Sunday, March 4, 2018

The FARC guerillas: Environmental Protectors or Villians?

FARC guerrillas: Environmental criminals, defenders or both?
The FARC's demobilization was supposed to be a boon for the environment, as coca leaf planting dropped and the guerrillas were transformed from environmental depredators to environmental defenders.

However, deforestation in Colombia has accelerated, and, if we're to believe them, in the FARC Colombia's jungles lost important defenders.

In the areas where the FARC guerrillas were the de-facto government, they claim that they prohibited deforestation, banned polluting into rivers, and controlled hunting.

An oil pipeline bombed allegedly by the FARC
guerrillas in February 2013.
Many of those policies were not only to protect the environment, however: They also protected the FARC forces. Intact forests hid the guerrillas from Colombia's military. And keeping trash out of rivers avoided tell-tale clues of the guerrillas' whereabouts.

On the other hand, the FARC certainly committed wholesale environmental depredations, by protecting drug crops which caused widespread deforestation, and sponsored illegal mines, which devastated countless river valleys. The FARC also bombed petroleum pipelines, poisoning rivers, jungles and cities' drinking water.

But one thing which seems clear is that, whether or not they intended it, the FARC's terrorism, kidnapping and extortion scared potential exploiters out of Colombia's remote regions. With Colombia's internal conflict winding down, businesses and farmers invaded virgin areas, accelerating deforestation. Between 2015 and 2016, deforestation increased by a terrifying 44%, and appears set to continue accelerating.

At the same time, cocaine production, one cause of deforestation, which was supposed to decline with the guerrillas' demobilization, has also accelerated.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Stuart Oswald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stuart Oswald said...

Pure scum is not an option?