Vice Squad
Friday, June 11, 2004
Please, Fumigate Our National Parks

This is the request, apparently, of Colombia's Vice President. Why does he want parkland to be sprayed with chemicals? Oh, it's just the logical next step in the war against cocaine. First you criminalize users and sellers; then you criminalize materials that can be employed in the production or consumption of cocaine: of course this criminalization applies to coca plant cultivation. Then you use aerial spraying on the farms of those poor peasants who ignore your prohibition on cultivation. They respond by planting cocoa not on their own land, but on national park land, which so far is exempt from your fumigation program. So by this obvious route, you come to the conclusion that the parks must be sprayed.

The national park problem is noted in this article (registration required) in today's Chicago Tribune, though the main thrust of the story concerns how opium production in Colombia has been able to withstand the anti-cocaine efforts. In another victory in the War on Drugs, however, many Colombian farmers are abandoning opium production -- because the price has fallen substantially (through increased supply and not, it seems, decreased demand.)

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