Colombian refugees demand compensation for destroyed coca crops

Published: Sunday 30 September 2007

The tussle on the Colombia-Ecuador border over the spraying of herbicide by Colombia has taken a new turn.

The spraying, done to eradicate coca plantations, had driven many Colombians to take shelter in Ecuador to avoid being caught in a crossfire between the government's coca eradication efforts--Plan Colombia--and armed rebels who depend on coca. But after assurances from the Colombian government, hundreds of refugees decided to return to their country on August 30. The refugees had been staying in shelters in San Lorenzo town in Ecuador, around 13 km from the Colombian border.

Refugees have demanded Plan Colombia--allegedly inspired and funded by the us-- be stopped, military operations be suspended and proper compensation be given for their destroyed coca crops. They complained of problems like eye infections, diarrhoea and vomiting due to spraying.

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