Vía Campesina unites more than a hundred national and subnational organisations from Latin America, North America, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe opposed to neo-liberalism and advocating a pro-poor, sustainable, rights-based rural development and greater democratisation.
This issue of Crime & Globalisation, tracks the history of the concept of organised crime and its metamorphosis into a "transnational" phenomenon allegedly posing a serious threat to global world order.
In this briefing the Transnational Institute explains why the Colombian government has been unwilling to give ground on this minimal demand, which the Ecuadorians have been making since 2001, shortly after the aerial spraying began as part of Plan Colombia.
The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), an agency affiliated with the OAS, recently joined the large number of existing scientific studies on the possible health and environmental effects of Round Up, the glyphosate formula being sprayed on illicit crops in Colombia. CICAD’s investigation, under the direction of an international scientific team, concluded that the chemicals used in the spraying — glyphosate and Cosmo-Flux — do not affect human health or the environment, and that at most they could cause temporary skin and eye irritation, but serious doubts exist. The National University of Colombia’s Environmental Studies Institute published a critical analysis of the CICAD study, which considered technical aspects of the investigation, finding methodological shortcomings, as well as omissions and inconsistencies throughout the report. Those findings could point to a lack of impartiality in the CICAD study.
The forced crop eradication policy implemented by the Peruvian government over the past 25 years has failed. The official strategy has exacerbated social conflicts; contributed to various types of subversive violence; jeopardized local economies, also affecting the national economy; and destroyed forests as crops have become more scattered. Worst of all, it has not resolved any of the underlying causes of drug trafficking, such as poverty, marginalisation and government neglect.
In November 2004 an unknown mystery plane sprayed opium poppy fields in eastern Afghanistan. Although the US denied any involvement, the US State Department is pressing for aggressive aerial eradiction campaigns to counter the booming opium economy. Due to policy controversies the State Department had to back off. At least for the time being.
Reports of the discovery of a coca plant in Colombia's Sierra Nevada that have a high cocaine content and a higher level of purity, and also resistant to the effects of aerial spraying is based on evidence that is riddled with errors and distortions. It reflects badly on the INCB and the media that unquestioningly reported it.
The Peruvian government has become the victim of the false image of success of its drug control policies it launched at the end of the 1990's. The international community needs to recognise the reasons for Peru's so-called success proving unsustainable and to help the country design and draft a more effective anti-drug strategy.
An impressive reduction of the coca-cultivated area has been achieved within the framework of Plan Dignidad, but this ‘success’ has exacted a heavy toll in terms of the impoverishment and criminalisation of the Bolivian coca leaf-growing peasantry, or cocaleros, as they are known.
Amira Armenta, Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman, Virginia Montañés
20 December 2001
With the new international context of the war against terrorism, the war on drugs moves centre stage as well. While drugs and terrorism are now shoved together to demonise the ‘evil’ enemy, reality is the victim. Blending the two wars to one seriously endangers the advances made to find a solution to the drug problem.