U.N. Wants Audit of Colombia Cocaine Spraying

U.N. Wants Audit of Colombia Cocaine Spraying
Posted by FoM on July 24, 2001 at 16:23:02 PT
By Reuters
Source: Reuters
The United Nations has asked Colombia to accept an international audit of its anti-cocaine crop spraying program, which is under attack for hurting poor peasants, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. The government, whose spraying offensive is backed by about $1 billion in mainly military U.S. aid under "Plan Colombia," is considering the proposal for an audit, the representative of the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) in Colombia, Klauss Nyholm, told a news conference. 
"We believe that an international and neutral verification is needed," Nyholm said, voicing concern about spraying of plots tended by poor peasants and indigenous Indians and doubts over the health effects of the fumigation chemicals. Colombia is the largest producer of cocaine in the world, and Nyholm revealed satellite data which showed that there is more of the drug's raw material -- coca leaf -- in the country than previously thought. The U.N. study showed there were 402,000 acres (163,000 hectares) of coca in Colombia as of late last year, an increase of 2-3 percent from 1999 but significantly more than previous U.S. estimates of about 340,000 acres (136,000 hectares). The United Nations opposes spraying of peasant plots of fewer than 7.4 acres (three hectares), which Nyholm called ineffective and "inhuman." It accepts fumigation of larger plantations -- which the government says are grown by drug traffickers -- but believes that spraying must be monitored for its environmental effects. The program to spray crops of coca has caused increasing controversy here, with protests by peasant growers, some of whom claim their health has suffered from the spraying. Health claims must be examined Nyholm said that he could not assess the truth of those claims. The United Nations wants international auditors, together with UNDCP and the World Health Organization, to investigate and analyze the composition of spraying chemicals. "There is lots of data, but the problem is that it all comes from people who have an interest in the issue. So that's why we need a verification committee, to find out what is true and what is not true," he said. The government of President Andres Pastrana says it only sprays plantations of at least 25 acres (10 hectares). But peasant growers, who often bunch their crops together with other families', say they have been hit. Plan Colombia also includes billions of dollars in aid to encourage peasants to grow legal crops, such as African palm or coffee. Colombia's anti-drug struggle is complicated by involvement in the trade of leftist rebels and far-right paramilitaries, who use illicit proceeds to fund a bloody, 37-year-old war, which has claimed 40,000 lives in the past decade alone. The United Nations is also concerned that a big fall in heroin production in Afghanistan might encourage Colombian peasants to start growing opium poppies. While lacking exact figures, Nyholm said that there might be 30,000-37,000 acres (12,000-15,000 hectares) of opium poppies in Colombia. This would be a considerable increase on the recent past but would still not be enough to account for more than 2 percent to 3 percent of world heroin output. Another concern is the spillover of the drug trade into Colombia's neighbor Ecuador. There is evidence of 2,500-5,000 acres (1,000-2,000 hectares) of coca in Ecuador, mainly in Sucumbios Province, Nyholm said. Source: ReutersPublished: July 24, 2001Copyright: 2001 ReutersRelated Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News Governors Demand Halt To Fumigation Seeks Halt To Aerial Fumigation Program Articles - Glyphosate
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 25, 2001 at 20:36:49 PT
News Brief From The Times (UK)
UN Calls for Check On Coca Spraying Source: The Times (UK)Author: David Adams in MiamiPublished: Thursday July 26, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd. Website:,,79,00.htmlIn a surprise blow to the US-supported counter-drug offensive in Colombia, the United Nations has called for international monitoring of a controversial cocaine crop-spraying programme. The UN proposal is backed by Britain, which has already promised £150,000 towards independent environmental auditing of the spraying. The European Union has voiced doubts about the programme since it began in December. Some EU nations oppose the spraying outright; British officials believe it is necessary but fear it is being undermined by a lack of proper supervision. Klaus Nyholm, head of the UN Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in Colombia, told a news conference that the spraying of small plots of coca in poor rural areas was not just ineffective but “inhuman”. He queried Colombian and US claims of pinpoint accuracy of the aerial spraying which has wiped out almost 130,000 acres of coca crops. Peasant groups and indigenous Indian communities complain that the spraying has hit legitimate crops and caused health problems among local residents and livestock. Colombian and US officials insist that the main chemical used, a common herbicide, Roundup, has no known harmful side-effects. But in view of the complaints, Mr Nyholm said international, neutral verification was needed.
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Comment #5 posted by Lehder on July 25, 2001 at 18:08:55 PT
right on, UnkySamm
The US government has run amok with power, and the only way it can possibly be kept in check is if other countries gang up on it. That's exactly what's happening. And it's going to just keep getting worse and worse, Georgieboy, til you lose your grip and fall. We could never win all by ourselves. 
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Comment #4 posted by UnkySamm on July 25, 2001 at 17:39:56 PT:
If US voters can't control the US government, maybe the UN can. The US government has run amok with power, and the only way it can possibly be kept in check is if other countries gang up on it. Ironically, sadly, the will of the american voter is best reflected by these foreign countries who have diminished the power of the US within the UN.Democracy will not exist in the US for at least 3 1/2 more years.
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Comment #3 posted by dddd on July 25, 2001 at 02:56:13 PT
...Get ready for the report from the U.N.,,,,it will bea cautiously worded,,milquetoast item,,that is minimal incritism and truth....It will be filtered through the U.S. Pravdamachine,,and reflect the absurdity of the items containedin this article....Take note,,there is no author to this's the bestline in the article;"There is lots of data, but the problem is that it all comes from people who have an interest in the issue. So that's why we need a verification committee, to find out what is true and what is not true," he said....Yea,,,obviously these devious peasants are just whining and complainingabout being douched with roundup from high altitudes,,,they're probablyjust lying,,or imagining adverse health effects from this safe,harmless,Monsanto product..........ddddisgusting.........indeed 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on July 24, 2001 at 18:40:18 PT
U.N. w/o U.S.
Would this happen if the U.S. did not lose it's seats on the U.N. Human Rights Commission and U.N. Narcotics Control Board?
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 24, 2001 at 18:16:20 PT
News Brief From The Associated Press
U.N. Calls for Drug Crop MonitorsSource: Associated PressAuthor: Cesar Garcia, Associated Press WriterPublished: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Associated Press. A top U.N. anti-drug official called Tuesday for international monitoring of a U.S.-backed aerial eradication campaign against drug crops and rejected claims that the program is not harming peasant farmers. The statements by Klaus Nyholm, director of U.N. counternarcotics programs here, came amid growing domestic opposition to crop-spraying using chemicals and as the U.S. Congress considers additional drug-fighting aid for the South American country. A $1.3 billion U.S. aid program is paying for combat helicopters, troops training and crop dusting planes to wipe out coca and opium plantations. Colombia is the world' s main cocaine exporting nation and a growing supplier of heroin to the United States. Nyholm said the United Nations has collected ample evidence that herbicides are being forcibly sprayed on small farmers food plots. " We know that despite the government' s policy, sometimes small farmers' plots are hit as well, and that legal crops such as bananas and beans are being fumigated by mistake, " he told a news conference in Bogota. Nyholm disputed recent comments by Colombian officials that the eradication effort is surgically targeting only large-scale coca and opium plantations run by drug traffickers. Nyholm said many of the scientific studies dragged out by both proponents and opponents of the forced eradication program are biased. He urged an international monitoring mechanism be created to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the chemical being used. Nyholm did not detail his proposal, however, saying only that the United Nations has asked the World Health Organization to get involved. Nyholm urged that the government place more emphasis on funding alternative development programs, project offering farmers aid to switch to legal crops such as organic coffee. 
Colombia Drug War News
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