Magazine article Geographical

Spray Days: Colombia's Anti-Coca Crop Spraying Programme Has Been Suspended for the Time Being at Least

Magazine article Geographical

Spray Days: Colombia's Anti-Coca Crop Spraying Programme Has Been Suspended for the Time Being at Least

Article excerpt

Since 2000, the United States has provided substantial cash and technical support to Colombia in an attempt to eradicate cocaine production in the country. Support under the Plan Colombia programme, which started in 2000, amounts to $5billion with total assistance mostly military--amounting to $8billion, according to Amnesty International. The US has encouraged aerial spraying of coca crops with glyphosate herbicide as part of the anti-drug programme. However, some see this as an ineffective approach. 'Spraying doesn't address the real roots of the problem,' says Grace Livingstone, author of America's Back Yard The United States and Latin America from the Monroe Doctrine to the War on Terror. 'The reason people grow coca in Colombia is due to poverty, landlessness, lack of access to markets and the low price of growing crops like coffee.'

In May, the Colombian government suspended the spraying programme. 'It became increasingly clear that using glyphosate was causing all sorts of health problems, nausea, sickness, temporary blindness, intestinal problems ...' lists Livingstone.

Glyphosate also entered the water supply, killing fish and causing burns to animals, according to Livingstone. …

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