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Trumping Colombia’s peace: U.S. drug war threatens fragile accord, forests

05 / 02 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

The source of the souring of U.S.-Colombia political relations: a coca plant in Bolívar, Colombia. The Colombian government recently sought to combine eradication with alternative rural development to break the cycle of coca growing. The U.S. under Trump wants a return to the drug war, including aerial spraying, which Colombia has banned for health and safety reasons. Photo by Agencia Prensa Rural CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr Plan Colombia pumped nearly ten billion U.S. dollars into the South American nation to fight drug trafficking, and is lauded as a drug interdiction success story by some experts. For others, the program is seen as a disaster, a socially and environmentally destructive game of cat and mouse between law enforcement and traffickers, with farms, farmers and ecosystems sprayed aerially and widely with fumigants, especially Monsanto’s controversial glyphosate. Under President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the U.S. appears to be renewing its international War on Drugs, just as Colombia is gearing up for peace, implementing a fragile peace accord that also offers a rare opportunity to protect the country’s extraordinary biodiversity. Deforestation in Colombia. Since peace was achieved between the Colombian government and FARC, both legal and illegal activities have ramped up, and deforestation has soared in former rebel held areas, threatening the country’s fragile biodiversity. Photo credit: Matt-Zimmerman on VisualHunt / CC BY Trump tough on crime, tough on Colombia During a first meeting last May, Trump congratulated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for a “magnificent job” in crafting a…

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