This is an incredible article by Mike Caesar in the Christian Science Monitor: New coca spat leaves Colombia flying solo. It really paints a picture of how much we’ve screwed up things in Latin America.
A decision by Colombia’s conservative President lvaro Uribe to restart the country’s aerial fumigation of coca leaf plantations near the border with Ecuador appears to have further isolated him in a region increasingly unfriendly to Washington’s war on drugs.
Last week’s move has sparked a diplomatic row, with Ecuador recalling its ambassador to Colombia and vowing to file an official complaint to both the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Ecuador’s leftist president-elect Rafael Correa, a close friend of Venezuela’s anti-American president, Hugo Ch½vez, has even started recruiting other Latin leaders to oppose aerial fumigation.
“It’s simply unacceptable that they continue spraying from the air with glysophate,” Mr. Correa said this week, referring to the herbicide used, a more concentrated version of Monsanto’s Round-Up. “It kills legal crops on the Ecuadorean side and, apparently, also kills farmers.”
Ecuador has activated its air defense system to monitor the fumigation planes, many of which are piloted by Americans.
Correa has also said he opposes the presence of the US military base at the Ecuadorean port of Manta – a key support for the US drug war in neighboring Colombia.
All of this leaves Uribe – and Washington – increasingly isolated. Many Latin Americans have long resented the US drug war, which they say forces them to bear the burden of America’s vices.
Shifter says that Latin American hostility toward the drug war shows “a growing dissatisfaction with a policy that has failed.”
Interesting times. Scary times.
There’s a big part of me that’s very anxious to get rid of the moronic drug warriors that are putting us and the rest of the world in such danger. But there’s a small part of me that almost wishes we could have Walters and Tandy, et al for another 4-6 years in the almost certain knowledge that they would make the drug war completely explode in their faces and trigger real revolution internationally.
From my perspective in the past few years, it seem to me that the drug policy reformers have made huge gains in the respectability, believability, breadth and permeation of our message. This has scared the piss out of the drug warriors and forced them into a pushing back mode, where they try to shove the genie back into the bottle through repressive actions and propaganda. This further alienates and arouses a formerly apathetic population, helping our side. The drug warriors could end up pushing themselves back into a corner.