Roll Over, Colombia, Roll Over
Colombia’s rainforests and wildlife are becoming victims of the war over drugs. Since the mid-1990s, tens of thousands of acres of virgin rainforest deep in the Amazon have been chopped down to clear land for the planting of coca and opium poppies, the sources of cocaine and heroin. Additional ecological problems are caused when the Colombian government, backed by U.S. money, aerially sprays the areas with herbicides, attempting to kill the illegal crops. Coca and opium growers rarely quit; if their crops are destroyed by chemical spraying, they often clear new areas for planting or wait a year and replant the old plots after the herbicide has largely decomposed. Despite the millions of dollars the U.S. is spending in Colombia, drug cultivation in the nation is at a record high and is still climbing.