Pubdate: Fri, 22 Dec 2000
Source: Silver City Daily Press & Independent (NM)
Contact:  300 West Market St., Silver City, NM 88061
Author: Millie Seewald
Note: Title by Newshawk

Dear editor,

Recently a funeral ceremony was held in El Salvador. Villagers buried 
37 of their loved ones from among the 200 recovered 19 years after 
what has become known as the El Mozote Massacre.

The ritual in the pre-dawn hours was broken by the tears that waited 
nearly two decades to fall. In 1981, U.S.-trained Salvadoran soldiers 
fighting in the war against communism gunned down 1,000 citizens and 
attempted to hide the action in a land-filled rubble heap.

Fast forward now to the year 2000 and U.S.-sponsored Plan Colombia. 
In addition to the $1.3 billion in U.S. aid, 80 percent of which goes 
to military armaments, the Clinton administration quietly has hired a 
high-level group of former U.S. military personnel whose job far 
exceeds the narrow focus of the war against drugs. It is intended to 
turn the Colombian military into a first-class war machine with 
weaponry to match.

In contrast to Plan Colombia, Columbia's leading peace and 
non-governmental organizations have formed Paz (Peace) Colombia, and 
met recently for "Mobilization to Escalate Peace."

These NGOs have refused to accept money from the U.S.-brokered Plan 
Columbia to fight the so-called war on drugs.

One of the worst aspects of our war against drugs is the 
coca-eradication program. Supposed to use precise geographical 
coordinates to spray coca fields from a helicopter flying 200 feet 
above with a 179-foot width, it is said to leave little room for 

However, Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and his party, while on a 
investigative mission for Plan Colombia, watched a U.S. Embassy 
demonstration of these "precise coordinates" and were enveloped in a 
mist of the herbicide glyphosate dumped from a low-flying helicopter. 
Police said it was a mistake and blamed the wind.

Glyphosate is one of the most toxic herbicides, with many species of 
wild plants being damaged or killed by applications of less than 10 
micrograms per plant. It can be more damaging to wild flora than many 
other herbicides, as aerial spraying can give average drifts of 1,200 
to 2,500 feet and ground spraying may cause damage to sensitive 
plants up to 300 feet from the field sprayed. Known as Roundup 
Glyphosate, it is manufactured by Monsanto, according to Rachel's 
Environmental and Health News.

The spraying is now having its run-through practices, with heavy 
spraying to commence in January.

Have we not learned anything in the past two decades? Does it have to 
be our children in the U.S. drug market against their children in the 
drug-producing country? We can save our children through a plan of 
rehabilitation, thereby cutting off this U.S. market and saving the 
many lives in Colombia who will be dispossessed or killed as a result 
of our war against drugs.


Millie Seewald

Silver City
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