Aerial Fumigation and its Discontents

Aerial Fumigation and its Discontents

By John Lindsay-Poland

Once the signature program of the U.S. drug war in Latin America, aerial fumigation of coca leaf crops is finally in deep trouble.

Fumigation’s crisis comes in a moment when coca growers, like other farmers throughout Colombia, face an economic crisis that led to a month-long national agricultural strike in August.


photo credit: FOR USA

Colombia recognized the environmental, economic, and health damages of aerial fumigation in September, when it agreed to pay $15 million to Ecuador to settle a demand the neighboring country made at the International Court of Justice, based on destruction caused by aerial spraying in border areas. Ecuador’s lawsuit cited academic studies and regulatory warnings about the health risks of fumigation with glyphosate, studies ignored by the Colombian government.