EARTH FUTURE ACTION
STOP BIDEN'S PLAN TO RESTART "PLAN COLOMBIA"
THE PLAN FOR MASSIVE PESTICIDE SPRAYING
IS A THREAT TO THE HEALTH OF COLOMBIA'S CIVILIANS
150 EXPERTS ON DRUGS, SECURITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY URGE BIDEN TO RECONSIDER
In Colombia over $10 billion of American aid have financed a military campaign and a giant pesticide spraying campaign in some of the most sensitive ecological areas on this planet.
"Plan Colombia" was a U.S. foreign aid, military aid initiative aimed at combating Colombian drug cartels by spraying their crops with the toxic herbicide, glyphosate. Plan Colombia was signed into law in 2000, by Former President Clinton. The aerial fumigation program continued throughout the US presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, until 2015, when it was stopped.
It was stopped when the World Health Organization found that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic. The United States balked at dropping the spraying program but said it would respect Colombia’s decision. (The Guardian, 2-3-2016).
Now President Joe Biden is pushing Colombia to restart the program.
More than 150 experts on drugs, security, and environmental policy in the region have written an open letter to Biden, saying the spraying campaign is “misguided” and Biden’s decision “could not have come at a worse time.”
“The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally, even as your administration takes bold steps to mitigate its multiple impacts on Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the United States,” says the letter, spearheaded by the Center for Studies on Security and Drugs at the Bogotá-based Los Andes University.
“By backing fumigation, your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia,” the letter says. “It was your predecessor who, shortly after taking office, intensified demands on our country to resume spraying with glyphosate, which has been shown to pose significant health and environmental risks to affected populations.”
The experts point to how aerial spraying with glyphosate can cause serious health problems, such as cancer, miscarriages, and respiratory illness, and environmental destruction—biodiversity loss, soil damage, and contamination of water sources. (Common Dreams, 3-20-21)
Colombia has paid a high price to fight the “war on drugs,” with costs amounting to approximately 1.1 percent of its GDP per year from 2000 to 2008. (Brookings Institution, 2016) PDF.
The cited Brookings Institution report also states, "Manual eradication of coca cultivation has proven to be considerably more cost effective than aerial spraying with pesticides, and it has fewer harmful side effects on the environment and inhabitants."
According to the US non-governmental organisation, Washington Office on Latin America (Wola), Plan Colombia helped in the aerial fumigation of more than 1.6 million hectares of coca in the country. (BBC, 2-4-16)
And according to Wola, the fumigation strategy didn't even work.
Land cultivated with coca went up from 48,000 hectares in 2013 to 69,000 in 2014, the UN said. (BBC, 2-4-16)
Cocaine production does not appear to have gone down either - in 2015, Colombian security forces seized a record 252 tons of the drug. (BBC, 2-4-16)
Despite costing the U.S. $10 billion, Plan Colombia was largely ineffective (in addition to being toxic). And yet the Biden Administration is considering restarting the program. We urge him highly against this.
ABOUT PLAN COLOMBIA
BIDEN'S PUSH TO RESTART PLAN COLOMBIA
Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program (Common Dreams, 3-20-21)
‘Plan Colombia’: How Washington learned to love Latin American intervention again (The Washington Post, 9-18-16)
15 Years and $10 Billion Later, U.S. Efforts to Curb Colombia’s Cocaine Trade Have Failed (Foreign Policy, 2-8-16)
Has Plan Colombia really worked? (BBC News, 2-4-16)
GOVERNMENT OPINIONS AND OFFICES
Reactions to Plan Colombia and the Use of Pesticides on the Rain Forest and Peasants
Plan Colombia - An Analysis of Effectiveness and Costs (The Brookings Institution, 2016) PDF
Transnational Institute: Drugs and Democracy in Columbia
Books: Chemical Warfare in Colombia: The Costs of Coca Fumigation
VIDEO ON PLAN COLUMBIA
Colombia Cashing-In on the Drug War Failure