TURNING THE ANALYSIS
THE USE OF CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS IN THE "WAR ON DRUGS"
Darío González Posso
This conference develops two basic themes: the use of chemical and biological weapons in the "war on drugs" and the need for an international assessment of "drug policy" and alternatives based Human Rights.
Chemical and biological weapons are the tools of a global strategy towards achieving a "drug-free world" by attacking the offer at the source: crops and peasant growers of coca, poppy or cannabis. Inversely, one frequently hears the argument according to which "the origin of the problem" suffered by countries where these crops are to be found is in the demand, the existence of a great consumers' market. Both of these so-often-used arguments are false. It is necessary to take a new approach, to turn the analysis. After a century of repression, what is obvious is that the origin of the problem is, in the first-place, Prohibition.
Combating the offer "at the source" through forced eradication, particularly through indiscriminate aerial dusting with chemical weapons -which affects food crops, animal and plant life, and the overall population- signify that the Colombian states is violating its citizens human rights and infringing basic International Humanitarian Law in Colombia's armed internal conflict. Fumigation is a war operation which does not distinguish between combatants and civilian population, or between military objectives and civilian property.
Today in the Andean-Amazon Region, the so-called "war on drugs", with all its connotations of geopolitical control and increased U.S. military presence, acquires new force under what has been called the Andean Anti-drug Initiative. Within this context, the Colombian government is intensifying chemical war against the peasantry alleging the need to suppress the sources which finance outlawed armed groups. The use of chemical weapons and the threat of biological agents, and all of the catastrophic effects on human health and the environment that come with, are but instruments of said global strategy.
Thus the initiative for a high level Independent Global Commission −autonomous of governments and multilateral organisms− to evaluate drug policies and put forward alternatives which respect human rights and people’s diversity. It would propose −as part of its objectives− to carry out a social, horizontal, and inclusive debate regarding incrimination of peasant coca, cannabis and poppy growers and the measures and conditions which affect users; it would seek to establish dialogue −on the basis of its global stock of knowledge and experiences− with national multilateral official instances, putting forth proposals for social responsibility and political correspondence. With these aims in mind, one of the steps proposed is the review, repeal or amendment of United Nations Conventions of 1961, 1971, and 1988. In this sense, the basic path is to establish social dialogue regarding the place deserved by the cultural, medical, industrial, recreational and nutritional use of the coca, poppy and cannabis plants, unfairly condemned to be forbidden substances by the United Nations in 1961. It is also essential to analyze the problem from an agrarian perspective, namely, that democratic agrarian reforms and macroeconomic policies geared at protecting and restoring peasant, indigenous peoples’, afro-descendants’ economies are a must. Analyses and alternatives centered on drug-policy reform are not enough. We must go beyond and promote, defend and guarantee people’s right to the land and their basic right to feed themselves.
Translated from Spanish by MM Moreno,
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