This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:10/05/01
Speech by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), July 24, 2001
Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

My colleagues, this amendment is exceedingly uncomplicated. It calls for the prohibition of aerial spraying efforts in Colombia in an attempt to eradicate illicit crops. We are offering this amendment because this program and this part of our Plan Colombia Andean Initiative has been spectacularly unsuccessful.

We have a number of photographs that I just want to bring to my colleagues' attention. The picture of the baby was taken by an American photographer, Angeline Rudd, was taken on a delegation that she went on to Colombia in March of this year. The little child was caught under the aerial spray and the rash is a result of the exposure to the herbicide. The photos of cows grazing in a typical pasture in Putumayo were taken January 2001 by Paul Dix, professional photographer from this country. And the next picture, several days later, shows a cow, a dead cow that had grazed on a pasture that had been sprayed with our defoliant of choice, Roundup.

This cow and others had failed to notice a warning Monsanto had issued against grazing livestock within 30 days in fields that have been sprayed with Roundup, the chemical used in aerial fumigation.

Now, here is the problem. I pose no preference of how we take care of the eradication of drugs, coca crops; but the problem, if we destroy farmer's crops before we have gotten to the agricultural alternative, guess what happens to the farmers? Okay, this is not complicated, my colleagues. No military background required or not much agricultural background either. All we do is watch and see what happens as a result.

As results-oriented people, we cannot be destroying poor farmers' crops, who then either have to, one, go further into the rain forest, clearing virgin forest for more coca crops, which destabilizes the ecosystem; or they join the 2 million or more internal refugees in Colombia, who usually end up in the cities; or they join the largest employers in the region, the right-wing paramilitary or the left-wing guerrillas, if they do not get killed in a war between both of them, who are trying to control more land. Not a pleasant picture.

And so supply-side eradication has a lot in common with its namesake, supply-side economics.

As of October 3, 2001, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20010724)
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