COLUMBIA PLAN DISCUSSED BY ALL SECTORS OF COLUMBIAN SOCIETY WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF DESTROYING THE COCA CROP THE USA PROPOSES A STRATEGY FIRST DISCOVERED BY SOVIET SCIENTISTS: THE PROPAGATION OF A FUNGUS AGAINST CULTIVATIONS The Columbia Plan is an initiative between the governments of the USA and Columbia to destroy the cocaine crop and find alternative cultures for the farmers to grow. This ambitious plan is being discussed among 350 representatives from different sectors of Columbian society on the island of Costa Rica. It seems that the only parties to show any enthusiasm for the plan are the representatives of the US and Columbian governments. The basic idea is to provide 7.3 billion USD (204.4 billion roubles) to spray the coca crop with a fungus called fussarium oxyporum, basically a fungus which will stifle the pores of the coca leaf, from which cocaine is made. It is feared that if this fungus is used, the native Indian tribes which have relied on the coca cultivation for hundreds of years, will have to leave their homelands and produce the same plant east of the borders of Columbia. Another problem is who will pay for it ? The USA has pledged only 1 billion USD. It cannot be forgotten that the coca cultivation in Columbia renders billions of dollars in income and it is not possible to substitute that sort of financial generation overnight. The drug plantation finances the guerrilla movement, FARC, which controls large parts of the country. Without this income from the coca plantations, FARC would obviously become more aggressive, looking for alternative sources of income. Thus, the Columbia Plan would be yet another white elephant, yet another example of the White House totally misunderstanding events outside the borders of the USA, although such initiatives are often well-meaning. The idea to fumigate crops with fungus was developed by Soviet scientists, for use against the opium crops of central Asia, which produce heroin. correspondent plays on-line chess with Columbian drugs baron Recently, I had a very interesting game of on-line chess with a gentleman who claimed to be a Columbian drugs baron, from Medellin. In these on-line chess games, the players move their pieces and can chat at the same time. In this game, we were chatting practically after every move, in Spanish. While I have no evidence to prove that my opponent was what he claimed to be, instinct tells me not to disbelieve either. We both established where we were from and when he said “Medellin, Columbia” he asked me what I thought of this. I answered that this was known in Europe as the centre of the Columbian drugs trade. My opponent, moving his chess pieces skilfully, asked me what I thought of this trade. I answered that drugs were bad news for the users and their families and it is a shame that our youth is not motivated to find more healthy ways of entertainment. He then asked me if I knew where the factories which produced cocaine were. I said “Columbia”. His chess game became more aggressive. “Wrong! We produce and sell the coca leaf which has been helping the native population of our country for thousands of years. You in Europe and in the USA are the ones who have the factories. You transform the innocent leaf I export into a harmful drug. Do you understand my point of view ?” I had to admit that I did entertain his opinion… “Bueno! Checkmate!” With this, he left the game…and it was a checkmate!

Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Lissabon