The Yanacona Indians in Colombia are fighting to be able to pull up and destroy tens of thousands of poppy plants by hand rather than have police airplanes spray the land around them with herbicides as part of the war on drugs. The Yanacona say spraying, which often involves the herbicide Roundup, has caused sickness in children and damage to their corn and potato crops, and they fear spraying will increase in coming months because the U.S. has doubled its anti-narcotics aid to Colombia. The Indians, who live in the central Andean range, say they are eager to get rid of the poppies, the source of heroin, and return to traditional crops. Colombia’s minister of the interior says that he’s willing to give the Yanacona a chance to pull up the poppies by hand, but that spraying will resume if they don’t hold up their end of the deal.

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