Coca Fumigation Hinders Colombian Peace Negotiations

01 November 1998
Article
 

The fumigation of coca and opium poppy fields with chemical herbicides is becoming a key obstacle in the peace process in Colombia, surprisingly gaining steam since the change of government in August. Before officially being sworn into power, the President elect Andrés Pastrana had met already – on July 9 – with Manuel Marulanda (‘Tirofijo'), top-leader of the FARC-EP, who explicitly mentioned an ending to aerial spraying as a top priority issue, second only to the disbanding of the paramilitary and the cleansing of the armed forces cadre linked to them.

More and more Colombian and international officials question the effectiveness of fumigation. But while Pastrana is trying to manoeuvre fumigation out of the peace process by promoting a solution along the lines of alternative development for the drug cultivation areas - a viable solution supported by the FARC and ELN guerrillas - the United States Government is determined to continue the fumigation strategy, making it a precondition for Colombia to pass the yearly decertification process which takes place in March every year.

The US is pressing the use of more agressive herbicides, and sprayings with a illegal granular herbicide have been confirmed and denounced by the Defensoría del Pueblo, the Colombian governmental human rights ombudsman. In addition, the Republican majority in Congress is endangering the delicate negotiations to start the peace process by threatening to withhold US counter narcotic aid to Colombia if the so-called “despeje” - a troop pullout from the a vast swath of Colombian territory effective since November 7 - interferes with counternarcotics efforts in the area. The “despeje” is crucial in the agreement between Pastrana and the FARC rebels to start the peace talks.

All these elements together put the fumigation issue at the very crossroads of crucial developments taking place right now in and around Colombia, making it one of the decisive factors for events in the near future. It may well come soon to a point where a clear decision has to be made between two incompatible variables: aerial fumigation or a peace process.

Chorus of opposition in Colombia

This year, the pace of chemical fumigation efforts has been doubled. The target of eradicating 50.000 hectares for the full year, had been more then met already by August. Last year, according to police figures, 48.123 hectares have been sprayed. (1) Nevertheless, the total area under drug-crop cultivation expanded by 10 percent, according to the US which is monitoring coca areas by satellite. (2) The fields were simply moved to other areas. One can imagine what will happen next: these fields will then be sprayed and cultivation which in itself is not particularly friendly to the ecosystem will again move to other regions. A ‘vicious' circle, contaminating ever-expanding areas.

In fact, fumigation of coca and opium in Colombia is practically the only counter-narcotics programme to eradicate illicit cultivation. Alternative development projects to help peasants shift to the cultivation of legal agricultural crops has barely been put in place due to lack of funds and poor organisation of PLANTE, the agency responsible for its implementation.

The fumigation is sponsored financially and politically by the United States, but opposition in Colombia is growing. Fumigation is not effective, and is damaging to the environment and health of the peasants whose food crops are also touched by the indiscriminate spraying. (3) Nevertheless, the US wants to introduce new granular herbicides tebuthiuron and imazapyr - to replace the liquid herbicide glyfosate used up to now. The introduction of the new granulars is controversial. It is supposed to be more effective than glyfosate, but it also does more damage to the environment.

The former minister of the Environment, Eduardo Verano de la Rosa, opposed the introduction of tebuthiuron. “If everything we've analysed so far is true, and this has to be proven scientifically, our forests, our massive Amazon forests, could basically be converted into prairies,” he said. A proposed field test was used, but the Environment Department is likely to be overruled by a potent lobby, including the vigorous police chief, General Rosso José Serrano, and Colombia's National Drugs Council, who are in favour of the new chemicals. (4) October this year, the Defensoria del Pueblo denounced the illegal use of imazapyr in the province of Putumayo in May 1998.

The US Environmental Protection Agency requires a warning label on the chemical that says it could contaminate ground water, a side-effect Colombian environmental officials fear will prevent peasants from growing food where coca once grew. The chemical's manufacturer, Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., strongly opposes its use in Colombia: “Tebuthiuron is not labelled for use on any crops in Colombia, and it is our desire that the product not be used for coca eradication as well,” the company says. (5)

Apparently, the introduction of tebuthiuron has more to do with safeguarding the lives of the pilots - among them many US citizens - than concern for the environment. Colombia's National Police chief Serrano, has spoken in favour of testing tebuthiuron, arguing that it can be applied to crops more effectively and with less danger to crop-dusting pilots. The new granular herbicide can be dropped from a higher altitude, offering greater protection from guerrilla gunfire for pilots. The State Department contracted two private firms based in Washington (Dyncorp and East Inc.) to supply US pilots and advisors for the Guaviare region, where two such US pilots were killed at the end of July in an as yet unclear accident.

The new Environment Minister in the Pastrana Administration, Juan Mayr - a renowned conservationist - is taking the same approach as his predecessor. The aerial crop-spraying programme has failed, Mayr said shortly after he was appointed. “The cultivated areas have increased, which demonstrates that fumigation hasn't worked,” he said. Though he didn't say whether he favoured scrapping the current programme altogether, Mayr added: “We can't permanently fumigate the country.” (6)

Colombia's newly-appointed chief of the government's anti-narcotics office, Ruben Olarte, joined Mayr. He branded the country's US-backed drug crop eradication programme a failure, saying it had done nothing to halt a steady increase in illicit drug plantations. “Unfortunately, we have to recognize that crop eradication, in the manner that it has been carried out so far has failed,” he said. “There is no doubt that there will have to be a profound revision of the crop eradication programme.” (7)

Jorge Devia, governor of the state of Putumayo where the newly established Villa Garzon anti-narcotics air base will intensify fumigation efforts, has joined the expanding chorus of voices in Colombia urging the United States to curb its policy of aggressively spraying coca. He says the US-financed aerial eradication has displaced coca farmers ever deeper into the jungle, poisoned legitimate crops and created peasant resentment that may favour leftist guerrillas. Devia: “The peasant farmers will just cut down more trees and plant more coca.”

Equally, the governor of Guaviare, Hernando Gonzalez Villamizar, does not expect results from continued spraying: “After seven years of fumigating, there's more coca than ever.” And the chorus is supported openly by Klaus Nyholm, head of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in Colombia: “the fumigation of [drug] crops is not effective,” he said on numerous occasions. And: “I don't think you can spray your way out of this mess.”(8)

US pressure

Despite the increasing evidence that fumigation only worsens the problem, and the growing opposition in Colombia itself, the US does not show any signs of revising its policy. On the contrary. Fumigation, or “the crop eradication programme” as its called in official language, is one of the cornerstones in US policy towards Colombia. A confidential memorandum listing the conditions for next year's certification - leaked to the daily El Espectador - states as point number two:

Increasing and expanding the eradication programme: The eradication programme put in place by the National Police has yielded excellent results in 1997, achieving a 25 per cent reduction in the Guaviare department, the area with the highest concentration of fumigation. Unfortunately, a massive increase of coca cultivation in other regions took place. Our mutual challenge is to confront this increase. We support the expansion of the aerial eradication programme in Caquetá and the initiation of operations in Putumayo in 1998. To achieve effective results North-American pilots need to be integrated fully in eradication operations in the South, without needless restrictions. We are strongly in favour of a test programme for an effective granular herbicide, which should be economically viable and environmentally safe. (9)

In June, the US Congress donated Colombia an extra donation six Bell 212 helicopters to intensify aerial fumigation efforts, the first two of which were handed over on the 29th of August. According to investigative press reports, Washington's counter-narcotics policy also contains a recently approved launch of a multimillion-dollar covert programme - CIA and/or DIA (the Defence Intelligence Agency), employing mercenaries, private contractors and active-duty military personnel - to support the Colombian armed forces. The State Department denies covert aid. (10)

On the other hand, for the first time, the Clinton Administration is showing at least some willingness to acknowledge that repression alone does not work. Investing in alternative development programmes to counter drug cultivation in Colombia - which they used so far - are taken into consideration as well. Pastrana has insisted that aerial fumigation of drug crops is useless without providing coca growers with a legal alternative. At his August 7 inauguration, Pastrana announced his intention to create a Marshall Plan for government investment in coca-growing regions. Clinton announced support. (11)

Pastrana is asking for international help and US administration officials appear willing to listen. Peter Romero, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs, said Washington had “several hundred million dollars on the table for Colombia,” some of which could be available for alternative development. “What Colombia has to do is put together a strategy,” Romero said. “We're just waiting to see that strategy, to evaluate it.” (12) Clinton administration officials agreed to back alternative farm programmes on a case-by-case basis. “The US has not been opposed to alternative development,” said a senior State Department official. But such programmes only work, the official said, “if the government has control of the area and if the peasants believe there is a penalty for continuing to grow coca.” (13)

Subsequently, the White House is seeking re-assurance that no change in position had taken place on the fumigation issue within the Pastrana government. ‘Anonymous spokesmen' of the Clinton administration made clear that during a meeting with Pastrana just a few days before his inauguration, Pastrana had promised to keep the fumigation programme intact. "We told President Pastrana that we support the peace process, but that we have certain concerns because we don't want any region of Colombia turned into a sanctuary for drug traffickers,” one of the sources told the Colombian daily El Espectador.(14) “Peace is possible, but not at the expense of narcotics.”

Oil on the fire

“My government will not allow peace to be hijacked by narcotics,” Pastrana said just before a three-day state to the US at the end of October. “We need to ‘denarcoticize' our relations,” he repeated upon arriving in Washington. (15) Fumigation is one of the issues of ‘denarcotization'. “When we see that in the last four years the area cultivated with coca have expanded from 40.000 to 80.000 hectares, then something wrong is happening,” Pastrana stated earlier. “And if we combine this with the fact that the environment is being destroyed, we have to ook for a different strategy”. (16)

But Pastrana faces stern opposition in the US to achieve his goals. The White House is under pressure from the Republican majority in Congress who consider Clinton's policy “totally inadequate”. On 22 July 1998, they introduced the so-called ‘Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act' to US Congress. Representative Bill McCollum of Florida made its goal perfectly clear, introducing the Act to the House of Representatives:

“The $2.3 billion authorization bill being introduced today is designed to provide the resources and the direction to wage a real war on drugs before they get to the borders of the United States. The Administration plan promulgated earlier this year calls for a reduction of illegal narcotics flowing from overseas by 50% in ten years. This is totally inadequate. The plan put forth in our legislation is designed to cut the flow of drugs into our country by 80% within three years. It is the most dramatic, exhaustive, targeted effort ever conceived to stop the drug flow from Latin America.” (17)

On the basis of this authorization bill, considerable extra funding for the aerial eradication programme in Colombia will be made available for 1999, 2000 and 2001 (“Section 201. Additional eradication resources for Colombia”). Included is the highly controversial $72 million for the purchase of six UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters for the Colombian National Police, justified as needed in the context of “Focused opium eradication strategy”. Furthermore $70 million for conversion kits for fifty UH-1H helicopters for conversion into Superhueys; $18 million to sustain support of police helicopters and fixed wing fleet for eradication purposes through fiscal year 2001; $6 million for minigun systems for police aircraft through fiscal year 2001; and $2 million for the purchase of DC-3 transport aircraft. The total for Colombia is $208.25 million.

To make matters worse, the House also approved an amendment to the bill making Colombia ineligible for future US anti-drug aid if the troop pullout from a vast swath of Colombian territory -an agreement between Pastrana and the FARC rebels crucial to start the peace talks - interferes with counternarcotics efforts in the area where it occurs. The Clinton Administration opposes the bill, and the Senate still has to approve it.

Meanwhile Clinton announced $280 million in new assistance to Colombia, supplementing the House allocation, during Pastrana's visit end October. The new money will be used to counter drug activity as well as for development efforts. The two leaders agreed that “education, prevention, law enforcement, judicial action, extradition of narcotraffickers, aerial and other forms of eradication, alternative development and efforts to end armed conflict are all essential elements in the overall strategy to combat illegal drugs.”

Fumigation & the peace process

The complete destruction of the Miraflores anti-narcotics air-base -principal operational centre for the fumigations - in a major FARC nation-wide attack between 3 and 5 August, underlined the importance of the issue for the peace negotiations agenda. The attack was a clear message of FARC's increased military force, as well as a reminder that peace can only be negotiated in Colombia. The July meeting between president elect Pastrana and FARC commander Marulanda was just a first step in a long process.

White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey said the FARC attack showed that “Colombia's Marxist rebels” are criminal gangs making huge profits from the drug trade and recent attacks cast doubt on their commitment to peace talks with Colombia's new government. “They are after demilitarization, they are after a cessation of aerial eradication - that's the only way to get at coca production and opium production - and the FARC wants that stopped,” he said. “Of course the danger is all they are after is consolidation of their gains prior to the next phase of their movement ... If you look at their actions, particularly this offensive, it's almost as if their dominant focus is to maintain money-making criminal activity.” (18)

McCaffrey gives counternarcotics operations a counterinsurgency goal: “The facts of the matter are that the FARC is heavily involved in protecting, transporting and, in some cases, operating drug labs. It's given them such an enormous source of wealth that, arguably, their firepower, their pay scales, their intelligence services are more sophisticated than that of the [government] forces that guard this democracy.” (19)

UNDCP station chief Nyholm utes the presumption of the existence of a narcoguerrilla, popular among drug warriors in and outside the US Congress. From the contact his office has had with the rebels, Nyholm concludes he has “indications that FARC wants to cut off its connections with drug trafficking”. He is convinced that they will abandon drug production if the international community and the Colombian government will give aid to the areas were there is cultivation.(20)

Both Nyholm and former PLANTE director Palou have had contacts with FARC and ELN representatives about their willingness to participate in crop substitution programmes, were forced eradication operations against small farmers to be suspended. The ELN directly proposed becoming a partner in PLANTE programmes, channelling alternative development funds to coca- and opium farmers in regions under their control. This was received positively by Palou, who did not discard this as an option.(21)

In the midst of speculation and suspicion on the content of the peace negotiations, the High Commissioner for Peace, Víctor G. Ricardo, assured that during the conversation between Pastrana and Marulanda, nothing had been agreed in secret, apart from the demilitarization of a designated area to allow for peace talks to start within 90 days of the presidential inauguration. Pastrana reiterated: "The only promise is that we are going to make peace. There is an engagement for peace.”

Comments made to the press by both Pastrana (‘aerial fumigation of drug crops is useless without providing coca growers with a legal alternative' and ‘I per finding alternatives for the small peasants instead of forced eradication') and Marulanda, hinted at some sort of tacit agreement on fumigation and counter-drugs policies reached at the informal meeting. Marulanda:

"We proposed [...] the substitution of coca to other crops, on the basis of aid to the peasants. Let's take as example a community, we look among us for a team of agronomists who can tell us what to produce over there. On that basis, we could start to stop with illicit cultivation, taking into account that we have to secure annual financial assistance for the peasants until their own crops start to produce. He [Pastrana] said he liked our proposal very much and that he was going to put it into practice: not to use repression to resolve this problem. Pastrana agreed that to start with, there would be no more violence against coca cultivators, we are going to look for a distinct solution.” (22)

The offer of FARC to help to eradicate production, trafficking and cultivation in return for social investments in the area is looked upon favourably by Pastrana. According to Pastrana's High Commissioner for Peace, Víctor G. Ricardo, there was “a identification of this aspect, because the President declared he would make an alternative plan for the substitution of crops, and they said they would commit themselves to collaborate to eradicate them in Colombia from the moment when there would be a viable alternative.” (23)

Pastrana used the offer of FARC during his talks with Clinton on August 3, to support his request for financial aid for his Marshall Plan. (24) But the fumigation programme has not been suspended, largely because of pressure from the US In order to get US to concede to the “despeje” - the demilitarised zone under FARC control since November 7 - fumigation continues.

Meanwhile....

The Defensoría del Pueblo in a recent report estimated that fumigations have already destroyed 150.000 hectares of rainforest in such important ecosystems as the Amazon and Orinoco basin. If the current rhythm of fumigation is continued 70 per cent of these areas will be converted into prairie and large amounts of infertile land by 2015. For every hectare of coca sprayed, four hectares of natural vegetation are devastated. In addition to the direct damaging effects of the herbicides, fumigation leads to more trees being cut down by peasants who seek for new land to replace their damaged coca fields. “Every hectare fumigated means a hectare substituted”, says Gloria Elsa Ramírez of the Defensoría. (25)

Despite assurances from the Environment Ministry that tebuthiuron will not be used in Colombia, a granular herbicide is already in use in some spraying campaigns, according to an account of a fumigation that took place in May in Cartagena del Chairá, in the Caguán region, published in the independent Colombian daily El Espectador:

“Nobody expected that the feared ‘spray' would be a bombardment of white pellets falling from the air planes. Like it was Christmas. The elder settlers said that it was a hail-shower, and the children who were born near the river and never experienced winter, started to play with the pellets. But when the pellets bounced on the ground they poisoned the soil. Everybody got diarrhoea and the leaves started to shrivel. Where the white pellets fell a black spot of burnt leaves was left. Chicken and pigs wriggled until they lay moribund with their legs in the air, and cattle left a trail of stinking diarrhoea. Meanwhile the planes continued spitting out the pellets of death on the coca, the yucca, the bananas, and on the drains, the houses and children. Looking from the planes everything is coca, and if its not coca, never mind - everything is subversion.”(26)

Recently, the Defensoria del Pueblo denounced the illegal use of the granular herbicide imazapyr —similar to tebuthiuron— in Puerto Guzmán in the province of Putumayo in May 1998. (27) Again, indiscriminate fumigation was reported, resulting in the spraying of 53 school children who curiously watched the planes and escorting helicopters flying over the schoolyard. Some of the children were hit with the granular and were blinded for one or two days. Legal food crops and live stock were hit also.

The use of imazapyr is not permitted in Colombia. Still, extensive fumigation with the forbidden chemical seems to have taken place. Hundreds of hectares of natural rainforest were destroyed in the ecological sensitive area around the Laguna del Quemado, which is very important for the reproduction of fish and other animals. No coca cultivation exist within various kilometres of the lake. Farmers in the Caguan area in Caquetá and Miraflores in the Guaviare also reported the use of granular herbicides.

Omayra Morales, a representative of the Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers, reported continuing fumigations around Miraflores in the Guaviare region: the spraying of the indigenous reserve of Puerto Córdoba, near Miraflores, which destroyed virtually all the yucca in that area; and in Lagos del Dorado, where even the village itself was fumigated, resulting directly in the death of an eight days old baby. (28) Mrs. Morales also describes how her own household was completely destroyed in a fire on July 12 — she survived a similar fire-attack about one-and-a-half years ago, and holds the military responsible for both.

The fighting between the FARC and the armed forces in and around Miraflores on 3, 4 and 5 August almost completely destroyed the village. The destroyed anti-narcotics base is now to be rebuilt within the village itself, according to Omayra Morales in order to use the civilian population as protection against similar attacks in the future. In a petition a group of Miraflores inhabitants vehemently opposes this plan, and the current use of the few buildings left in the village for military purposes.

War against drugs or against insurgency?

Counter-narcotics operations are constantly being tangled with counter-insurgency operations. In the view of many US drug warriors they are fighting a “narco-guerrilla”, implying the existence of a guerrilla cartel. Although it is true that the FARC and ELN are taxing cultivation of coca and the production of pasta base, they are not organizing the traffick outside Colombia. In sharp contrast with the Army itself - see for instance the recent catch of 750 kilo's of cocaine in Fort Lauderdale in a plane of the Colombian Air Force (29) - and the paramilitary forces, who - according to most observers - are backed by the Army.

A recent initiative by the Colombian Army to set up an anti-narcotics elite brigade will only make matters worse. (30) The fight against drugs in Colombia has always been a matter for the National Police - subjected to the Department of Defense - although the military have been involved in supporting the police, for instance in escorting fumigation air planes with helicopter gun ships to fight guerrilla ground fire.

Now the army is contemplating an anti-drugs brigade of their own, with financial and technical assistance from the US, who made a first offer already in 1992. In Colombia, this led to a debate on how that would help the peace process. (31) But, in fact, much of the counter-narcotics expenditure ends up with the military. Since 1990, according to a February report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), the US earmarked $731 million in counternarcotics support to Colombia. Of the planned US$ 40 million assistance in September 1996, only one-third went directly to the Colombian National Police, while the remaining two-thirds went for the military. (32)

Human rights groups argue that the linkage between guerrillas and drug traffickers has allowed Washington to expand covert counter-insurgency operations in Colombia without having to face public or congressional scrutiny, particularly on human rights issues. Since much of the money spent by the US government in Colombia is covert aid, it does not have to be reported publicly. “The lack of transparency really is the key,” says Robin Kirk, who monitors Colombia for Human Rights Watch/Americas. “More or less, the Defense Department can spend its chunk of money as it sees fit, and it's impossible to know where it's going. The amount of CIA money being spent in Colombia is impossible to find out.” (33)

A case in point is the sale of Black Hawk helicopters in 1996. Human rights groups objected vociferously to the sale, as Black Hawk helicopters purchased previously by the Colombian government had been used to strafe local hamlets during counterinsurgency operations. In Congressional testimony on the helicopter sale in September 1996, debate focused not on the human rights implications of the sale or its likely impact in stemming the flow of illicit drugs out of Colombia, but rather on how fast the helicopters could be delivered. Human rights concerns were portrayed as unfortunate, but no more.

Ambassador Peter Romero, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, noted: “I think all of us in the room would agree that the performance of the army particularly has been very disappointing with respect to adherence to human rights standards. There continues to be instances of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, from very credible sources.” But he went on to justify the sale nonetheless, while admitting that once the helicopters are provided, the US government has no means of ensuring that they not be used in counter-insurgency operations. (34)

The US Congress' own watchdog, the GAO, questioned the US government's ability to effectively monitor use of anti-narcotics assistance, something it has done repeatedly for years. In four reports from 1991 to 1994, the agency concluded that US officials lacked sufficient oversight of military aid to ensure that equipment was being used efficiently and as intended in Colombia and Peru. In its February 1997 study, the GAO reported that this problem lingers and has spread, citing the Mexican government's use of US-supplied, counter-narcotics helicopters to transport troops used to quell the uprising in the state of Chiapas. (35)

The militarization of counter-narcotics operations is complicating the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Colombia. Fumigation is essential in US counter-narcotics strategy in Colombia. The tenacious insistence on continuing with the programme now endangers attempts to end Colombia's 30 year internal war. “Insisting on financial and technical aid to fumigation makes you a participant in an armed conflict,” says Ricardo Vargas of CINEP, a Colombian human rights organisation. “Today it is impossible to separate the problem of illicit cultivation from the conflict itself. Support to fumigation operations by the military, when the commitment of troops is conceived as fighting the so-called narco-guerrilla, makes fumigation part of counter-insurgency objectives.” (36)


References

1. Los cultivos ilícitos siguen en bonanza, El Espectador, 29 August 1998.
2. Como arar en el mar, Revista Semana, 26 January 1998.
3. For an overview of the environmental damage and health problems caused by fumigation, see: Coletta Youngers, Coca Eradication Efforts in Colombia, WOLA: Washington June 1997. The briefing also reports helicopter gunfire on civilian populations prior to aerial fumigation.
4 Colombia wary of US-backed herbicide, Reuters, 15 April 1998; and Coca, Poppy Killer May Harm Amazon, Associated Press, 23 April 1998.
5 Tebuthiuron granules, sold commercially as Spike 20P, should be used "caully and in controlled situations," Dow cautioned, because "it can be very risky in situations where terrain has slopes, rainfall is significant, desirable plants are nearby and application is made under less than ideal circumstances." See: Colombia to Test Herbicide Against Coca Crops, The New York Times, June 20, 1998; and Herbicides versus market forces, The Economist, 11 April 1998.
6. Drug Eradication Programme Fails, Associated Press, 16 August, 1998.
7. Colombia Calls Drug Crop Eradication A Failure, Reuters, 9 September 1998.
8. "Las Farc quieren romper con narcos", El Espectador, 26 July 1998; Colombian Farmers Cultivating More Coca Crops Than Ever, The Houston Chronicle, 23 August 1998; and Colombia Fights its Dependence on Coca Economy, The Miami Herald, 31 August 1998.
9. Condiciones de E.U. para certificación, El Espectador, 10 August 1998. Translated from the Spanish original text: Expansión e intensificación del programmea de erradicación: El programmea de erradicación adelantado por la Policía Nacional logró excelentes resultados en 1997, habiéndose logrado una reducción del 25% en el departamento del Guaviare, el área de mayor concentración de la fumigación. Infortunadamente se presentó una masiva expansión de cultivos de coca por fuera de esa zona. Nuestro mutuo desafío consiste en enfrentar dicha expansión. Apoyamos la ampliación del programmea de erradicación aérea en Caquetá y el inicio de operaciones en Putumayo durante 1998. Para lograr resultados efectivos, los pilotos norteamericanos deben ser socios totales en las operaciones de erradicación que se adelanten en el sur, sin restricciones indebidas. Estamos firmemente en favour de un programmea de ensayo de un herbicida granular eficaz, que en materia económica sea viable y ambientalmente seguro.
10. US Launches Covert Programme to Aid Colombia, The Dallas Morning News, August 19, 1998; and US officials Deny Direct Colombia Aid, The Dallas Morning News, August 21, 1998.
11. US Will Help Coca Growers Switch to Other Crops, The New York Times, 13 August, 1998.
12. In Colombia, Plan To Replace Coca Is Scorned, The New York Times, 20 August, 1998.
13. Colombian Farmers Cultivating More Coca Crops Than Ever, The Houston Chronicle, 23 August, 1998.
14. Paz pero no a costa de narcóticos, El Espectador, 9 September 1998.
15. Colombia Urges Peace with Rebels, Associated Press, 22 October 1998; and Colombian President Seeks to Ease Drug Friction with US, Associated Press, 28 October 1998.
16. Fumigación, piedra del escándalo, El Espectador, 17 October 1998.
17. Introduction of the “Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act”, Hon. Bill McCollum of Florida in the House of Representatives, July 22, 1998 (H.R.4300 House of Representatives).
18. US Drug Czar Questions Colombia Rebels On Peace, Reuters, 9 August, 1998.
19. US Launches Covert Programme to Aid Colombia.
20. "Las Farc quieren romper con narcos", El Espectador, 26 July 1998.
21. Eln ofrece coordinar sustitución de cultivos, El Espectador, 15 August 1998.
22. Marulanda said this during a conversation with the Secretary-General of the Partido Comunista de Argentina, Patricio Echegaray, which was published in the Argentinean daily Clarín. Otro camino para los cultivos ilícitos, El Espectador, 10 September,1998.
23. Paz pero no a costa de narcóticos, El Espectador, 9 September 1998.
24. Segundo impulso, Revista Semana, 14 September, 1998
25. Olor a desierto en la Amazonia y Orinoquia, El Espectador, 16 September 1998.
26. Así son las temibles "fumigas" en Caquetá, El Espectador, 2 May 1998.
27. Utilización de Imazapyr en las fumigación de Cultivos Ilícitos en el Departamento del Putumayo, Report of the Defensoría del Pueblo, 30 October 1998. Samples out of the area were analysed at the Universidad de los Andes and identified as imazapyr.
28. Drugs and Development, monthly newsletter of ENCOD, No. 11 September 1998.
29. Las largas alas del ‘cartel azul', El Tiempo, 11 November 1998. The article documents the long history —since 1984— of drug and arms trafficking of the Colombian Air Force, the so-called Blue Cartel.
30. Ejército a combatir narcotráfico, El Espectador, 24 September, 1998.
31. Controversia por Ejército antinarcóticos, El Espectador, 27 September, 1998.
32. General Accounting Office, Drug Control: US Counternarcotics Efforts in Colombia Face Continuing Challenges, February 1998, GAO/NSIAD-98-60. According to the Dallas Morning News, the United States earmarked more than $830 million in counternarcotics support to Colombia since 1990, citing the February GAO report and other official data. Only one-third went directly to anti-narcotics assistance, while the remaining two-thirds went for military-related expenditures. US Launches Covert Programme to Aid Colombia, Dallas Morning News, 19 August, 1998.
33. US Launches Covert Programme to Aid Colombia, Dallas Morning News, 19 August, 1998.
34. Coletta Youngers & Peter Zirnite, El peor enemigo de sí mismo: la guerra antidrogas de Washington en América Latina, in Democracias bajo fuego – Drogas y poder en América Latina, TNI/Acción Andina/Brecha: Montevideo 1998, p.220-221
35. General Accounting Office, Long-Standing Problems Hinder US International Efforts, GAO/NSIAD-97-75, February 1997, p. 16; Youngers & Zirnite, op cit., p. 267.
36. Ricardo Vargas, The Impact of Aerial Fumigation Efforts in Colombia, statement at conference The War on Drugs: Addicted to failure, Washington, June 11, 1998.