This source is a news report done by the station CBS in 2002 that examines the effect that aerial fumigations were having on farmers. Produced a few years into the implementation of the policies under the plan, this report takes a critical view of Plan Colombia with the title “Good Intentions, Bad Results”. In the video, journalist Steve Kroft travels to Colombia to interview farmers and local leaders about the effects of the fumigations on their communities. He also interviews both U.S. and Colombian scientists along with notable government officials such as Representative Jim McGovern who was opposed to the plan and Rand Beers, a State Department official who was involved with running it.
In interviews with the farmers and local officials, Kroft finds how the program of fumigation has been harmful to both human health, but also local economies. One official explains, “The earth, after some seven fumigations, becomes almost sterile. So how are we supposed to substitute crops in something sterile?” Demonstrating that the governments either are intentionally making crop substitution more difficult or just do not care enough to find ways to do it better. Others who are interviewed are just as, or more critical from a number of perspectives.
The only person in this video who seems to be in support of the aerial fumigations is Rand Beers. While it was his job to implement these, he has a hard time defending it in the face of critiques that Kroft throws his way. Beers almost refuses to acknowledge that glyphosate could possibly be harmful to human health, especially at the levels it is being used. This source shows how U.S. interests pushed aerial fumigation to be and continue to be the policy of Plan Colombia even in the face of all the harm it was doing.
KROFT And what makes you so sure that these complaints are connected with the spraying?
MS. SANCHEZ Two reasons: A comparison of the consultations done last year with the same period of 2001.
KROFT What do the comparisons show?
MS. SANCHEZ Fever, diarrhea, allergies shot up almost 100 percent. Secondly, in the Health Department, we’ve never seen these specific illnesses, above all, the rashes.
KROFT She took us to the village of El Tigre where dozens of children and some of their parents developed reoccurring rashes after heavy spraying last year.
UNKNOWN They sprayed very close here. The planes passed over the town. We could see that the poison was coming toward us. About a month afterwards, we started to see the rashes. About 40 percent of the children have these rashes.
KROFT He never had this before the spraying?
KROFT Has he been to the doctor?
UNKNOWN Yes, we’ve gone to the doctor. He gave him some cream to clear it up, but it keeps coming back.
KROFT So that he still has it four months later?
UNKNOWN It’s still there.
KROFT Have you ever seen rashes like that here before?
MS. SANCHEZ We’re in a humid tropical area. Skin problems are normal because of the climate, but never, never have we seen this type of rash, of this specificity and in such massive numbers.
KROFT When we showed these pictures to dermatologists and tropical disease specialists, they said it would require lengthy studies, physical exams and lab tests to prove that the symptoms were directly related to the spraying. But the symptoms are not inconsistent with pesticide poisoning seen in California farm workers exposed to glyphosate.
Kroft, Steve. Alexander Street, a ProQuest Company. Columbia Broadcasting System, 2002. https://video-alexanderstreet-jac.orc.scoolaid.net/watch/good-intentions-bad-results-columbia?context=channel:60-minutes.