By Mike Power, VICE News
The Colombian government has published a proposed law that will allow it to resume a controversial program of aerial fumigation of coca crops using glyphosate, a weed-killer thought to cause cancer in people exposed to it regularly and in high doses.
“The resumption of the spraying would increase the capacity of the Colombian state to confront drug trafficking in less time and in a more effective way,” said Colombia’s Ministry of Justice in a statement announcing the decree in late December.
The decree, similar in legal status to an executive order in the U.S., calls for a program of new crop-spraying flights, with national police oversight. The plans are in the final stage of their passage to law, and spraying is expected to begin “in the second half of this year,” said Ricardo Vargas, an expert in crop fumigation and coca at National University of Colombia.
The proposals by the Colombian president, Ivan Duque – after a five year hiatus in coca spraying – have been criticized by local government officials, environmentalists, drug policy experts and rural communities living under the proposed toxic flight paths.