President Biden continues the U.S. government’s imperialism in South America via it’s “war on drugs” — an extension of the Clinton-Bush-Obama–Hillary Clinton policies. (See the article from Common Dreams, below.) We need to oppose U.S. pressure on the government of Colombia and elsewhere, and Biden’s ongoing support for the Monsanto Corporation (now Bayer) and Coca Cola’s deadly use of Roundup/Glyphosate. We need to oppose poisons to dispossess indigenous peasants from their lands.
Are you ready to fight the Biden administration on this?
The No Spray Coalition is considering organizing a protest at the Democratic Party headquarters in NYC and perhaps elsewhere. We need is a national and international campaign against pesticides, and an understanding among large numbers of people to hold responsible those officials who continue to do Monsanto’s bidding — like NYC Mayor de Blasio, who refuses to ban the spraying of Roundup in New York City — and the spraying of synthetic pesticides everywhere, poisoning the planet.
If you have an opinion on this — should we organize this demo, and would you help do outreach? — please respond to the listserve through which you are receiving this.
FROM The Fight against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides, by Mitchel Cohen (SkyHorse 2019).
In the country of Colombia, where people indigenous to the coca-growing areas have for millennia harvested coca plants as part of their culture and local economy, the U.S. government’s ‘war on drugs’ has funded — and U.S. citizens have piloted — airplanes spraying massive amounts of glyphosate over the tens of thousands of acres of coca fields, part of the U.S. government’s ‘Plan Colombia.’20
In Argentina, the same toxic brew is sprayed over miles of monocropped genetically modified soy.21
The Parks Department in New York City, as well as hundreds of agencies in towns and villages throughout the United States, applies Roundup and other herbicides in public parks and sidewalks for ‘cosmetic reasons.’ Under the spell of TV images of grassy suburban homes and Monsanto’s propaganda depicting what a happy lawn looks like, homeowners spray Roundup and 2,4-D on their lawns and gardens to kill what they deem unsightly weeds, like dandelions and crabgrass.22
…. In the early 2000s, Roundup came to play a central role in the U.S. ‘drug war’ due to its widespread use to eradicate coca and poppy plants in Colombia and other countries.31 Colombian agronomists uncovered the use of an additive that reportedly increased herbicide exposures to more than 100 times Monsanto’s recommended dosage for conventional agricultural applications, and coca and poppy plants were not the only casualties. U.S. aerial spraying of tons of Roundup over the Colombian countryside destroyed local subsistence crops, such as manioc, bananas, palms, sugarcane, and corn; poisoned creeks, rivers and lakes; and destroyed indigenous fish populations.
20 ‘Colombia to Use Glyphosate in Cocaine Fight Again,’ The Guardian, April 19, 2016. ‘The defense minister, Luis Carlos Villegas, said instead of dumping glyphosate from American-piloted crop dusters, as Colombia did for two decades, the herbicide will now be applied manually by eradication crews on the ground. . . . A better eradication strategy, the experts insist, is the one already in place and which the government has been promising to scale up. In that approach, work crews pull up coca bushes by the roots, thus ensuring plants can’t grow back as happens after exposure to glyphosate.’
21 Javiera Rulli, ed., United Soya Republics: The Truth About Soya Production in South America, GRR Grupo de Reflexi’n Rural, Argentina: 2007, www.lasojamata.net/files/soy_republic/Chapt01IntroductionSoyModel.pdf .
22 Private lawns simply did not exist for the United States working class until the 1950s, and even as late as 1987 thru 1990 there were 362 deaths associated with riding mowers, many because they tipped over and eviscerated the lawn care specialist. (See Neil Genzlinger, ‘Can’t We All Get a Lawn?’ New York Times Sunday Book Review, June 18, 2006.) Lawns around one’s home were solely a manufactured desire, taking off from the aristocracy in England and Scotland. Hollywood and American television promulgated the well-scrubbed version of the American dream (writer Henry Miller blasted it as the air-conditioned nightmare), which was to be able to buy one’s own family home in the suburbs. As thousands of soldiers returned from World War II, they and their families needed housing, and between 1948 and 1952 Abraham Levitt and his sons William and Alfred on Long Island built what would be six thousand houses, with signature unfenced lawns. ‘This was the first American suburb to include lawns already in place when the first tenants took possession. The Levitts, who also build subdivisions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Cape Cod, and Puerto Rico (several of them also called Levittown), pioneered the established lawn, which residents were required to keep up but forbidden to fence in. The importance of a neat, weed-free, closely-shorn lawn was promoted intensely in the newsletters that went out to all homeowners in these subdivisions, along with lawn-care advice on how to reach this ideal.’ These soldiers were ‘trained in neatness and obedience, and these were the conformist fifties, when everyone was on the watch for signs of Communism and crabgrass. At times, the two seemed morally equivalent.’ (See ‘Lawn History,’ Planet Natural Research Center: Answers & Advice for Organic Gardeners, www.planetnatural.com.) Well, this might have been a white suburbanite’s dream, but there were plenty of people of color as well as working-class whites for whom a suburban house and lawn were not only beyond financial reach but also ideologically absurd.
31 ‘Not ready for Roundup: Glyphosate Fact-Sheet,’ Greenpeace, 1997. This document has been apparently removed from Greenpeace’s website, but it can still be found online through the Wayback machine at web.archive.org/web/20040111060519/www.greenpeaceusa.org/media/factsheets/glyphosatetext.htm.
– Mitchel Cohen, Coordinator
No Spray Coalition against pesticides
Saturday, March 20, 2021
by Common Dreams
Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program
Experts: ‘The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally.”
After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month’drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts. (File photo/LUIS ACOSTA/AFP via Getty Images)
After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month’drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts who wrote to Biden, “your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia.”
On March 2nd, the Biden administration welcomed Colombia’s decision to restart its aerial coca eradication program in Biden’s first annual 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: “The government of Colombia has committed to re-starting its aerial coca eradication program, which would be a most welcome development.”
Colombia halted the controversial spraying program in 2015. In 2018, Colombia’s then-new President Ivan Duque vowed to resume the program but has yet to restart the aerial spraying
The country faced increasing pressure from the United States to restart the program. ‘You’re going to have to spray,’ former US President Donald Trump told Duque at the White House during a March 2, 2020 meeting.
- Ana Arjona
- Mar 12
- So much is wrong about the war on drugs. Aerial spraying of coca crops is one of those policies that cause human and environmental harm while also being inefficient. Hoping the Biden-Harris administration will listen to the evidence and change course
- David Restrepo
- ‘ Mar 12
- Es hora de que EEUU empiece a sumar, o al menos deje de restar, en lo que concierne la pol’tica de drogas global twitter.com/CesedUniandes/’
Aerial fumigation had been a central component of Plan Colombia, the 2005 multi-billion dollar U.S. program to finance the Colombian government war on coca cultivation and their war on FARC, which was Colombia’s largest rebel group before being disbanded in 2017.
But in 2015, the Colombian Supreme Court ruled that the spraying must end if the spraying of glyphosate was creating health problems. Also, in 2015, the World Health Organization found that glyphosate’also known as “Roundup”‘was harmful to the environment and health, potentially causing cancer.
In 2014, ending aerial fumigation was central to peace negotiations with FARC, with the Colombian government agreeing with FARC negotiators that it would transition away from aerial spraying. The Colombian government was also facing significant pressure from the rural poor, who were organizing national protests against aerial fumigation and other forms of forced eradication. ‘National level protests blocking access roads and inhibiting movement were a major hindrance to manual eradication’s ability to operate in major coca-growing regions, and also bedeviled aerial eradication operations,’ the US State Department reported in 2014.
VICE News is reporting:
- More than 150 experts on drugs, security, and environmental policy in the region have written an open letter to Biden, saying Duque’s spraying campaign is ‘misguided’ and Biden’s decision ‘could not have come at a worse time.’
- ‘The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally, even as your administration takes bold steps to mitigate its multiple impacts on Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the United States,’ says the letter, spearheaded by the Center for Studies on Security and Drugs at the Bogot’-based Los Andes University.
- ‘By backing fumigation, your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia,’ the letter says. ‘It was your predecessor who, shortly after taking office, intensified demands on our country to resume spraying with glyphosate, which has been shown to pose significant health and environmental risks to affected populations.’
- The experts point to how aerial spraying with glyphosate can cause serious health problems, such as cancer, miscarriages, and respiratory illness, and environmental destruction’biodiversity loss, soil damage, and contamination of water sources.
The aerial fumigation program using glyphosate in Colombia continued throughout the US presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
VICE quoted Jos’ Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch: ‘Many peasants grow coca because it is their only profitable crop, given weak local food markets, inadequate roads, and lack of formal land titles,’ he said. ‘Sustainable progress in reducing coca production can only be achieved by ensuring that farmers have a profitable alternative. And there’s no amount of glyphosate that can achieve that.’
- Alexander Avi’a
- Mar 20, 2021
- Biden the drug warrior, past and present
- Deborah Bonello
- More than 150 experts on drugs, security, and environmental policy in the region have written an open letter to Biden, saying Duque’s coca spraying campaign is ‘misguided’ and Biden’s decision ‘could not have come at a worse time.’ https://vice.com/en/article/qjpygb/colombia-cocaine-coca-aerial-spraying-glyphosate
- Alexander Avi’a
- Read @SD_Cohen for Biden’s drug war history with Colombia
The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides (SkyHorse, 2019), authored by Mitchel Cohen, is now available at bookstores everywhere! Please click on link to learn more.