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Saturday, January 28, 2023

US Congress keeps alive the possibility of aerial fumigation in Colombia

The US Congress this week rejected two amendments that sought to block the approval of the fund aerial spraying In Colombia and force Department of Defense To share intelligence related to human rights violations committed in the country during the years of armed conflict.

The refusal attracted attention because it went against the wishes of the new government of the President. Gustavo Petro and a sector of the Colombian Congress, In fact, 34 senators of the country had sent letters to their American colleagues demanding approval of the provisions.

The amendments were initially included by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Defense Authorization Act of 2023, which was approved by the House of Representatives last week and had no opposition to texts referencing Colombia.

The first stipulated that “no funds authorized by this Act to the Department of Defense may be used directly to aid, assist, operate, or contribute to the fumigation of crops in Colombia.”

The second asked the Department of State to report all relevant information on human rights violations committed in the country by members of the armed forces and their cooperation. with US security forces

However, the amendment was removed from law this week in a reconciliation process with the Senate.

In the letter, known exclusively by this newspaper, Colombian senators asked the US Congress to uphold the provisions. On the one hand, he is told that the Colombian government itself opposes aerial spraying and that approval of the amendment would send a strong signal to Voon that US support for that policy has ended.”

Similarly, he states that documentation on human rights violations will help with the aim of achieving “the total peace to which we aspire”.

Ocasio-Cortez has been trying for years to pass a similar amendment to ban endorsements USA to fumigation and greater transparency in the matter of human rights violations in the country.

So far they have always been defeated, largely because previous Colombian governments lobbied against their approval. Specifically, that of Ivan Duque, who tried to restore fumigation after it was banned by the Constitutional Court since 2015.

However, those interested expect a different outcome now that Petro is president and against the work of the Truth Commission and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) as a mechanism to control illegal crops. He is clear in his opposition.

Annie Lorentzen of Just Foreign Policy, an NGO that supported the amendments:

“It is disappointing that the leadership of the US Congress has not taken this opportunity to demonstrate to Colombians and others throughout the hemisphere that this is the beginning of a new, more honorable chapter in US policy towards the region. The aerial fumigation was a complete failure. stop drug trafficking and victimize only the most vulnerable Colombians, and it sends a worrying signal that the leadership of the US Congress is removing language passed by the House of Representatives, despite Colombian governments protesting the practice,” Annie Lorentzen, one of the nongovernmental organizations supporting Ocasio-Cortez’s initiative from Just Foreign Policy, told EL TIEMPO.

Furthermore, for this activist, the Truth Commission had already revealed that the Pentagon had a role in the Colombian conflict and therefore it was necessary to obtain the documentation.

“The House of Representatives voted to demand that the Department of Defense provide transparency about its role and knowledge of human rights violations during the conflict, which would help policy makers in both Colombia and the US,” Lorentzen said. Make sure these harmful policies are not repeated. Removing this provision was a mistake, as it appears the Pentagon is seeking to avoid transparency and accountability regarding its role during this tragic period in Colombia’s history.”

World Nation News Desk
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