from Weekly News Update on the Americas


According to a report issued July 20 by the Emerging Inter-Institutional Mission, a collaboration of 11 human rights organizations and local governments in northern Ecuador, the Colombian Armed Forces violated Ecuadoran air space and territory in Sucumbios province on June 24 and 25. The incidents took place as rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) attacked an army post in Teteye, in the southern Colombian department of Putumayo, killing 22 soldiers. According to Alexis Ponce, president of the Latin American Human Rights Association (ALDHU), a member of the military revealed that nearly 20 Colombian soldiers in civilian clothes entered Ecuador “with weapons to see what the situation was like.”

The report from the Inter-Institutional Mission includes seven recommendations, including the declaration of the border zone as a “territory of peace, sovereignty and solidarity” and the participation of a civil society delegation in a meeting planned for July 25 between the foreign ministers of Colombia and Ecuador. Defender of the People Claudio Mueckay said the Inter-Institutional Mission wants Ecuadoran president Alfredo Palacio to demand that the Colombian government suspend its spraying of the toxic herbicide glyphosate in the border area and to seek compensation for Ecuadoran families affected by the US-backed Plan Colombia.

Also on July 20, 14 residents of the Ecuadoran Amazon together with several human rights activists staged a street theater action in front of the Colombian embassy in Quito to demand an end to the spraying. The group set up a “Plan Colombia” restaurant, dishing out a “fumigated lunch” of “glyphosate soup” and “rice with poisoned chicken,” with “Dyncorp ice cream” for dessert. (Dyncorp is the company which contracts with the US State Department to carry out the spraying of glyphosate in Colombia.) The spraying is supposed to target drug crops, but residents of the affected areas complain that the chemical also kills food crops and livestock, and causes serious health problems. (Mision Interinstitucional Emergente, July 20 via Resumen Latinoamericano; El Diario-La Prensa, July 24 from EFE)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 24


On June 20, the body of Ecuadoran community leader Andres Arroyo Segura was found in the Baba river near the community of Seiba, in Los Rios province. An autopsy showed signs that he had suffered a physical assault. Arroyo’s body was found at the site of a planned hydroelectric dam on the Baba River; he had recently received death threats for his efforts to halt the dam. Arroyo headed a local committee of campesino organizations which is fighting the dam because it will cause environmental destruction and negatively impact local indigenous and campesino communities. The dam would divert two rivers to serve as irrigation for agribusiness interests. Before being ousted from power on April 20, President Lucio Gutierrez had declared the dam a “national priority.” Arroyo was also a member of the National Network in Defense of Nature, Life and Dignity (REDIVINA). He was apparently attacked as he headed from his home to the town of Patricia Pilar, on his way to the city of Guayaquil, where he was to meet with a lawyer, Felix Rodriguez. (Green Left Weekly, July 6; Bolpress, July 27)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 10

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #111


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Aug. 1, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution