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· DynCorp Devastation of Civilian Life in South America Looks Like Ground Clearing and Depopulation on Behalf of the Oil Companies

· Burning Chemicals Produce Same Gas Used in Nazi Death Camps


Stopping the hard drug trade, ending a 35 year-old civil war, eliminating human rights abuses and returning political stability to one of the oldest democracies in the Americas all sound like good ideas, but the bottom line in Plan Colombia has more to do with big business, and particularly the oil business, than any of the above.

by Peter Gorman – Special to From The Wilderness

(An earlier version of this story was published in
The Fort Worth Weekly on March 13, 2003)

[© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, All rights reserved. THIS IS A SUBSCRIBER-ONLY STORY AND MAY NOT BE POSTED ON A WEB SITE WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION. Contact This story may be redistributed, circulated or copied for non-profit purposes only.]

March 31, 2003, 0100 PST (FTW) -- "On the worst days, there are sometimes more than 30 of them," she says. ‘They come in with nothing but their muchilas, backpacks. They’ve left everything to get out of Colombia. Or even worse, they come from our own border here in Ecuador. They are sick. Some have sores and rashes. They can't breathe; they complain their joints ache or that they can no longer see clearly. No one believes us but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true."

The woman paused. Her name is Sister Carmen Rosa Perez and she is a nun working at the Iglesia Miguel de Sucumbios in Lago Agria, the largest city in Sucumbios, one of the districts that fronts the Putumayo river. Across the river is the Colombian province of Putumayo, a remote region in northwest Amazonia that has become the center of both Bill Clinton’s Plan Colombia and George Bush’s expanded Andean Initiative.  Sister Carmen’s job since October, 2000 has been to see to the refugees from Colombia’s raging civil war and get them properly registered. In two years she and the other nuns at the church have registered 3,676 refugees of the combat. The vast majority has come from Colombia, to escape the violence of the right wing paramilitaries, the AUC, the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, or the Colombian military. But in the past several months, she says, there are more and more Ecuadorians passing through the church as well. They come because they have been brutalized, either by the conflict spilling across the river that separates the two countries, or by the loss of their crops to the defoliation that plays such a key part of Plan Colombia.

"At first they came to escape the violence, but now they mostly come to try to find work and food to feed their families. The spraying has killed all their crops, all their animals, even the animals of the forest are gone."

The Business of Plan Colombia

When Bill Clinton unveiled Plan Colombia in late 1999, its stated goals included eradicating the coca and opium poppy plants used to make cocaine and heroin, respectively, while helping the Colombian government end its civil war, reduce human rights abuses, and reestablish political stability through aid to its military and police forces. There was beauty in the Plan’s simplicity: eliminating the plants which produced the drugs that generated black market funding for its civil war would almost solve all the problems facing Colombia simultaneously. And while President Bush has expanded Plan Colombia’s vision—along with renaming it The Andean Initiative—to include the deconstruction of all "terrorist groups" operating in Colombia, he’s kept the other stated goals in place.

Yet Plan Colombia may not have been fueled by a sense of US righteousness nearly as much as it was by the push of big business. The war in Colombia had been raging for more than 30 years, after all, before the US decided to get involved. Cocaine use had already peaked during the crack epidemic of the late 1980s and ‘90s and was on the decline long before intervention in Colombia became a White House imperative. But in 1996, the US-Colombia Business Partnership was founded to represent US companies with interests in Colombia, and a well-financed lobbying effort for just such intervention began. The companies represented by the Business Partnership included the Occidental Petroleum Corp, the Enron Corp, Texaco and BP Amoco, among others. Each had huge stakes in Colombia.

The early winners in the $1.3 billion Plan Colombia sweepstakes that Congress approved in 2000 were three military contractors. Sikorsky Helicopters, of Stratford, Connecticut, secured a $360 million contract for 30 Black Hawk helicopters; the Ft. Worth-based Bell got a $66 million contract for 33 of its Huey helicopters, and DynCorp, out of Reston, Virginia had an ongoing contract for crop fumigation renewed for two years for nearly $600 million. Thus DynCorp, a company which primarily utilizes former military personnel for its government contracts worldwide became the lynchpin of Plan Colombia. St. Louis-based Monsanto, the pharmaceutical giant which had provided Agent Orange as a defoliant during the Viet Nam war was also a beneficiary as one of its products, Roundup—glyphosate— was chosen as the Plan Colombia herbicide.

The biggest potential winners in the Plan Colombia sweepstakes though, the oil companies, will have to wait a while for their payoff, but when it comes it will be a good one. The US Geological Survey Hollin-Napo Unit, part of the World Petroleum Resource Assessment 2000 was released just prior to the passage of Plan Colombia in April 2000. What it indicated was that there were between 130 and 300 commercially viable but undiscovered oil fields in the region covering Southern Colombia, northeastern Ecuador and northwestern Peru. The heaviest concentration of those are in Putumayo in Colombia and across the river in Sucumbios, Ecuador. Estimates of field size begin at 1 million barrels—less is not commercially viable—and top out at 750 million barrels. But those estimates may be low: One of the fields pinpointed in the Survey was discovered in 2002 and has 1.41 billion barrels of proven reserves, doubling Ecuador’s known oil reserves.

But standing in the way of most of the oil exploration in Putumayo is civil war and coca; in Sucumbios there is the protected reserve status of much of the land and it is diligently protected by local and foreign environmentalists.

Another issue that exists in both Putumayo and Sucumbios is the difficulty of pinpointing oil reserves because of the thick jungle canopy that covers much of the region. Satellite photography, an invaluable tool in oil exploration, cannot see through forests.

Gordon Staples, Research and Product Developer for RADARSAT, a Canadian Satellite Imaging company says that "In the dense forests of Central Canada geologists see variation in forest-type which implies geological formation—they can read the topology despite not seeing it. But in areas of dense tropical jungle the geology is that much more complex. In other words, the differentiation between oil deposits and subsurface water deposits is considerably easier if there is no ground cover."

Coca in Colombia

There are more than 200 species in the Erythroxylaceae, or coca, family, but only two have a high enough cocaine alkaloid content to have any commercial value: Erythroxylum coca v coca, or Bolivian coca and Erythroxylum novogranatense v novogranatense, Colombian coca. Both species have been cultivated for at least 3,000 years and the plant’s leaves have traditionally been utilized for religious, social and medicinal reasons. But until recently, only Bolivian coca was used in the manufacture of cocaine. It grows well in the moist tropical forests on the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains in Bolivia and Peru at altitudes ranging from 1,500 to 6,500 feet and has an alkaloid content considerably higher than any of the others.

Despite its lower alkaloid content, during the mid-1990s, when Colombia overtook Peru as the world’s number one producer of coca, Colombian coca was pressed into commercial use because Bolivian coca doesn’t grow there. Colombian coca grew well on either mountain slopes or in the sweltering lowland jungle and was particularly draught resistant.

With a lesser alkaloid content, meeting 70-80% of the world’s demand for cocaine necessitated growing more acreage than was needed with Bolivian coca, which led to major increases in acreage under cultivation in the last 10 years. Colombia, for instance, was estimated to be growing about 250,000 acres as late as 1998. But State Department numbers suggest that during 2001, Colombia had roughly 420,000 acres under cultivation, an increase of 40% over four years. That increase, much of which has taken place in the southern Colombian state of Putumayo, has been a perfect pretext, generating numbers that justify Plan Colombia’s key stated component of coca eradication in the media, and therefore the US public’s eyes. 


During 2001, the first year spraying was done under the banner of Plan Colombia, US Ambassador to Colombia Anne Patterson estimated that 198,000 acres of coca were fumigated, much of that in Putumayo. But with the onset of Plan Colombia came the onset of problems for the people in the region. Farmers claimed that despite US assurances from the State Department that spraying would be pinpoint and only utilized on coca crops of more than seven acres, thousands of people with small family farms were sprayed as well, got sick and were ultimately displaced by the spraying. Additionally, there were complaints of animals dying and food crops poisoned.

The US denied the allegations, insisting that the product being used, a variant of Monsanto’s household herbicide Roundup, was safe. On April 30, 2001, shortly after Plan Colombia’s coca fumigation began, William R. Brownfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer that "The agent used in aerial eradication is the herbicide glyphosate... It is one of the least harmful herbicides to appear on the world market…  Accounts claiming that glyphosate causes damage to humans, animals and the environment are unfounded."

Deputy Assistant Secretary Brownfield was either misinformed or lying. Four months before he opined in the Inquirer, Dutch journalist Marjon van Royen had published an admission by the State Department in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handlesblad, that it wasn’t Roundup, but Roundup Ultra that was being used in the spraying in Colombia. Additionally, the State Department admitted that a Colombian product called Cosmoflux was added to the spray mixture as a surfactant to help keep the herbicide on the plant long enough to do its work. But with their admissions, the State Department was quick to add that both Roundup Ultra and Cosmoflux were approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

That was nonsense. The EPA had never heard of Cosmoflux and according to a spokesperson even now they have not tested it: "We don’t examine products made for use in a foreign country."

The question of whether it was Roundup or Roundup Ultra that was being used, and the presence of Cosmoflux is not a minor one in the context of the collateral damage spraying might do to food crops, animals and people. Roundup Ultra is considerably stronger than the regular Roundup found in garden centers. It was only approved for use in the US in November 2001, and then only for certain commercial, non-agricultural applications. The handling instructions correspond to the highest Environmental Protection Agency toxicity rating, Class 1, while common Roundup falls into the lower, Class 3 rating. Aside from Roundup Ultra’s toxicity, there is also the question of the chemical formulation of Cosmoflux. Scientists who have requested the Cosmoflux formula to conduct such testing have been told by the State Department that the information is "proprietary" and "classified."

Despite US denial that Roundup Ultra combined with Cosmoflux is hazardous to humans and animals in Colombia, the warning label of common Roundup alone suggests otherwise. Regarding humans: "Do not allow workers into treated areas for a period of four hours." Regarding animals: "We recommend that grazing animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, tortoises and fowl remain out of the treated area for two weeks." Regarding plant life: "Avoid contact of herbicide to foliage, green stems, exposed non-woody roots or fruit of crops, desirable plants, and trees because severe injury or destruction is likely to result."

The Roundup label makes particular note of drift as well, under a section boldly headlined "ATTENTION," in which it is stated in capital letters: "AVOID DRIFT. EXTREME CARE MUST BE USED WHEN APPLYING THIS PRODUCT TO PREVENT INJURY TO DESIRABLE PLANTS AND CROPS."

Those warnings were more accurate than Deputy Assistant Secretary Brownfield’s assessment of the damage the fumigation campaign was doing. Two health and environmental studies were carried out after complaints from campesinos were made shortly after Plan Colombia spraying began: one in southern Colombian department of Putumayo and the other in the northern Ecuador province of Sucumbios. The Colombian study, by biologist Elsa Nivia between February and April of 2001 indicated that more than four thousand people in Putumayo were suffering from acute eye irritation, respiratory problems, heart arrhythmias, skin lesions and rashes, temporary paralysis and temporary blindness among other health problems. Additionally, thousands of animals had died, and food crops were destroyed.

The Ecuadorian study, done in May and June of the same year under the direction of Dr. Adolpho Mondonaldo was even more revealing, as Ecuador was not supposed to be sprayed or affected by drift. Dr. Mondonaldo, studying villages at distances of two, five and ten kilometers from the Putumayo river on the Ecuadorian side found that 100% those living within two and five kilometers of the river suffered the identical symptoms as those living in Putumayo, Colombia. Among those people living 10 kilometers from the river 89% suffered identical symptoms. And as in Colombia, damage to food crops was severe, reaching 85-90% reduction in production.

The US State Department would not comment on the studies.

The complaints were not coming from those with what the US described as "commercial plantations"—more than seven acres. The vast majority came from farmers who, as a CIA 2002 bulletin titled "Coca Factsheet, A Primer" noted, had less than one hectare of coca under cultivation. And the complaints were not coming only from what the Colombian government repeatedly called "environmental extremists." In the Spring of 2001, the German government complained that chemical drift had destroyed several fishponds they’d underwritten; Colombia’s own Human Rights Ombudsman office contacted the State Department to call for an end to the fumigation. Klaus Nyholm, chief of the United Nations drug control efforts in Colombia weighed in as well, claiming that the spraying was driving coca farmers to clear new areas of virgin jungle in which to grow.

The indigenous peoples of Putumayo also complained bitterly about the spraying in an open letter to the Colombian and US governments and several environmental groups. The letter, dated July 10, 2002, was titled "SOS From the Indigenous Peoples of Putumayo." It was signed by members of 13 distinct tribal groups and reads, in part, "We hold the Colombian government responsible for the misery, hunger, destruction and violence that fumigation causes in our territories. Fumigation is death. Fumigation is ethnocide. Glyphosate kills. It destroys food crops and pastureland and contaminates the water…. The indigenous people of Putumayo reject the cultivation of illicit crops. But we equally reject the violent methods with which it is combated."

The closest the US has come to accepting that there might be problems came on September 5, 2002, when the Bush Administration, presented a report on the health and environmental risks of glyphosate to Congress. In it, it was noted that aerial spraying of herbicide "may cause eye irritation to farmers on the ground" but poses no "unreasonable risks or adverse affects'' to humans or the environment. Environmentalists railed against the report’s results, noting that the Administration was investigating its own program with no outside oversight.

In addition to the problems caused directly by the spraying of the toxic Roundup Ultra-Cosmoflux herbicide mix, according to the product’s safety sheet, when Roundup is burned "4% of the volume released into the air is acetonitirile." Acetonitrile is methyl cyanide (CH3CN), which is metabolized into hydrogen cyanide (HCN) by the human body, the same gas used in the Nazi death camps. It is so dangerous to humans that the safety instructions include a caution that "When burned, stay out of smoke," and goes on to note that "firefighters or others who may be exposed to vapors or products of combustion should wear full protective clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus."

Drug Enforcement Administration documents produced in connection with early glyphosate spraying of Colombian marijuana fields list some of the hazards of inhaling burning glyphosate as "chest pains, cough, abdominal cramps, dyspnea [difficulty breathing], nausea, headache, chills, lassitude and fatigue." Other DEA documents conceded additional health problems include "pale to ashen-grey skin, shallow pulse, hypotension, transient paralysis and tachynea."

The issue is important because the coca growers in Colombia, like the farmers throughout Amazonia, utilize the slash-and-burn method of agriculture: they cut a section of forest and burn the vegetation on it to produce potash, which enhances soil nutrients. "There are no tractors here," says Sister Carmen of Sucumbios, who was raised in Colombia. "The people also cut and burn their fields after spraying and we think they are suffering for breathing of those burning chemicals. But there are large interests here at work, political and economic interests."

The State Department’s Rebecca Brown-Thompson was unaware that 4% of the volume released in burning glyphosate would metabolize into hydrogen cyanide. "But then why is that a problem?" Told that the farmers in the region were slash-and-burn agriculturalists, she pleaded ignorance. "I didn’t know that. They really do that there?"

Getting the Drift

The drift problem from the fumigation campaign has reached the point where Sister Carmen says the "frontier region has changed drastically since Plan Colombia’s inception."

Cesar Cerda, a Quichua Indian whose village in Sucumbios is near the Putumayo frontier says "The planes come to the river. Sometimes they come to our side and spray. Even when they don’t the spray comes across the river and kills our food. Our platanos, our yucca, our coffee is all gone. Even our animals are dead, and there are no animals to hunt in the forest because they have gone somewhere else."

Asked if he or his representatives had complained to the government, Cerda said they had. "They won’t come because they say there is no problem here. Why? Because they have made pacts with the United States. But the truth is that life on the river has changed since Plan Colombia started."

Sister Carmen says that both the church where she works and the indigenous groups have sent repeated requests to Quito, Ecuador’s capital, asking for an investigation of the drift that has come into Ecuador. "They always promise they will send someone but they never have. Our government backs Plan Colombia, so why should they come? In whose interest would it be to investigate the complaints of the victims?"

Despite official denials, the drift of glyphosate affected so many people that a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the people of Sucumbios against DynCorp was filed by the International Labor Rights Fund in September, 2001. The suit alleges that the drift in Ecuador is purposeful, rather than the result of pilot error or an accident of wind. Among the allegations in the lawsuit are that "the American oil industry maintains a lobbying group in Washington D.C. under the name the U.S.-Colombia Business Partnership that lobbies the Congress of the United States, and the Executive Offices and related agencies of the United States, for continuous funding and expansion of Plan Colombia.

  "Plaintiffs further allege on good faith, information and belief that contributing members to the U.S.-Colombia Business Partnership, include Texaco, Inc., Occidental Petroleum and BP Amoco, which have or expect to have oil interests in the region of Ecuador where Plaintiffs reside…

"Plaintiffs allege…that the spraying of Plaintiffs’ persons, lands and livestock with toxic fumigants is nothing less than an act of mercenary war carried out surreptitiously by the DynCorp Defendants…"           

The State Department’s Brown-Thompson says the suit is unfounded. "We use satellite imagery to pinpoint areas to be sprayed, then send in planes to verify the presence of large areas of illegal crops," she says. "After that, the crops are sprayed, and subsequently those sprayed areas are checked to see that no additional crops were affected."

Calls to several crop-dusting companies in the US southwest found that to limit drift, spraying is done at an altitude that was equal to the height of the plant being sprayed. But reports from Colombia and comments from the US State department indicate that the spraying in Plan Colombia is generally being done at heights of 50-100 feet. Crop-dusters, as a point of pride, like to touch the plants they are spraying. "The planes are never more than one-to-three feet from the ground when we’re spraying cotton, maybe 5 feet when it’s corn," said one pilot at Ballard’s Crop Dusting in Winter, Texas.

Asked how much drift would occur with a plane flying at 10 feet, the pilot said, "at least 50 feet on either side of the plane."

Corky Wilson, owners of Wilson Aerial Spray in Lockney, Texas, agreed. "Hell, if you’re flying at 10 feet you’re not crop dusting. You’re burning. The only time we do that in Texas is to kill mesquite trees."

Told that the US admits its planes frequently spray at altitudes of 50-100 feet, Wilson laughed. "You’re burning the whole forest now. Hell, at 20 feet on a windless day you’ve got a 150 foot drift on either wing. At 100 feet you got a cloud that might travel miles."

An Allegation

While most of the problems related to Plan Colombia appear to be occurring along the border regions of both Colombia and Ecuador, startling new allegations have been made that spray planes are going deep into Ecuadorian Amazonia. Inez Sheguango Fonaqen, a Quichua Indian and the Regent of the territory along the upper Rio Napo, claims that central Amazonia is also being fumigated. "Planes come into Ecuador regularly," she told this reporter. They are spraying the jungle here, killing the jungle and jungle animals here."

Asked how they could come in unnoticed, Shenguango says "They come at night with no lights and fly over the jungle. I have asked the government for film camera to prove it, but the government won’t give me one. They say our communities are inventing the problems and inventing the story."

Two things do hint that she may not be off the mark. The first is that in July, 2001, US Ambassador to Colombia Anne Patterson told reporters "there are…plans to outfit some crop dusters with night-vision scopes to enable pilots to spray after dark, when they are less exposed to fire from guerrillas, paramilitaries or farmers who grow coca."

The second came from the State Department’s Rebecca Brown-Thompson, who, when asked about the possibility of night incursions into Ecuador, said: "They cannot be our planes entering Ecuador. But I can only speak for the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. I cannot speak for other areas of government."

If the allegation were true, of course, it would be proof that at least one key element of the Plan Colombia/Andean Initiative campaign really is to defoliate the region, and if that were true it could only be to get at the commodities the region has to offer. Oil is a known commodity. There may be others.

New Oil Leases in Putumayo

While the allegation made by Inez Sheguango may or may not finally be proven true, the presence of oil, and plenty of it, in both the Colombia department of Putumayo and the Ecuadorian province of Sucumbios is a reality. Aside from the ITT field, earlier this year Colombia’s state-owned oil company, Ecopetrol, signed contracts with two firms to explore for oil in blocks located in Putumayo. Canada’s Petrobank Energy and Resources has contracted to explore 30,000 hectares in Putumayo’s Moqueta region, while the US Argosy Energy International has signed a contract to explore the 20,000 hectare Gayuyaco area. Ecopetrol has estimated that Putumayo has a minimum of 2.4 billion barrels of undiscovered oil reserves. Ecopetrol is hoping to sign several more contracts in Putumayo before the end of the year.


It is difficult to imagine that oil company representatives met with ranking members of the State Department and explained that if the rainforest and people in southern Colombia and northern Ecuador were eliminated, they would deliver enough oil to cushion against any future problems in the Mideast. The time delay in drilling and delivering the oil to market precludes this. But the fact is that the entire planet is running out of oil, so longer term concerns are just as important. Nevertheless, even if the intentions of Plan Colombia/the Andean Initiative were honestly to eliminate the cocaine and heroin and take the money out of Colombia’s civil war the fact is that Plan Colombia will finally be about oil.

The pursuit of rebels by the Colombian military in the south, along with the spraying of coca fields there, is forcing both the rebels, as well as the campesinos, to cross into Ecuador for safety.

And pressure on both groups is about to increase, as the US doubles the spray area in Colombia in 2002 to fumigate 90% of the coca crop, and in 2003 plans to fumigate 100%. But with the drift in Ecuador already eliminating a large segment of the population on the border, and with the added pressure of thousands of refugees cutting new fields from the jungle there, it shouldn’t take long to have the entire region cleared of both people and rainforest.

At that point the oil fest can begin in earnest.



Because the coca plant is very slow growing, the questions that come to mind when thinking about all the plants the US has paid to have eradicated in Colombia are: where do the new plants come from and when do they have time to mature?

According to US State Department documents, the Bolivian coca plant, the world standard for making cocaine until the mid-1990s, takes three years from seed to first harvest. Colombian coca, which supposedly replaced Bolivian coca as the world’s standard in the late-1990s, grows considerably faster because it is planted from cuttings, not seed. A 2002 CIA bulletin titled "Coca Fact Sheet: A Primer" suggests that when planted from cuttings it can be harvested in as little as 6-8 months.

The same CIA Fact Sheet suggests there are between 14,000 and 45,000 plants per hectare (about 2.5 acres) of coca. If we average that out to 20,000 plants per hectare, there would be 8,000 plants per acre.

Last year, under the aegis of Plan Colombia, more than 250,000 acres of coca were destroyed in Colombia. This year that number will increase to nearly 400,000, or almost every acre of coca under cultivation in Colombia. At 8,000 plants per, that comes to 3,200,000,000 plants. That’s three billion, two hundred million plants.

Where are the cuttings for next year’s crop going to come from if we’ve wiped out their entire crop this year? Where did this year’s three billion cuttings come from if we wiped out most of the crop last year?

Cuttings come from mother plants. If we assumed that a mother plant was capable of producing a startlingly high 1,000 cuttings per annum, there would still need to be 3,200,000 mother plants somewhere. Where are that many mother plants being kept? Has anyone bothered to look for such a large greenhouse?

Of course, even if there were such a greenhouse in Colombia, there would still be the question of distribution: How on earth would anyone distribute three billion cuttings without being noticed?

Those questions were posed to the State Department, which had no real answer. "I’ve never thought of that before," said Rebecca Brown-Thompson, spokesperson for Rand Beers, the Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. "Why don’t you ask the Drug Enforcement Administration?"

A DEA spokesman responded with: "I get what you’re getting at, the numbers don’t add up. But Plan Colombia has nothing to do with the DEA. That’s State Department all the way."

The reason there is no answer is that there are no cuttings. There might be some, of course, but not three billion, not three million. Colombian coca growing, on the scale it’s grown to during the last decade, is now done like it is done in Bolivia and Peru, from seed. Which means it takes three years to grow. And since we’ve been wiping out more and more of the crop annually, there are fewer and fewer mature plants to harvest. Next year, if we’re being told the truth, there won’t be any. Which means there won’t be a harvest in Colombia.

That should wipe out the world’s coca supply for at least three years, at a minimum, by which time any stored cocaine will have hit the streets and been used up. The world ought to be coca-dry.

It won’t be. The prices probably won’t even fluctuate. And if they don’t it will mean only one thing: that the elimination of coca from southern Colombia has no effect on world supply. Which will suggest that it never did, that the coca that produces the world supply is grown elsewhere, maybe in unsprayed, protected valleys, or that Peru and Bolivia are still producing sufficient supplies, despite a reduction in their crops.

Of course, that would suggest that Plan Colombia is a sham. That the spraying of southern Colombia and the collateral damage it’s causing—displacement of thousands of people, loss of legal crops and animals and rainforest defoliation—are being done for other ends.

What are those ends? Oil is an obvious answer. There may be others. We won’t find out for a while, but keep your eyes on it. It’ll become apparent soon enough.

Peter Gorman

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