigerian environmentalist Ken Saro Wiwa of Nigeria seem to be linked to these people, if only because they stood in the way of continued profits...and the political power that money provides.And those profits include the illicit drug trade.Think about it; if your banking empire is kept afloat by the estimated 33% percent 'extra' M1 currency provided by the illicit trade, woud you want it curtailed? Of course not! You'd want to keep the trade underground and highly profitable. So you'd bankroll candidacies of the kind of pols that Lenin referred to as 'useful idiots'. They would come on as standing four-square against the scourge of drug abuse...while getting contributions from people who directly benefit from the trade remaining illegal. Mexican Presidente Fox is a perfect example of this: makes noises against narcos - but accepts their money.Sorry, I didn't mean to be preachy. All I ask is that the readers of this don't take my word for it, but research for themselves the connections between the pols, secret societies, corporations, and the actions of government for the last 50+ years. I repeat: after following some of these links, you may find yourself deeply disturbed that your view of conventional reality has been unnervingly deconstructed. Don't blame me for any insomnia you may experience because of it.
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Comment #14 posted by dddd on July 18, 2001 at 10:34:08 PT
...It will definitly change your view,,,like Kap warned;"and be prepared to have your entire world turned upside-down and inside-out. " aint pretty.....dddd
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Comment #13 posted by Kevin Hebert on July 18, 2001 at 09:58:00 PT:
OK Kap
You have piqued my curiousity and I just purchased Sutton's America's Secret Esablishment on Amazon. I don't know how much I believe in the idea of a secret society running the world, but I suppose it is possible. The question is, if this is the case, what should we do about it?
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Comment #12 posted by kaptinemo on July 18, 2001 at 08:58:42 PT:
Sorry, TM, I'm afraid it's more involved than that
Ever wonder why the Soviets folded?Lot's of people make the mistake of thinking that we 'outspent' the Soviets militarily, as if we were playing some game of financial 'chicken' with them, and they couldn't up the ante.but the truth is, as always, stranger than fiction.The Soviet economy was never anything but a one-legged cripple forced into a race with an Olympic athlete. And the only reason why it lasted as long as it did was massive infusions of trade credits from the West. Namely, the United States. And every Soviet client state was nothing more than a branch from the same river. China, viet Nam, it didn't matter. The bullets and missiles which killed our soldiers there came from factories built with Western money.You don't have to believe me, just go here: be prepared to have your entire world turned upside-down and inside-out. I also suggest that you go here:BEHIND THE SCENE view some interesting quotes. And read some more from the other links provided there.And don't blame me if you have a hard time sleeping afterwards.
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Comment #11 posted by dddd on July 17, 2001 at 20:25:42 PT
Good point TroutMask
....But it has alot in common with Vietnam,,whenyou consider the filtering,and censoring of news,,,and the false,and/or biased news that is fed to thecountry,,and nowdays,,the world....dddd
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Comment #10 posted by lookinside on July 17, 2001 at 20:20:30 PT:
chinese curse:
"may you live in INTERESTING times"...first off: how many of you believe that columbia is spending$7.5 BILLION when the U.S. is ONLY kicking in $1.3 BILLION???our government must be awfully good at laundering the other$6.2 BILLION plus bonuses to those confederates they'vepurchased...i AIN'T buying it...i believe that more efficient methods are going to beemployed soon in the eradication efforts...invade thefarm...execute the farmer and his family, destroy theillegal crops, steal anything usable,burn the rest,repeat...that way the soldiers can get a supply of untaintedcoca leaves to give them strength for the next farm's called rape and's been effective forseveral's more macho...much better photoops...we appease the ecologically, frogs, andbirds survive...the jungle returns to the cleared many of us hate our "civilization" and the horrors itcommits on it's inhabitants...maybe a comet willland,(somewhere far away) and eliminate this disease calledmankind as one did with the sometimes seemsjust that NATURE would wreak revenge...she'll need to hurrythough...we may do it to ourselves malthus andlook up studies on population density...and then look around...lastly: the vested interests that benefit from the statusquo will do NOTHING to prevent our self destruction...the"power elite" cannot see the threat of their actions againstthemselves...anymore than marie antoinette could...the onlydifference is that our methods of destruction(globalwarming, biological warfare, poisoning of our ecosphere) aremuch more democratic...they will take US down with them...maybe the solution is to remove those who support ANY attackon basic human rights...we can start with our government...DAMN, i get angry and frustrated sometimes...
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Comment #9 posted by pissedonandoff on July 17, 2001 at 19:40:29 PT:
leave Columbia alone
Columbia is a free and independent country. We shouldn't be sending advisors down there telling them how to kill their own people. Nothing we are doing is making any sense on the WOD. If we were going to kill their plants why don't they drop the left over agent orange we have been paying to store for 25 years. The only way to stop the fighting is to get the money out of the equation. Let them make as much of it as they can sell and let them live on a farmer's income. Let the price fall.The USA should work in its borders to limit demand or whatever. It should leave Columbia alone. I realize it is not that simple, but totally legalizing it Columbia like the British Ambassador said makes more sense than the killing going on now.
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Comment #8 posted by Trout Mask on July 17, 2001 at 19:38:25 PT
Sorry, Colombia can only loosely be compared to Vietnam because there's only one superpower involved here. Can't forget Chinese support of Them during the last, uh, police action.
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on July 17, 2001 at 18:59:22 PT:
It was Santayana, CC
And damn if we aren't making exactly the same mistake he warned us about, so very long ago.As to the Global Empire 4D mentioned; the American people keep making the mistake of thinking in terms of purely military force when the word 'empire' is bandied about. They think of Hollywood images of DeMille 'holy pictures', with guys dressed up in faux-Roman armor, with silly feathered helmets, viciously swinging swords against raggedy-assed looking, helpless locals.Well, today's empire makers work through non-governmental organizations that cross national boundaries. They wear anonymous but expensive business suits, make deals over their cell phones that plunge millions into penury around the world in days. They make obscenely huge profits for their corporations...and get the military of 'their' nations to perform real arm-twisting when sweet-talking and getting 30 pieces of silver won't suffice to induce local potentates - or patriots, for that matter - sell their own people out.I remember a few years ago when I overheard some corp-rat wag waxing philosophic about the 'New Economy', and how it would create a huge gap between rich and poor...and the poor somehow deserved it because they were so dumb to let it happen to them. Never mind how things were being manipulated solely at the top of the economic pyramid by it's penthouse denizens, that this was purely the centralization of economic power into the hands of a few. If you weren't smart enough to see what was happening and get on board the life raft, you were too stupid to be allowed to live. Social Darwinism, plain and simple. But you can't have an empire without a servant (nice way of saying 'slave') class to do the grunt work.Empire. The word leaves a nasty taste on the tongue of any true American. But that's exactly what's happening.
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Comment #6 posted by dddd on July 17, 2001 at 18:31:10 PT
the sixties
I like the way you said all that NewMexican...;"The 60's were a precurser to this era.".....Indeed they were,and I must agree,that I share your thing about the cataclysmic nature,,,, of the near future........It may sound simplistic to putit this way,,,,but I think,something Big is going to happen...thestrange,,continues to become stranger,,,the Monster continuesto increase in size and power,while the masses are becomingendoctrinated through a global media,,,,and the Empire of theglobe,is being further created.................You could liken it toempires of the past ,,but this time,,it's an attempt at a Global Empire,,and it is happening really fast lately.....................trippy......................dddd 
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Comment #5 posted by New Mexican on July 17, 2001 at 17:28:07 PT
Its' gonna get worse. before it gets better!
So hang there! Thanks everyone for the constant inspiration and insightful posts'!Dan B., kaptinemo, dddd, sm247, jose m., cannabis crusader,FOM of couse and all the rest of give me faith and hope and thats all we need!We are at war ON Columbia and it's gonna blow up in our face folks!Keep your eyes on Genoa, Italy and watch the new world oder stink up the citizens of Italy's live and turn them all into citizen/activists. The 60's were a precurser to this era. By the end of the year, a global anti bush, anti-amerikan, anti-war on civil/human rights, will push the earths agendas into the homes and workspaces of every human on this planet. Its called global warming weather and now that everyone is focused on this phenomonon, we will want someone to blame and I wouldn't want to be a pro-oil/pharma/oppresser. Can you spell 'backlash'? To anyone who has already left the USA out there, let us know how it feels to have left the country, only to have shrub and company, doing everything they can to make sure you don't have a future to look forward to. In fact, to those posters outside of the US: help! what does the outside world plan on doing to save itself from the clutches of this 'coup' and is anyone planning on sending aid to amerikans in distress? Now we know how the jews, gypsies, minorities and gays felt in Germany, will we let it happen again? I think it will get close and then we will have an epiphany. The Northridge quake was a recent example of the Earths power of us. You could of smoked a huge spliff with 20 cops without anyone blinking an eye, for about a month after the quake. So if were headed for cataclysmic weather, cyclones, drought, etc. don't you think you should be taking precautionary measures?I think everyone probably is. Let's hope!
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Comment #4 posted by nugghits on July 17, 2001 at 17:10:27 PT:
I'm with you Crusader
There is no point in fighting for a country that utilizes TAX money to fight a (Drug) War when it's own people supply the other side.We are supplying both sides of this War! It's time to STOP and exercise a little economic efficiency."I will never risk my life for the prohibitionists' witch hunt."Amen!
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Comment #3 posted by Cannabis Crusader on July 17, 2001 at 16:32:07 PT
Reckless, just Reckless
I don't know who said, "Those who forget the past are destine to repeat it." (or resembling like that)Obviously, the US government has completely forgotten Vietnam. Plan Columbia will involve this nation in another bloody civil war that will needlessly claim the lives of many young Americans. All this for a moral crusade that is based on lies and hysteria. However sad it will be, Plan Columbia will show just how futile the "Drug War" actually is to the entire world.  I have already started looking for places other than the US to live. I have no desire to live in a police state, nor do I want to be here when the shit really hits the fan. Plan Columbia has just set the fan to maxium speed. I will never risk my life for the prohibitionists' witch hunt.
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Comment #2 posted by Jose Melendez on July 17, 2001 at 14:35:46 PT:

hear, HEAR!
"Never mess with people who have nothing left to lose..." "...a human with nothing left to lose is one of the most dangerous creatures on this Earth. Pray we don't re-learn this lesson."right on kaptenimo - you tell 'em."...the total area covered by these plantations has expanded from 20,000 to 160,00 hectares"-Governor Floro Tunubal, of Cauca, Colombiapublish THAT, reuters and upi. Unless it's against policy to print the truth...
Drug War IS CRIME - Arrest Prohibition
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on July 17, 2001 at 14:02:40 PT:

"In Cuéllar's opinion, the United States sees the problem as the mere existence of the drug crops, while for Colombians these plantations exist because of ''the poverty and marginalization of the peasant farmers.'' Never mess with people who have nothing left to lose.The Pastrana government no doubt is counting upon an increase of violence courtesy of their friends the paras to silence this latest outburst of the local people's 'displeasure' with the supposedly 'safe' spraying of toxins.But somehow, I don't believe that will work this time. The indigs know that they have lost the ears of Pastrana and Company because all the Colombian government can hear is the US siren song of escallation. Like the Diem Regime in Viet Nam in the early 1960's, Pastrana and Company are certain Big Daddy America will protect them.(The Diem Regime was toppled and the The Viet Prez and his brother were killed in a CIA-instigated coup. So much for the 'protection' of the US.)Things are getting down to the wire, there. If this latest internal protest against what is an absolute cornerstone of Plan Colombia gets the worldwide press it deserves, the US will have to back down. To avoid losing face, it has to up the ante...courtesy of agent provacateurs to start some major trouble. I expect any day now a 'report' in which US 'advisors' are killed by the 'evil baby-killing Marxist drug barons!'. Congress in a purblind, righteous wrath will suffer collective anoxia from all the blood rushing from their brains to their balls (sorry, ladies) and do something invade.Children, can you say: "Gulf of Tonkin Incident?"Only, when troops get there, all they'll find are plenty of pissed-off people with nothing left to lose, defending their turf against the minions of El Norte.And a human with nothing left to lose is one of the most dangerous creatures on this Earth. Pray we don't re-learn this lesson.
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