AGENT ORANGE AND ITS DAMAGE IN VIETNAM
In August 1961 the U.S. military began a massive program of spraying defoliants from aircraft over the jungles of Vietnam with the military purpose of removing forest vegetation and creating space that would allow the landing of helicopters.
This program later included the spraying of rice fields to eliminate power of the combatants in Vietnam, the then enemies of the U.S. armed forces.
The used defoliant, called "Agent Orange" was supplied to U.S. armed forces by chemical corporations, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Diamond Shamrock.
However, a mixture of negligence and haste for the use of the product, caused its production the lack of a proper purification, featuring a high content of active ingredients by-product of 2.4, 5-T: the tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, which is not normally found in the commercial presentation of the chemicals that contain the above ingredients.
This dioxin causes cancer, genetic alterations and their presence in the environment is highly persistent, killing plants and animals that inhabited the sprayed areas and forever lost vast and important areas of rice and other foodstuffs.
The effects of Agent Orange on humans, both members of the U.S. military exposed to it, like hundreds of thousands of citizens of Vietnam has been devastating, irreversible damage to liver tissue, kidney function, cardio system, reproductive function, appearance various types of cancer, damage of the nervous and mental system and physical deformities which have arisen in the descendants of those who were exposed to the product.
In 1984, a legal action promoted by U.S. veterans who participated in the Vietnam War and suffered damage to their health as a consequence of Agent Orange led to an agreement of U.S. $ 93 million in compensation to them for damage caused to their health.
However, it was the Vietnamese population in the areas sprayed with Agent Orange by the U.S. military, who have been hardest hit thus far, despite the request from the Association of Victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam to the U.S. Federal Court, no convictions have been made to order compensation for the severe damage caused to the Vietnamese victims of the product.
It is over 35 years since the end of the war between the U.S. and Vietnam, relations between the two countries in trade and commerce are increasing day by day, highlighting the lack of resentment and hatred of the Vietnamese people for the people and Government of the USA.
Repairing the damage caused to the Vietnamese victims is not only a matter of elementary justice, but would also be an important gesture of diplomacy and friendship between the peoples of the USA and Vietnam. It is necessary that the manufacturers of Agent Orange and the government of the USA bear the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation and medical research for the treatment of Vietnamese victims.
Considering that Vietnam as a country with a strongly- growing economy and its exclusive economic zone on marine areas can contain significant reserves of oil (although that area is subject to a maritime dispute with China), it would do well to the interests of the U.S. government , the main consumer of oil and gas in the world if they would even partially repair the damage caused by Agent Orange, bear the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation and medical research to the attention of the Vietnamese victims the same way as has been made to US veterans of the Vietnam War exposed to that toxic agent.
Panama, 27th July 2011
By Lawyer Raul Molina - Panama
Last modified 03-08-2011