Monsanto, Cocaine and Colombia’s “War on Drugs”

There’s a vicious war taking place in South America, and the weapon of choice is none other than Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, the primary active ingredient in the company’s nefarious Roundup formula. Reports indicate that the Colombian government’s “war on drugs”, which in that country means actively fighting the cultivation of the coca plant (which is used to manufacture cocaine), involves spraying glyphosate and other deadly chemicals from aircraft in order to forcibly kill the plants.

Little-known to the rest of the world is the fact that glyphosate is right now being used in the same way as military machine guns to target and destroy nature in one of the most bio-diverse regions of the world. And in the process, thousands of indigenous Colombians are being exposed to a chemical that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently admitted is a “probable human carcinogen,” meaning it causes cancer.

The Guardian‘s David Hill recently wrote about his experience investigating the goings on of this coca-rich region of the world, accounting how many locals there have been forced to make a lifestyle out of avoiding routine glyphosate sprayings for their own health. Aircraft blasting Monsanto’s death poisons on fields are not only damaging other crops and polluting groundwater, but they’re ultimately making the people that live in and around these areas deathly ill.

“Many people, both in Colombia and abroad, have condemned and protested the fumigations for years,” he writes, noting that Colombia has been actively using glyphosate as a weapon in the U.S.-promulgated war on drugs for more than 20 years.

“The state reasons – aside from the fact they haven’t succeeded in eradicating coca cultivation – are legion. One such reason is that they have killed 1,000s of hectares of legal crops belonging to 1,000s of campesinos, Afro-Colombians and indigenous people, and because of devastating environmental impacts including destroying soil fertility, contaminating water, and pushing coca cultivation deeper into particularly environmentally sensitive, biodiversity-rich regions like the Amazon.”

The “war on drugs” needs to end, and so does Monsanto

Similar to the disastrous consequences of “the war on drugs” that continue to plague the U.S., Colombia’s aggressive actions against a natural plant have also spurred the growth of paramilitaries, guerrillas, and violent cartels throughout Colombia, which are spreading to Ecuador and other nearby countries. The war on drugs has also vastly increased the poverty rate while contributing to widespread disease.

“We find significant effects of spraying campaigns on the probability of occurrence of dermatological problems (skin irritations, highlight burnings, etc.) and abortions,” revealed a recent study co-written by Daniel Mejia, president of the Colombian government’s Advisory Commission on Narcotics Policy, which looked at glyphosate fumigations between 2003 and 2007.

“Our results corroborate some of the results in the medical literature (e.g., the negative effects of exposure to glyphosate on dermatological problems and abortions).”

So what can we do to stop these heinous crimes against humanity? The first and most logical step would be to immediately stop “the war on drugs” and stop waging combat against nature, which ultimately amounts to endless aggression against people like you and me. Colombia has proposed removing glyphosate from its spraying endeavors based on the WHO report, but the sprayings themselves also need to stop.

You can also sign the following two petitions to have Roundup removed from the home improvement chains Home Depot and Lowe’s.

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Articles by: Ethan A. Huff

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