About a year ago, Carolina saw the fumigation planes flying low over her family's farm near the Ecuadorian border here. They were trailed by clouds of herbicide, which killed the family's crops of coffee, yucca, peanuts and bananas.
The United States-financed spraying is supposed to kill illegal coca bushes, the base ingredient for making cocaine. But Carolina said her family had no coca, although many of their neighbors did. "They fumigated the whole land, corn, rice, bananas, pineapples and forage," she said. "The three animals we had, cows and calves, died three weeks later."
"The battle against narcotrafficking can't be a platform for trampling the environment or human beings," Chavez said. "The battle against narcotrafficking has been imperialism's excuse for penetrating into our countries, trampling our peoples and having military presence in our nations."
"We have dozens, hundreds of testimonies that glyphosate has fallen [onto people], that it has ruined their crops, that they have diarrhea, vomiting, etc, and that the children have skin eruptions,"
The U.S. government sends more than $700 million annually in mostly military aid to Colombia to combat drug crops and the outlaw armies that finance themselves from them. But while the total land area of coca cultivation here has dropped, the drug supply to U.S. cities has remained stable, according to the U.S. government's own studies.
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