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Carlos-Antonio-Lozada-33333.jpgRSS Carlos Antonio Lozada

Carlos Antonio Lozada is head of the Technical Subcommission of the FARC-EP and member of its national Secretariat.
Sunday, 17 May 2015 00:00

Let's agree on a pilot plan for crop substitution

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We can only welcome President Santos' decision to suspend the aerial spraying with glyphosate. A sound if belated decision.


The open debate that followed the decision is positive as well, as it involves various social and political sectors, institutions and personalities from different spheres of national life, in an exercise of enriching discussion, around one of the big problems of the country: the existence of illicit crops and drug policy.

For some time, the FARC has maintained a position contrary to the military treatment that has been given to the problem of illicit crops by the state and governments. In our view, and basing ourselves on our knowledge of the reality of the regions where these crops are grown, we have argued that it is a clear socio-economic phenomenon. Therefore, the solution to this problem should essentially contain economic and social measures.

Although growers and consumers are the weakest link in the drug trafficking chain, drug policies have always focused on them; totally contrary to logic. Of course the governments and states know that; the thing is that the interests of the ruling elites in Colombia and the United States, which is where they design these policies, are different from the interests of Colombian and American ordinary people. The interest of the elites is business - and drug trafficking is one if the juiciest of the world - including fumigation and everything else that surrounds these drug policies.

But the fight against drug trafficking is also an effective pretext of American geopolitics to justify its interventions, but that is a matter that is beyond the limitations of this article.

If we really want to end drug trafficking, we should legalize consumption in order to deactivate the ram which raises business profits; but that is not the issue we want to discuss here either.

However, beyond refuting the fragile arguments of those who have been announcing the apocalypse as a result of the suspension of fumigation, what we really want is to formulate a proposal that puts us on the road to the ultimate solution of the problem; because we wouldn?t win anything if, as some suggest, we stopped using glyphosate to replace it with another poison.

Having already signed a partial agreement on item 4 of the Agenda that favors substitution of illicit crops with assessment of the communities, why not start its implementation through a pilot project, guided by the Table and with support and advice from the international community. It should be developed in a region or a municipality and could be supplemented simultaneously with another humanitarian agreement for the decontamination of explosives in the same area?

Isn't this a golden opportunity for the parties to demonstrate with facts our unwavering decision to move towards the end of the conflict?

Could there be a greater demonstration of the will of the parties to work for the de-escalation of the conflict, to develop plans like this together?

Isn't this a good way to defeat skepticism about the real possibilities of peace with social justice and regional development?

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 02:19