Massacres and paramilitary land seizures behind the biofuel revolution· Colombian farmers driven out as armed groups profit
· Lucrative 'green' crop less risky to grow than coca
Oliver Balch in Mutat and Rory Carroll in Cartagena
Tuesday June 5, 2007
Armed groups in Colombia are driving peasants off their land to make way for plantations of palm oil, a biofuel that is being promoted as an environmentally friendly source of energy.
Surging demand for "green" fuel has prompted rightwing paramilitaries to seize swaths of territory, according to activists and farmers. Thousands of families are believed to have fled a campaign of killing and intimidation, swelling Colombia's population of 3 million displaced people and adding to one of the world's worst refugee crises after Darfur and Congo...
...Under its Plan Colombia project, Washington has funnelled more than $5bn (£2.5bn) in mostly military aid to its South American ally since 2000 - its biggest aid project outside Afghanistan and the Middle East. The Democrats say the security forces are accused of human rights abuses and complicity with traffickers.
Mr Uribe revealed the unpublished findings in an effort to get the bad news out of the way before he started lobbying Congress; the White House did not immediately respond.
"They told me they were worried about revealing this number because of my upcoming trip to the United States - that the Americans should reveal it," he said. "But that's why I'm revealing it. We're not trying to put makeup on what is a serious matter."
Plan Colombia began in 1999 and was supposed to halve production of coca within five years, using sprayer planes and officers on the ground. But the latest estimate suggests that since then it has risen 27%.
There's more to the story. Follow the link under the headline of this post. USer-funded dispropriation is just about the national sport of the USer CorpoRat elites. They've gotten very good at it...