Letter: War against drugs

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I am a 57-year-old Englishwoman living in the Colombian forest jungles. I have been here for 11 years and have brought up my three daughters and grandson here. All this in "guerrilla territory" (FARC-controlled) (letter, 20 July). We have survived two evictions by the guerrilla for having the wrong-coloured eyes.

My main objection to Mr Forsyth's letter is his arrogant use of the word "Colombia", as if the military-dominated conservative government were "Colombia". A much more basic Colombia is that of the peasant people who grow Colombia's food and whose only hope for survival is their own peasant army. I know from inside the misdeeds and misjudgements of that army; the peasant people know them too. They also know what happens when the FARC (or the smaller ELN) are not there to protect them: massacres by the right-wing paramilitaries.

I have on many occasions questioned FARC commanders about their policy on drug crops. They defend the peasants; they do not like the drug trade but they do tax the merchants who come in to buy the peasants' produce, and will do so until government support is available to the peasants to replace these evil crops with others.

What they will not allow is that North America pretend its drug problem is Colombia's fault.

JENNY JAMES

Atlantis Ecological Community

Icononzo, Tolima

Colombia

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