October, 2013Archive for


Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Maybe don’t stop to think what in other applications posed by fumigation, which not only does not seek the welfare of plants, if not quite the opposite. At the end of the 1990s and early 21st century, the Government of Colombia (then chaired by Andres Pastrana Arango) devised a plan that besides being a strategy anti cocaine, sought military aid from the United States to combat the Colombian armed conflict (though this second intention was not openly declared until years later). This plan, called Plan Colombia, sought to combat coca crops, and make social investments to offer farmers alternatives to illegal crops. For the eradication or at least diminish, strategy coca crops was the fumigation of crop fields. However this initiative aroused much controversy for various reasons. Firstly, the fumigation damaging not only coca crops, but many other legal character, with very unfortunate consequences for the inhabitants of the areas where fumigations were made.

This reason if only it would already be sufficient to consider another way of acting, but in addition the fumigation raised serious health problems in people who were exposed to herbicides. Aerial spraying in Colombia began in the 1980s, but by the mid-1990s, drug cultivation had increased, therefore intensified fumigation tasks. Between the year 2000 and 2003, the spraying program fumigated three hundred eighty thousand hectares of coca (three thousand eight hundred square kilometers), which is more than eight percent of land under cultivation in Colombia. DIRAN (directory of narcotics) I was in charge of the fumigation, and in 2003 was made up of a fleet of 24 aircraft. These aircraft were escorted by armed helicopters to protect them from the fire that could open the FARC or other armed groups in the areas of cultivation of the drug.

Against this initiative was the President of Brazil Lula da Silva, who feared that the situation could become a similar to Viet Nam, i.e. that the conflict should be extended to neighbouring countries. The reality is that the Colombia Plan focused too much on the military issue, and only provided some spraying to destroy coca crops, without focusing on providing alternatives to the peasants who are dedicated to the cultivation of coca for lack of other economic possibilities. Interfering with cultivation and transportation of the cocaine in an area, came up with the so-called balloon effect, i.e. a greater number of crops in other areas, inside and outside Colombia. In terms of personal damage, thousands of Colombian peasant families had to go to hospitals, suffering from eye infections, diarrhea, vomiting, and other afflictions directly related to the herbicides used in fumigations. This again reminds the situation in Viet Nam, when the United States used herbicides to destroy foliage where the forces were hiding enemy. Years later, it was discovered that Agent Orange (used herbicide) He had wreaked havoc on the people who were exposed to the spraying.