Colombia’s Uribe orders the bombing of a Natural National Park

Friday, February 17, 2006

After 6 policemen who supervised the manual eradication of coca plants were killed in the Serrania de la Macarena National Park, 270 km south of Bogotá, President Alvaro Uribe announced this Thursday from Washington that he authorized the Colombia]n Air Force to bombard the area, where, according to the authorities, they found eight sites with tents and equipment belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), allegedly responsible for the death of the police officials.

“We are going to define the way to evacuate the area of Macarena to bomb it before the coca eradicators enter again” said the president. “This is a difficult confrontation, which represents an important effort to defeat terrorism once and for all”, stated the Minister of defense Camilo Ospina.

Even though the bombing started this Thursday, the authorities confirmed that the manual eradication in the Macarena area will continue. Some coca eradicators, most of whom are peasants, decided to give up the job due to the difficult security conditions. However, General Jorge Daniel Castro, director of the National Police, stated that since January 20th when the operation started more than 140 ha of coca crops have been eradicated.

The announcement made by Uribe has outraged environment activists who warn about the ecological damages that the military actions may cause in the area which was declared national park in 1971. The Macarena area has been saved from fumigations.