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Colombia leader asks for renewed herbicide use to fight coca

March 7, 2019
FILE - In this June 4, 2008 file photo, counter narcotic police spray herbicides over coca fields in El Tarra, in the Catatumbo river area, near Colombia's northeastern border with Venezuela. On Thursday, March 7, 2019, Colombia's President Ivan Duque urged his nation's Constitutional Court to ease restrictions on aerial spraying of illegal coca crops with a weed killer that had raised cancer concerns. (AP Photo/Luis Robayo, File)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — President Ivan Duque is urging Colombia’s Constitutional Court to ease restrictions on aerial spraying of illegal coca crops with a weed killer that had raised cancer concerns.

The Colombian leader told the court Thursday the consequences of the expanding coca trade on the nation’s economy and society are too high for authorities to limit the tools available to eradicate record levels of crops.

He asked judges to allow “modification” of the suspension of the herbicide without providing specific details on what those changes might entail.

Former President Juan Manuel Santos banned the use of glyphosate to destroy illegal crops after the World Health Organization classified it as a likely carcinogen.

Coca production has steadily increased in recent years as a result of multiple factors, including suspension of aerial spraying.

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