August 2, 2001
Narco News 2001
Fumigation in Colombia
By Alfredo Molano
Publisher's Commentary: A year ago, Narco News interviewed
exiled Colombian journalist Alfredo Molano in Barcelona on the hidden agendas of Plan
Colombia. The predictions
that Molano made in that interview have proved frighteningly
Now, as Colombian Civil
Society, including the nation's courts, rise up against the herbicide
spraying element of the U.S.-imposed Plan Colombia military intervention,
Molano reports that the issue is converting into the cutting-edge
battle against imposed globalization in our América.
Meanwhile, corrupt officials
are becoming more rapid in accusing all critics of Plan Colombia
of doing the bidding of the very same narco-traffickers that
those officials protect. This column, from the daily El Espectador
in Bogotá on Sunday, July 29, was translated by The Narco
aerial fumigation of illegal crops
has complicated things for the government. First, were the residents
of Guaviare who complained about the arbitrary nature of the
fumigation, but no one paid attention to them, not even mobilizing
massively in 1996 when it left a brushfire of death.
"They are," some general repeated,
"instruments of the guerrilla."
Journalists like Antonio Caballero and
Daniel Samper insist that ever since the years that fumigation
began, beyond being brutal, it has been ineffective. But the
Right always accuses them of being spokesmen for subversion.
International institutions like the Transnational Institute demonstrate
with great detail the noxious effects of fumigation and point
out its perverse logic: more fumigation, more destruction. But
few believe them, thinking that this institute is over there
in Holland, where nothing is known about Colombia. Later, Senators
like Rafael Orduz and Piedad Córdoba brought the debate
to Congress and showed the irreparable damage that fumigation
was causing in peasant communities and to the environment. But
the politicians didn't believe them, because such accusations
don't generate contracts for their friends.
Now, the governors of the south have united
with all these voices that have opposed fumigation with reasonable
and valiant arguments, proposing manual eradication as the alternative.
The Indians of Cauca, echoing this entire story, and based on
their own experience - protests, treaties, mockeries, protests,
treaties, etc. - have decided to paralyze the South. As if this
were not enough, the Public Defender, the Controller General
of the Republic, Ecuador's Secrataries of Health and State, and
the European Parliament, one after another, have emphatically
Some Police commander has said, however,
that this entire quantity of sane people are backed by the drug
traffickers. Finally, the United Nations opted to ask for an
international study to analyze the case, and no even the U.S.
Senate has frozen the aid destined for fumigation, while its
environmental effects are left unclear.
For the President, who without a doubt
as a person should not be a friend of fumigation, he has had
to follow the preemptive orders of Mrs. Anne Patterson, the gringa
Ambassador, without being able to say boo. Where the captain
leads, the sailor does not. Marulanda, for his part, pushes Pastrana
and places the so-called Los Pozos Accord on the table, in which
the National Government promised eradication that doesn't affect
the environment or the communities. Maybe, in a laboratory in
Georgia, the U.S. government can demonstrate that the poisons
are inoffensive, but it can't do the same in the social and political
reality of the country.
Because, as is more and more evident each
day, the true objective of the fumigation is the displacement
of the peasant farmers from the regions where the guerrilla operates,
and, in this sense, the effect is like that of a chainsaw: remove
the water from the fishes. It is a displacement that seeks to
complicate - as it is complicating - the situation of our borders
to impose that Andean Initiative of Bush, which means, more or
less, expanding the violence to the entire Andean-Amazon area,
a region that every day faces more vicious orders from Washington.
The Pentagon knows about the metastasis
that fumigation produces - and in general the repression of supply
without control over demand - but utilizes this method for its
own interests. It would be tragic for its strategy if the fumigation
would have permanent results in diminishing illegal crops, because
it would weaken the arguments for war against the FARC, it's
immediate objective. And it would make even more fog of the justification
of our new regional security doctrine in order to guarantee the
viability of a Free Trade Agreement.
Without a doubt, the theme of fumigation
will become, in the coming years, the apple of discord between
a grand sector of regional public opinion and the North American
hegemony. The next president, for example, will face the problem
of Fusarium Oxysporum with which the DEA hopes to replace Glyphosate,
given its very "limited" effect in the reduction of
the supply. It could then be that the theme of fumigation with
fungus - a species of biological warfare - will become the cutting-edge
of the battle by the movement against extreme globalization.
of the Battle