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COLOMBIA / ECUADOR
Relations even more sour
Latinamerica Press
4/11/2008
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The Ecuadorian government presented a case against neighboring Colombia.

The Ecuadorian government on March 31 presented a case against neighboring Colombia before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for alleged damages caused by Colombia’s spraying toxic herbicide to eradicate coca plants along the countries’ shared border.

The decision appeared to worsen already tense relations between the two countries following Colombia’s attack on a guerrilla camp across the border in Ecuador. Twenty-five people were killed, including a top rebel leader and an Ecuadorian citizen, in the attack that sparked an Andean diplomatic crisis.

Ecuador asked the World Court to declare that Colombia violated Ecuadorian sovereignty and international law for its fumigations. It also requested that Colombia immediately stop fumigating definitively within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of the border and pay reparations for damages it caused the Ecuadorian population and environment.

Colombia began aerial fumigations in 2000 under Plan Colombia, the multi-billion-dollar anti-drug program sponsored by the United States. Ecuador has repeatedly demanded that Colombia cease the fumigations.

According to a study by the Ecuador’s Pontificia Universidad Católica in mid-2007, the area that was fumigated with glyphosate, caused also serious genetic damage in Ecuadorians living along the border. Blood samples from 24 Ecuadorians that live within 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the border had chromosome aberration six to eight times higher than others living 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border. Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia after the March 1 raid in protest.


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