Colombians are “used to hostility from Venezuelans,” said Bogotá’s Cambio in a leading article, but now even the once-friendly Ecuadoreans are turning against us. If anything, Ecuador ought to be grateful to Colombia for all the investment our businesses have made there. We practically founded the flower industry, for example, which provides much of Ecuador’s export income. But these days, Colombia’s “internal problems” with FARC rebels and cocaine production are all the Ecuadoreans can talk about. The main beef is the spraying of herbicides such as Roundup on the coca fields along the mutual border. Ecuadorian officials say the chemicals are making their people sick. They “seem to forget” that Ecuadorian agrobusinesses use the very same chemicals to kill weeds. It seems obvious that the complaint is just a pretext. Ecuador’s government needs to divert attention from its own problems and instability, and scapegoating a neighbor is an easy move. But Ecuador should be careful. The only thing preventing the FARC from taking over the border area and marching all the way to Quito “is the Colombian army.”
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