by Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Illinois), July 24, 2001
Chairman, in February I had an opportunity to go to Colombia along with
the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. MCGOVERN), and we met with all 12
mayors from Putumayo; and they had one message, please stop the fumigation.
The next day we went
along with Ambassador Anne Patterson to Putumayo, and we met with impoverished
farmers whose legal crops had been destroyed by U.S. fumigation planes.
We heard from Colombians whose children suffered from severe rashes after
Mr. Chairman, after
the birth of my granddaughter yesterday, I am particularly sensitive to
the picture of the baby shown by the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. CONYERS),
and the problems caused to children. I saw some of those children.
It was reported to
us that local drinking water sources were contaminated from fumigation,
as were fish farms. This testimony was news to Ambassador Patterson, who
agreed that more research on the human health effects of the fumigation
So many of those
suffering under our policy are the poor, working families not involved
in the coca trade. Those who admitted to us that they grew coca also had
compelling arguments for a different strategy to eradicate the crop. They
informed us that their plots were sprayed, and they would simply move
into the jungle, damaging more fragile habitat, and still producing the
product. Others said they would continue to grow coca because Colombian
and U.S. government promises to provide alternative development and support
and food aid yielded no results.
All of the democratically
elected mayors from the southern region came to Washington, and they said,
Let us use manual eradication, as we have done in Peru in order to successfully
get rid of coca. They want to get rid of coca, too, but they want support
for economic development and alternatives without the coca.
The gentleman from
Michigan (Mr. CONYERS) mentioned Monsanto's Roundup. On the label it says
when used in the United States, ``It is a violation of Federal law to
use this product in any manner inconsistent with its labeling. Do not
apply the product in a way that will contact workers or other persons,
either directly or through drift. Only protected handlers may be in the
area during application.''
have been sprayed in Colombia. We see livestock, we see crops, we see
water, we see children being sprayed. It is time for us to end this policy.
Mr. Chairman, even
one of the companies that benefits from Roundup, ICI, a British chemical
company, announced 2 weeks ago it would no longer supply one of the ingredients
to the chemical herbicide because, ``it did not wish to be responsible
for damage to humans, animals or the ecology of southern Colombia.'' If
it is good enough for this company that wants to profit, it ought to be
good enough for this Congress to say no more fumigation.
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)