Forced Coca Eradication Could Undermine Colombia’s Peace

A soldier stands on a coca field during a manual eradication operation in Tumaco, Colombia, Dec. 30, 2020 (AP photo by Ivan Valencia).
A soldier stands on a coca field during a manual eradication operation in Tumaco, Colombia, Dec. 30, 2020 (AP photo by Ivan Valencia).

If President Ivan Duque has his way, Colombia will soon resume aerial fumigation of coca plantations for the first time in over five years. It paused the spraying in 2015 due to growing health and environmental concerns over the herbicide glyphosate, which the World Health Organization classifies as a likely carcinogen. Colombian courts have subsequently set strict conditions for future fumigation. But Duque argues that booming coca crops since then are responsible for rising levels of cocaine trafficking, spurring conflict between armed groups, massacres of civilians, forced displacement and the widespread assassination of local activists and human rights defenders. The […]

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