Hello! You are part of a community of millions who seek out Democracy Now! each month for ad-free daily news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for our in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the voices of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We produce all of this news at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation. We do this without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on support from viewers and listeners like you. Today, less than 1% of our visitors support Democracy Now! with a donation each year. If even 3% of our website visitors donated just $10 per month, we could cover our basic operating expenses for a year. Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make a monthly contribution.

Your Donation: $
Tuesday, July 18, 2000 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Big Losses for Big Tobacco Or Not?
2000-07-18

Drug Control Or Bio-Warfare Against Colombia?

download:   Audio Get CD/DVD More Formats
DONATE →
This is viewer supported news

Under pressure from the United States, Colombia has reluctantly agreed to take the first step toward developing a powerful biological herbicide. But scientists and environmentalists say it is virtually a biological weapon. They say that along with killing coca plants, the toxic fungus may pose serious dangers to the environment and human health. These threats are so serious that Florida has suspended plans to test the fungus for its own anti-drug efforts.

For years, United States officials have been quietly debating ways to conduct field tests of such an herbicide. According to the New York Times, some powerful Republicans in Congress told Colombian officials they were supporting the US aid package to Colombia on the expectation that Colombia would agree to explore the use of Fusarium fungus in its coca fields.

Within the Clinton administration, according to the Times, the testing of fungal herbicides was also pushed by the White House drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, and by officials of the United States Southern Command, which is overseeing the American overhaul of Colombia’s armed forces.

For some years, lawyers at the White House and the State Department debated whether it was possible to use the fungal herbicide on drug crops without violating the international conventions against the spread of biological weapons. The lawyers determined that the law would not be violated if a foreign country made its own decision to use or test the fungus.

Guests:

  • Jeremy Bigwood, an ethnobotanist and journalist based in Washington D.C. He co-authored the piece "Drug Control or Biowarfare?" in Mother Jones.
  • Sharon Stevenson, a freelance journalist who has lived and worked in Peru for eleven years. She co-authored the piece "Drug Control or Biowarfare?" in Mother Jones.

Related link:


Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.