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Colombia's heated debate over use of glyphosate

Staff Writer | March 11, 2019
While the Colombian government is defending the use of glyphosate against the expansion of illicit crops, political and social organizations are warning about the deadly danger it poses to peasants and indigenous peoples.
Colombia farmer
LatAm   Spraying with the chemical seriously affects health
In a hearing convened Thursday by the Constitutional Court, Víctor Luna, representative of the Afro-descendant communities of the Colombian department of Choco, pointed out that spraying with the chemical seriously affects health.

It also affects rivers, streams and fish, and the government knows that, Luna added.

This Thursday the president of Colombia, Ivan Duque, was the first to speak at the hearing, in which he defended glyphosate as 'a tool that well used, with caution can address the drug problem.

Duque said the country has a dizzying growth of illicit crops and that between 2013 and 2018 coca plantations increased fivefold.

At the same time to the examination of the issue by the high court, different sectors in Colombia are demonstrating on social networks about the inconvenience of fumigation with glyphosate.

According to Ivan Cepeda, senator of the Democratic Pole, spraying with glyphosate is highly toxic for human beings. It poisons water sources, it is not really effective in eliminating coca crops, and it also costs too much.

Congresswoman Sandra Ramirez, of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common (FARC), shares this point of view. She states that glyphosate only represents illness and death for Colombian peasants.

FARC leader David Florez also pointed out that it is a potentially carcinogenic chemical and that 'insisting on spraying peasants, indigenous people and poor rural afros with it shows great contempt for the lives of humble people.

Another critic of the government's position is former presidential candidate and leader of the Colombia Humana movement, Gustavo Petro.

The current senator said it is a policy of death because it poisons water, land and human beings.