Tag Archives: putumayo

Plan Colombia’s Killing Fields

A visit to the coca growing regions of southern Colombia clearly illustrates that more than coca is being eradicated by the U.S.-sponsored aerial fumigation. While the spraying has eradicated thousands of acres of coca over the past one and a half years, it has also destroyed the food crops and livelihood of impoverished Colombian farmers in the targeted regions. Recent attempts to more accurately direct the aerial attacks against illicit crops have also failed to protect food crops. And as both the fumigation campaign and the civil conflict intensify, there is evidence of collusion between the Colombian army’s U.S.-trained counternarcotics brigade and paramilitary death squads that are on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

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Death Falls from the Sky in Colombia

On December 19, 2000, the Colombian army’s two U.S.-trained anti-narcotics battalions arrived in Putumayo, Colombia’s principal coca growing region. For the next six weeks U.S.-supplied Huey helicopters swooped down almost daily to unload soldiers to prevent attacks against the fumigation planes by leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries. In early February, with 62,000 acres of coca destroyed, the politicians and generals in Washington and Bogotá were calling Plan Colombia’s initial fumigation campaign a success. But on the ground in Putumayo it was clear that more than coca had been eradicated.

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