Colombia will use fumigation airplanes to exterminate coca crops in
Norte de Santander, the country’s commander of the Armed Forces, Freddy
Padilla, announced Friday.
The area where the controversial airplanes will be deployed borders neighboring Venezuela.
According to Colombia’s top military commander, the armed forces are looking to fumigate 5,500 hectares of coca, combining the fumigation by air with manual destruction of illicit crops.
“We hope that with this joint action, the drugs produced in those fields will not enter the market,” Padilla said.
Aerial fumigation led to serious tensions between Colombia and Ecuador when the Colombian authorities were trying to exterminate illicit crops grown on the Ecuadorean border. Ecuadorean authorities and environmental groups denounced the fumigation, saying its neighbor was harming legal crops on Ecuadorean soil and the used pesticide was a threat to the health of peasants in the border area.
Increasing pressure forced Colombia to suspend aerial fumigation on the Ecuadorean border at the end of 2007.