Bogota Judge Suspends Fumigation of Coca Fields 

  Bogota Judge Suspends Fumigation of Coca Fields 

Posted by FoM on July 28, 2001 at 11:15:20 PT
Source: Common Dreams 

A Bogota judge Friday suspended aerial fumigation of coca leaf plantations in six departments in southern Colombia, which could jeopardize the future of the US-backed anti-drug and reform Plan Colombia. The judge upheld a motion by the non-governmental "Paz Colombia" to cease the fumigations, claiming they were damaging both the health of local residents and the environment of the region, planted with 50 percent of the country's coca leaf, the raw ingredient in cocaine.
Colombian President Andres Pastrana responded immediately that the judge's decision would be subject to judicial review by the authorities. "We are not going to reach agreements with drug traffickers to suspend the fumigations of the industrial drug culture," Pastrana told reporters.The suspension of fumigations in the departments of Cauca, Narino, Putumayo, Caqueta, Guainia and Guaviare, comes amid fractious debate in the Andean nation whether the US-sanctioned aerial disbursement of herbicides by plane or helicopter is dangerous to health and the environment.Opponents of the coca-leaf defoliation, led by Eduardo Cifuentes, are becoming increasingly more numerous and vociferous, despite assurances from the United States on the inoffensive nature of the herbicides. They would prefer the plants be pulled manually and alternative crops planted.To put concerns about the herbicides to rest, the US embassy in Bogota will "soon" conduct a toxicology study on Colombian subjects to study the long-term effects of the aerial fumigations on health, a US diplomatic source here said even before the judge's decision."We have a moral obligation to verify that the fumigations have no risk for the population," the source said, explaining that the health of two groups of men, women and children, one within the region and the other outside, would be monitored for a still-undetermined length of time.The only herbicide used in the aerial eradication program is glyphosate, one of the most widely used agricultural chemicals in the world, according to the US embassy's website. The embassy said a recent comprehensive review of studies on glyphosate concluded there is no indication of any human health concern. Fifty percent of the country's 160,000 hectares of coca-leaf plantations are located in the south of Colombia, the world's leading producer of cocaine with 580 tons per year, three-quarters of which is bound for the United States. Plan Colombia, adopted in July 200, includes a 1.3 billion-dollar tranche of aid from the United States, mostly in military assistance. Three Blackhawk helicopters -- among the 16 promised by the United States -- were delivered to Bogota Friday, the embassy said. Two will be operated by Colombian police and one by the military, to ensure better maneuverability for the aerial surveillance team. Over the first six months of 2001, 51,000 hectares of coca leaf plantations were destroyed.An additional 676 million dollars in US aid for Colombia and neighboring countries is up for consideration in the US Congress. It was agreed to Tuesday by the House of Representatives and must be approved by the Senate before being passed to President George W. Bush to become law. Complete Title: Plan Colombia: Bogota Judge Suspends Fumigation of Coca Fields in Southern ColombiaOriginally Published on Saturday, July 28, 2001 by Agence France Presse. Source: Agence France Presse Published: Saturday, July 28, 2001 Copyright: 2001 AFP Website: ddddSource: Common Dreams (ME)Published: Saturday, July 28, 2001 Copyright: 1997-2001 Common DreamsContact: editor Website: Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News Sticky Situation - In These Times Court Orders Eradication Suspended Articles - Glyphosate 

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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on July 28, 2001 at 17:16:28 PT:
Oh, for Christ's SAKE!
Did you catch this? Did you?"To put concerns about the herbicides to rest, the US embassy in Bogota will "soon" conduct a toxicology study on Colombian subjects to study the long-term effects of the aerial fumigations on health, a US diplomatic source here said even before the judge's decision.Let's see: they dump the stuff on the campesinos. And, only after, AFTER, mind you, literally TONS of the stuff is dropped on the helpless villagers already ravaged by civil war, they decide to test its' toxicity.But, get this, they are going to, in essence, continue these de facto chemical attacks of Colombian 'test subjects'I wonder; did anyone ask these 'test subjects' their permission to be sprayed in the first place? I rather doubt it.And did anyone ask these people, who have already been sprayed with this poisonous s**t, whether or not they still want to be sprayed for this 'toxicology study'? Mi Espanol es muy terrible, but I know without a single doubt that "No" in Espanol sounds just like "No" in English. And the people of the affected areas have just said NO!. What part of this can't Uncle understand?Look at this. This is the best example given to date as to the degree of callousness and hubris which defines American foreign policy: Uncle props up a regime whose perception of legitimacy by the people there is rocky at best. With this de facto puppet's 'permission' - just like in Viet Nam, children - Uncle then begins to spray the 'silvery rain' down onto people who are, even in the best of years, borderline subsistance. Thus killing their food crops, especially the beans. Beans are the primary source of protein in the 3rd World; destroy the beans, and you remove a major part of the diet...and ensure starvation. Or the rapid rise of opportunistic diseases courtesy of weakened immune systems. Whichever comes first.This ol' ex-Green Beanie has had to do lots of awful things to survive. I know what it's like to be so hungry, you'd eat bugs. But at least I had one advantage those poor b*****ds down there won't; at least the bugs I ate weren't contaminated with Roundup. And that's what some of those poor people may be down to in a few months.This is truly despiccable. I love my Nation...but my so-called leaders are scum for doing this. Scum!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 28, 2001 at 12:52:44 PT

News Brief From The Associated Press
Colombian Drug Sprayings To Continue Source: Associated PressPublished: July 28, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Associated PressBogota, Colombia (AP) -- Drug fumigations in Colombia will continue despite a court-ordered suspension while the government responds to legal questions, police said Saturday. Gen. Gustavo Socha, chief of the anti-narcotics police, said planes would continue spraying plants used to make cocaine and heroin. A Colombian court made a preliminary ruling Friday saying fumigations with the chemical glysphosate be temporarily stopped. The court is expected to give a final verdict within 10 days after receiving responses from the government to its queries. "At this moment, the fumigations will have to continue," said Socha. "Once there is a final ruling, we will respect the decision of the court." The ruling by the Bogota district court came in response to a petition by an organization representing Colombia's native Indian communities, who say the fumigations are poisoning rivers and targeting poor farmers. Washington is bankrolling the offensive against coca and poppy fields in Colombia through a $1.3 billion regional antidrug aid package. The U.S. Congress is considering additional drug aid for Colombia -- the cocaine capital of the world and a major supplier of heroin. 
Colombia Drug War News
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