PLEASE DEMAND AN END TO THE INHUMANE FUMIGATIONS IN COLOMBIA!!! Addresses
With kind regards
Colombia Peace Association
Don¹t Fumigate Us Any More!!!
The fumigations in Colombia constitute a war against the Colombian campesino population and an assault on the delicate environment of the Amazon (the natural resources on which all humanity depends).
In the department of Putumayo, situated in the Colombian Amazon on the border with Ecuador, the massive fumigations with glyphosate, financed and imposed by the United States and carried out by its servant Colombian state, have been continuing. In recent months they have indiscriminately fumigated some 10,500 hectares of coca plantations and 33,000 hectares of legitimate crops in the municipality of La Hormiga. The fumigations have affected 43,000 of the 78,000 hectares of fertile land in the municipality, also known as Valle de Guamuez, and have destroyed not only coca crops but also fields of yucca, plantain, citrus fruits, maize and cocoa, as well as natural woodland and sources of water in the department of Putumayo. This was the condemnation levelled by local officials and campesino leaders. The People¹s Representative in La Hormiga, Leandro Romo, confirmed that in the last two months planes had shed vast quantities of glyphosate (produced by the US multinational Monsanto) over licit and ilicit crops. He added that, as a result of the fumigations, some 7,000 campesinos and indigenous people, including women and children, are suffering with health problems, hunger and dangerously few resources. Some 3,500 of these campesinos had to abandon their plots of land and head for other parts of Putumayo. This is a clear indication that the indiscriminate fumigations are being used by the Colombian state to forcibly and systematically displace huge numbers of campesinos.
Washington is providing 17 million dollars annually for the poisonous spraying programme in Colombia, which is currently endowed with 15 fumigation planes and dozens of combat helicopters. In addition, the US is providing more than 1,300 million dollars in economic and military aid to finance Plan Colombia, with which it intends to reposition its geostrategic interests in Colombia and Latin America under cover of its false claims to be fighting a war on drugs.
In the year 2001, 84,000 hectares of coca crops were fumigated in Colombia, 58,000 in the year 2000. So far this year, 70,000 hectares have been fumigated. However, the crops continue to increase (there are currently 200,000 hectares of coca plantations), because as well as being an excuse to intervene militarily in Colombia, the fumigations are a strategic vicious cycle to benefit the multinational producers of glyphosate, planes, helicopters, weapons and private security (mercenary) firms (Dyncorp), all from the United States.
President Andres Pastrana, who stepped down as president on 7 August 2002, suspended spraying in Putumayo at the beginning of this year, because his government and the campesinos signed agreements to manually eradicate the crops as part of an alternative development programme. It was a programme that was never entirely accomplished. Spokespersons of the current government said that these agreements were not producing effective results, without acknowledging that the state did not fulfil its part of the agreements, and as a consequence Alvaro Uribe Velez, under pressure from the United States, decided to recommence the aerial fumigations.
Because of these fumigations, hundreds of campesinos have complained that they are suffering from respiratory and other health problems, and that they have been forced to abandon their tiny fields of cocoa, maize, plantain, yucca and other legal crops. Meanwhile, the North American State Department and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have cynically stated that the glyphosate being used in Putumayo is not harmful to health, but that they will make adjustments to the formulation so that its toxicity is reduced from grade 3, equivalent to gentle¹ to grade 4, light¹, (grade 1 being the most toxic).
The fumigations and their impact on campesino social organisation, on human health and on the environment are a crime against humanity committed by the imperialist United States and their Colombian lackeys.
The solution to the problem of coca cultivation in Colombia needs a political solution to the political, social and armed conflict. While the current system of land ownership and tenancy exists, while fertile land is used extensively for the livestock of the landowning elite, while the expropriation and displacement of the campesino population continues, and food go on being imported at an increasing rate (8 million tonnes annually), and while there is no development model based on the redistribution of wealth, there will be no solution to the problem.
We call on the international community to stop this barbary. We invite international organisations to observe the violations of the economic, social, environmental and cultural rights of the campesino population, so that we can construct a common cause to defend life, dignity and the
environment of the Colombian Amazon.
NO MORE POISON!!!
NO MORE INTERVENTION!!!
MORE FOOD SECURITY!!! MORE SOVEREIGNTY AND DIGNITY!!!
YANKIES OUT OF COLOMBIA!!!
Coordinator of the Cultivators of Coca and Poppy COCCA
Presidente de la Republica de Colombia
Dr. Alvaro Uribe Velez
Palacio de Narino
Carrera 8 No.7-26
Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA
Fax: 00 57 1 286 74 34/286, 68 42/284 21 86
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Vicepresidente de la Republica de Colombia Francisco Santos
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Fernando Londono Hoyos
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Martha Lucia Ramirez de Rincon
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Dr Luis Eduardo Cifuentes
High Commission for Human Rights in Colombia
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