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August 2006
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Prohibition – Destroying our natural resources

Say goodbye to Sierra de la Macarena.

A picture named sierra_macarena.jpg

Here’s how you lose a forest…

  1. Defying immutable economic laws, governments prohibit a popular drug, making the illegal production and distribution obscenely profitable.
  2. Government compounds the problem by attempting to go after the drug at the supply source through eradication, creating a narco-state, where all power structures and political finances depend on either the drug or eradication dollars supplied by the U.S.
  3. When eradication efforts intensify, traffickers move to less accessible areas, including clearing rainforests, to grow the plant that’s used to produce the drug.
  4. Environmentalists complain of the destructiveness of the spraying, so the government tries manual eradication in the national forests, but the traffickers blow up the workers to protect their prohibition-fueled profits.
  5. So the Government sprays, destroying the forest to save it. All because prohibition doesn’t work.

U.S.-supplied planes spray coca at Colombian park, amid doubts over strategy

Colombian authorities have for the first time used U.S.-supplied planes to spray a pristine national park used by leftist rebels to grow coca — the raw ingredient for cocaine — despite environmental concerns.
Anti-narcotics police chemically fumigated the Sierra Macarena national park — 170 kilometers (105 miles) south of the capital of Bogota — last week, clearing its entire 4,600 hectares (11,370 acres) of coca. […]
The “world will have to understand that we must fumigate,” he said.
Uribe said he wants to double aerial spraying, and his top military advisers want to expand the practice to the 11 other parks known to have coca.
“It’s the most efficient way to do our job,” Gen. Jorge Baron, head of the anti-narcotic police, told The Associated Press.
In addition to those killed by the bomb, 26 workers, soldiers, and police guards have been killed at the Sierra Macarena park since December, when the government launched a manual eradication drive there involving 3,000 troops — its biggest ever. Some 200 other workers quit, fearing for their lives.
Washington has long urged Uribe to extend spraying to parks and provided the glyphosate herbicide, as well as Black Hawk helicopters used for protection, during the missions. […]
“Those who think fumigating La Macarena, and perhaps other parks, will wipe out coca production are wrong,” the normally pro-government newspaper El Tiempo said last week. “Instead, there will be more coca, and less park, as rebels destroy more forests, deeper inside the park, to continue planting.”
The editorial echoed the belief of a growing number of Colombians and key U.S. Congress members that aerial spraying — a cornerstone of the drug war — is failing.

Failing? It was a doomed approach from the beginning — part of the larger prohibition debacle that is empirically nonviable.

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