Pubdate: Sun,  2 Sep 2001
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2001 Detroit Free Press
Author: Charles Rooney


For those old enough to remember Vietnam, William Brownfield's defense of
U.S. "aid" to Colombia ("Colombia deserves U.S. aid in drug war," Aug. 22)
has a scary sound. The rationale for U.S. intervention then was protecting
our world from Communism. The rationale now includes high-sounding phrases
about democracy and stability. Brownfield claims that we are aiding
development as well as destroying narcotics. But in May, a Colombian
Catholic priest speaking to the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights said the
peasants of his area had received no development aid despite months of
defoliation, and his people were starving. 

Brownfield asserted that this spraying with glyphosphate, basically a more
powerful version of the plant-killer Roundup, is not harmful to humans. But
packaging of the much less potent form of Roundup sold in the U.S. says that
it is dangerous. 

The priest showed us slides of peasants' subsistence crops oversprayed from
the air, with peasants in the fields. We know the tragic effects of aerial
defoliation on U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. Do we really believe that more
concern will be shown for the lives of peasants in Colombia?

Charles Rooney, Corresponding Secretary

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Detroit
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