Colombia and Aerial Eradication of Drug Crops: U.S. Policy and Issues [Updated August 28, 2003]   [open pdf - 64KB]

From the Summary: "Aerial eradication is a key counternarcotics element of U.S. assistance to Colombia under Plan Colombia and the Andean Regional Initiative (ARI). The United States has allocated approximately $265 million to finance aerial eradication since 2000 when U.S. counternarcotics funding and involvement in Colombia expanded. For aerial eradication, the United States finances spray aircraft, maintenance, fuel, herbicide, and related operational expenses, using civilian contractors to carry out missions. The U.S. Congress has conditioned U.S. funding on a determination from the Secretary of State that the herbicide used complies with U.S. and Colombian regulatory requirements, and poses no reasonable risks to human health and the environment. Congress has also required the Secretary to determine that adequate mechanisms exist to process complaints of those who claim harm to health and licit crops due to fumigation. In addition, funds may not be used for fumigation if alternative development programs, that encourage small farmers to abandon illicit crops in exchange for government assistance for alternative crops, are not being implemented. Alternative development is seen as a key component of aerial eradication partly because it builds political support for fumigation and provides incentives that ensure permanent eradication. Since 2000, the United States has allocated $150.2 million for alternative development programs, administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32052
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