Open Letter to George W. Bush on Fumigation

Open Letter to the President of the United States George W. Bush

[From: French NGO, “Tchendukua”]


About fumigations in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

I work for a French NGO , “Tchendukua” whose goal is to recuperate land for the Kogi Indians living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia.

In 2000 we bought, La Luna, a land, with access to the sea, It was the first time since the Spanish invasion, the Kogis had a low land. They where so happy, full of hope.

At the end of June 2004, La Luna became an “ Indigenous Reserve” , a protected area…

The Sierra is also one of the UNESCO’s “Biosphere Reserves”.

Fifteen days later, on July 17th, a plane from Dyncorp passed only once to fumigate La Luna. That was enough to provoke a complete disaster.

Some days ago, I saw the rushes of a second movie we have made on the Kogis

Now, La Luna is like some places in Asia after the tsunami… I could not believe it.

The Kogis took five years to regenerate the soil, now they will have to wait, at least, five more years to replant. Everything is contaminated and the streams are dry because there are no more trees to retain water.

What are they going to eat? What are they going to drink? Where to go?

Tchendukua’s director in Santa Marta organized some time ago with the Kogis and the farmers around, the eradication of coca by hand. There was no coca in La Luna.

It is impossible that your sophisticated planes are unable to detect Indians villages.

In the movie there is a scene with a Kogi shaman sitting in front of his house, in the middle of the devastation. He is crying.

This image is unbearable and it will remain in my memory forever.

Yes, Mr. Bush, an image can turn people really angry.

Remember the picture of Nick Ut showing a little girl naked, burned by Napalm, running on a road in Vietnam. This image had an incredible impact in America.

Condolezza Rice wants Colombia to change its laws and spray in National Parks such as La Macarena, El Catatumbo, La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, etc…

The fumigation of La Luna on July 17th 2004 was completely illegal.

In the Sierra, Kogis, Arsarios-Wiwas, Kankuamos and Arhuacos are starting to have health problems , especially children (see notes-page 14).

In Vietnam, after 45 years, Agent Orange is still active.

The new poisoned cocktail is called Agent Green. If you take the ingredients one by one, it doesn’t seem so dangerous. If you mix them, highly concentrated, it is a terrible weapon. The mixture is made with Monsanto Round Up Ultra, Cosmoflux 411F (illegal in the US), POEA and the fungus fusarium oxysporum EN-4.

Dr David Sands, an American scientist who made some researches on EN-4 admits

( interview with the BBC-2000) that you can call it a Green Warfare or a Biological Warfare.

When you had a few cases of Anthrax in your country it was immediately called a terrorist biological attack…

The Dutch government donated 500.000 euros for the eradication of coca by hand in the Amazonas and the Sierra. A part of this donation is dedicated for substitution cultures and social development.

The Netherlands asked the parks director, Julia Miranda, to confirm whether the decision to fumigate on the protected areas was definitive, because if it were so, “it could be motive to request the suspension of activities financed by his Embassy”.

Mr. Bush, you and your government, you will be responsible for the genocide or ethnocide (see notes-page 10)) of the most ancient and sophisticated pre-Colombian cultures in Colombia.

The proper name for this worthless so-called drug war is « BIOLOGICAL and CHEMICAL WARFARE «.

In spite of a record spraying last year there was no eradication at all.

Before writing this, I’ve asked to a Dr in Molecular Biology if I could use those words, the answer was yes.

Mr. Bush, will you dare to say that you are doing this “In the Name of God”?

Where are the courageous American scientists who helped to stop the fumigations with Agent Orange in Vietnam in 1971?



(May 2005)



Economic and Social Council

Distr. GENERAL E/CN.4/2005/88/Add.2 10 November 2004

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Sixty-first session Item 15 of the provisional agenda


Human rights and indigenous issues.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen Addendum MISSION TO COLOMBIA*

Page 10

On the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an area visited by the Special Rapporteur, the Kankuamo people (3,000 families, 13,000 people and 12 communities), who live inside the “black line” which marks the traditional boundary of their territory, are now in the process of reclaiming their indigenous identity. Their lands have been recognized, but no reserve has yet been established. Guerrilla groups started arriving in the 1980s and AUC set up a base there in the 1990s, with the result that the number of kidnappings and murders escalated to a level far above the rural and regional average, particularly from 1998 onwards. It was then that the massacres of indigenous people, the mass displacements, the blockades and the forced confinement of communities to their villages began. More than 300 families are reportedly still displaced as a result of attacks and threats of various kinds. The accounts given to the Special Rapporteur testified to the continued ethnic cleansing, genocide and ethnocide of the Kankuamo people despite the protective and precautionary measures requested by the Ombudsman and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and several urgent appeals by a number of special mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights.

Page 14

Indigenous organizations described to the Special Rapporteur the adverse effects of indiscriminate spraying, including environmental damage to the topsoil, fauna, flora and water, the destruction of subsistence crops and direct damage to human health, including birth defects. The Special Rapporteur was also told that there are technical and scientific studies to substantiate these assertions. The indigenous peoples see the aerial spraying of coca plantations as yet another violation of their human rights and, save for a few occasions when they have given their consent, actively oppose the practice; this position again brands them as guerrilla sympathizers, as happened after the rights marches organized by certain indigenous communities to protest against the spraying. The Office of the Ombudsman has received 318 complaints concerning spraying operations in three municipalities in Putumayo in July 2002 and their effect on 6,070 families and 5,034 hectares of land.

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