CALI, Colombia—During a meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque at the White House early last week, Donald Trump more or less ordered Colombia to wipe out coca plants—the main ingredient in cocaine—by spraying the controversial herbicide glyphosate from the air.
No, it’s not the infamous chemical Agent Orange used in Vietnam, but it’s bad enough, and likely to poison the people and the land beneath the toxic clouds.
“You’re going to have to spray,” Trump said in front of reporters. “If you don’t spray you’re not going to get rid of [the coca plants]. So you have to spray with regard to the drugs in Colombia.”
Duque, long under pressure from the Trump administration, has now agreed to an ambitious “bilateral” plan to eradicate half of Colombia’s 212,000 hectares (523,863 acres) of coca by 2023. But Colombia remains the world’s leading exporter of processed cocaine, with about 90 percent of the finished product flowing north to the United States.