(Translated by Dan Baird, a CSN volunteer translator)

Two thousand hectares of foodcrops destroyed in Colombia, south of Bolivar. Hundreds of peasant families affected. Massive evacuation imminent.

From: Humanidad Vigente/Notimundo

On Sunday 24 and Monday 25 of June, four  small planes from  the Colombian government’s crop-spraying programme, using the non-selective herbicide Glyphosate, sprayed about 2000 hectares of foodcrops or pancoger in the south of Bolivar, Colombia, plunging into hunger and misery the hundreds of familes dependent on the crops.
The Peasant Association of the Valley of the River Cimitarra  (ACVC) reported that this use of Glyphosate has ruined the crops of peasant families  in  districts within the jurisdiction Cerro Azul, Alto Berlín, Monte Carmelo and  Alto San Juan, in  the municipality of  San Pablo and in the districts of Alto Limón and  Diamante in the municipality of  Cantagallo.
The damage reported by farmworkers is immense. The devastation of grazing land affects more than 500 head of cattle. Food crops like manioc, rice and bananas have been lost. Tens of hectares of cocoa from the Programme for Peace and Development’s Ecocacao   project – supported by various international organisations and providing for more than 60 families ––have been totally ruined.
 In addition, the ACVC’s agricultural and livestock programme  in Alto SanJuan has been seriously damaged.  The peasants insist that the government is well aware that there are no illegal crops in the places that have been sprayed.  
In a statement seen by Notimundo, agrarian associations say: “The situation is so horrific that even the district aqueduct has been contaminated.  The water is poisoned and cannot be drunk”.  
According to reports reaching ACVC, peasants in many districts of San Pablo fear similar raids on their crops of pancoger because three light aircraft have flown over the area.
As a result of the situation in the affected area, tens of families have in fact begun to move to the district of San Pablo.  The peasants say: “We don’t understand why, to eradicate 12 hectares of illicit plants, the government has had to destroy 2000 hectares of grazing land and pancoger crops, putting seriously at risk the food supply of entire communities”.
President Uribe, arrogantly and in an authoritarian way, told the peasants of the Valley of the River Cimitarra – whom he met in Barrancabermeja  on 20 June last – that the crop-spraying could not be reversed and that, in such cases,  those affected could claim compensation.
About a thousand peasants find themselves refugees in the oil capital of Colombia, driven out as much by the targeted killings carried out by  the security forces and the paramilitaries as by the indiscriminate crop-spraying.
These people cry out for the solidarity and support of the people of Colombia and of the international community: the condition of the women and children is deplorable…….

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621

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