Colombia has used airplanes to fumigate coca crops near the Ecuadorean border despite promising its neighbor not to, indigenous organizations claim. Ecuador is investigating the accusation, while the Colombian government denies.
According to Ecuadorean newspaper La Hora, the Bogota-based Permanent Assembly of Indigenous and Peasant Communities complained on Wednesday that authorities had been using airplanes to fumigate coca in the border region. This form of fumigation is controversial, because the glysophate used is alleged to damage the health of civilians and kill legal crops as well.
Following claims by Ecuador that the glysophate was also damaging Ecuadorean crops and the health of its citizens in 2005, Colombia agreed to not use the controversial fumigation method near the border again.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Thursday that he had asked authorities in the border region for more information.
“We will talk to the Colombian government and do what we have to do,” Patiño was quoted as saying by Spanish press agency EFE.
In a response to the news, Colombia’s Foreign Ministry denied having used aerial fumigation near the border.
According to the Ministry’s press release, Colombia “has strictly complied with the agreement between the ministers of foreign affairs of Colombia and Ecuador” and “to date there has not been aerial spraying in a ten-kilometer range from the border.”