Colombia has given Ecuador $15 million after Colombian anti-narcotics fumigation planes dropped herbicides along the border between the two countries and harmed crops and people in Ecuador.
After the compensation payment was made Ecuador announced on Thursday that it would withdraw the formal complaint it had made against Colombia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
As part of the so-called “war on drugs” Colombia has used fumigation planes to spray the herbicide glyphosate on alleged coca crops in the south of the country. But sometimes the wind would carry the herbicide across the border into Ecuador, damaging crops, animals and people in the neighboring country.
Colombia’s Presdient Juan Manuel Santos thanked his Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, for withdrawing the complaint from the ICJ.
“I believe that the act of today [the compensation agreement] means that we will not have a lawsuit presented before the Court,” Santos said. “And we hope not to have any more lawsuits brought before the ICJ in the future.”
On August 24th Correa announced that there was “practically an agreement” with Colombia about withdrawing the lawsuit. Ecuadorean farmers in the border area reacted angrily to the reported agreement. They say that the herbicide travels up to 40 or 50km into Ecuadorean territory.
The President of Forccofes, which represents Ecuador’s farmers, said that Ecuador’s border lands “have been deteriorated and the people are now more fragile because of diseases they did not previously have.”
According to Christian Aid Colombia, Colombia is the only country in the world that allows the aerial spraying of illicit crops.