Colombia: coke users snort rainforest

From the BBC News, Nov. 18:

UK drug users ‘damaging Colombia’
Drug users in the UK are causing an environmental catastrophe in Colombia, the country’s vice-president has told a meeting of police chiefs.

Speaking in Belfast, Francisco Santos Calderon said that 200,000 hectares of forest were being destroyed each year to produce the cocaine crop, coca.

And he added that landmines used by drug gangs to protect crops are maiming large numbers of Colombian civilians.

The scale of landmine use has been described as “similar to a war zone”.

Mr Santos addressed the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (Acpo) 2008 drugs conference in Belfast.

The vice-president wants consumer nations to take responsibility for the shocking price of drugs being paid by the people of his country.

Before giving his speech, Mr Santos told BBC News: “Colombia has lost more than two million hectares of rainforest in the last 15 years to plant coca.

“If you snort a gram of cocaine you are destroying four square metres of pristine rainforest.

“That rainforest is not just Colombian. It belongs to all of us who live on this planet, so we should all be worried about it.”

Sure, but what he doesn’t say is that his government’s US-backed program of spraying glyphosate on the coca crops is destroying the rainforest even faster—both through direct fumigation of the forest, and by forcing the coca growers to clear more forest to replant their crops.

See our last post on Colombia.