The recent messages regarding the best way to approach the eradication efforts of Columbia’s coca fields coming from both Rex Tillerson and American President Donald Trump have been mixed, at best.
Following a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Juan Manuel Santos, many people in Columbia are extremely concerned over some of the wording being used in reference to the proposed coca field eradication plans being discussed.
When the White House mentioned “spraying the coca fields”, as a solution to the coca plantation problem which exists throughout the country, the immediate and obvious thought from the locals was that the government officials were referring to the aerial fumigation that has been deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization. If the White House was, in fact, referring to this type of widespread fumigation to curb the production of illicit crops, it would mean that the American agenda in Columbia had little concern with the health of the Columbian people.
The White House has responded to these fears by stating that the two Americans were referring to another method of spraying. A more ‘surgical’ approach by which government agents wear fumigation backpacks and spray the plants by hand is a possible alternative, although the method is seen by many to be ineffective.
If the White House was referring to aerial fumigation as a method to eradicate the coca fields, it would mean opening the door to conflict from one of the main benefactors of the fields. FARC is an armed guerrilla fighting force that depends on the money earned from drug crops, and any peace that currently exists in the region is largely tied to deals between FARC and the government. Taking away FARC’s primary source of income could lead to a greater need for Security Services Colombia wide while doing any kind of business in the area.