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July 23, 2007


how do i find pt. 1 before i see pt. 2?

how do i find pt. 1 before i see pt. 2?


To whom it may concern.

It is an irony. You said it best.
My name is Nathalie. I'm a colombian. Born and raised.
I found (as colombian) your documentary quite disturbing yet very educational.
Truth is, not even us, living here know much about the subject itself, but only have heard stroies about the friend of a friend who was blown some "burundanga" to the face and ended up giving his wallet to some punk on the street.
Unfortunately, the reality is, as you said it, dark and scary. And something that most people, who are not able to get out of the country, (specially in the capital) are forced to live with.
But I'd like to question if the solution would be, for those couple of good colombians left out there, to leave.
Would we all must leave the country and run away from the bad ways that have been going on for years, result of the social inequalities?
Not wanting to excuse, this delinquent habits, way long around, even since before I was born, I really believe there is much more to the subject than what was maybe shown.
Colombia is indeed a rather small country. Nearly 45 million people, compared to the 302 in the u.s alone.
A rather small country, which could possibly have, as many of your allegations of kidnapp, homicide, and drug addiction, lead to believe, the worst possible reputation in the western world (geographycally speaking).
Not meaning this to be (an annoying) attempt to mention and give some recognition to the actual bright side, to both colombia and colombians, or any sort of touristic marketing stunt, (which I believe after what shown on both this and the "Sewers of Bogota" specials would be impossible)...
I must say, everything is not as seen from the outside, and a couple of days/weeks in the capital (substantially different from most places in the country) trying to "get hooked" with mostly dodgy connections, in order to get the scoop for this documentary on a matter as dark as any other would, many other places in latinamerica and the world, would very rougly lead to an objective opinion.

I'm 19 years old. And I have been blessed enough to get to go to many different places around the world and see what goes on.
Its a terrible planet we live in. And many things, are taken for granted, such as poverty, war, even other cultures...
And sadly, people, and YOUNG people don't care about getting informed on such matters, and helping make a difference. While we still could.
The media, a well oiled machine by governments and their economic interests, does not contribute to a healthier or a change generating society.

Sadly, Colombia, a place cursed by its "natural" wonders and fertile soil, has given birth to many things evil that go on in the world.
But truth is, as you said it, it is beautiful as it is dangerous only when the human hand decides to intervene.
Most of Colombias problems, started as you said, back with independence. People that once were innocent and wild, were tamed, only to be left a couple of centuries later, raped and deprived of all their welth, and with no serious chance of starting a logical or equal civilization.
And most colombian problems, up to this date, are mostly based on the demand of drugs, by highly consuming nations such as many in Europe and the U.S, that can only be found here, and that run the kidnapping businesses and every other, innocent colombians suffer for.
Such things, that lead to ever worse poverty, which I believe you'll easily understand is the cause to many of this illegal activities held, such as the one this documentary is based on.

Colombia, is no drug paradise. People, as I'm sure you also had a chance to see, don't always go around doing that on every street corner, and nor drugs are sold like candy by children standing by every traffic light.
It is, mostly as in everywhere else, and yes the disponibility does help, but as shocking as it might be for some of you to discover, the drug consuming and addiction rates are minuscule compared to the U.S or Europe ones.

Truth is, with less demand, there would be less need for supply, and fewer incentives for criminals to traffic drugs.
So in a way, even people who are shocked to watch such videos, or apalled by simply imagining, how dangerous of a place this is, don't realize that they, in their every day life, by having a line here and a line there, might contribute, to poor places going miserable and to criminals in some unknown place distribute drugs that render people incapable of exercising free-will.

I didn't intend for this to be as long, and I do wanna say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and will.
I appreciate VBS because it exposes the truth about many places and things and leaves the door open for controversy and discussion.
Yet it would be nice, if besides the "constructive" criticism, there would be plenty of suggestions and ideas from the people able to be heard, on alternative paths and revolutionary ideas for people to follow, and how things, even terrible things, can be changed, and shouldn't become yet more assumptions about many things we don't know much about.

Thank you for reading, if you have, and you're right. You should feel proud of the work done, because even for us colombians is an inconvinient truth, worth realizing and reflecting about.

I'd love to hear from any of the people involved with this and I'm sure that you take very seriously your mission as journalists, so I hope you appreciate some feedback.

Much respect-


You guys are reporting this story as if Scopalamine (Datura Stramonium/Inoxia) is some sort of exotic and rare plant that you have to consult some seedy Columbian druggy to get your hands on. You guys could have saved alot of money on airfare if you just went out to the deserts anywhere in the southwest US (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, the shit is everywhere). The plant is called Datura (the species is usually Stramonium or Inoxia) and in the states it is usually called Devil's Weed or Jimson Weed. It got that name from the early 1700's when, in Virginia, a bunch of British soldiers were poisoned by a cooked version of Datura while trying to subdue Bacon's rebellion. They went completely insane from the plant.

The whole bit that your Columbian dealer guy was on about how you have to treat the seeds to get the effect is bullshit though. The effect is probably equally intense if the seeds are just eaten straight out of the fruit. Anyway, I just figured I'd leave a comment saying that Scopalamine is not a drug independent to S. America.


Oh, also, I thought I'd mention that in the US there are absolutely no legal restrictions regarding Datura (or any substance extracted from it). You can grow it, sell it, whatever. You'd have to be pretty fucked up to sell it to people, but whatever. For more info on the drug check out http://erowid.org/plants/datura/datura.shtml


You guys didn't have to travel to South America to get scopalamine, nor do you have to go to the desert southwest. You need only board a cruise ship and ask the first person you see with the little flesh-colored disc stuck behind their ear.

You may also visit any hospital anesthesia department to find vials of the stuff everywhere. Scopalamine is alive and well in the U.S. and in wide use in anesthesia for the exact properties described in your series; cooperation and amnesia. Its not the exotic voodoo potion you described! Your producers clearly did not do their homework.

en regalia

i am an american. i had escopalamina blown in my face almost one month ago. i lost everything i had in my possession at the time including my pants. however, incredible as it may seem, this was not the scariest part of the story...what occured to me in the immediate aftermath and the subsequent convalescent phase i am soldiering through is quite honestly far spookier and deserving of some investigatory journalism. in an effort to subdue the delirious gringo, the police used an experimental ultraviolet weapon on me similar to a taser. these weapons are being developed by US defense contractors but are not approved for use on humans yet...

Say Hello to the Goodbye Weapon


Pentagon Tests Out Laser Guns


and dudebro...your info is right on and your research is well appreciated...but without taking any offense i hope...i encourage you and others to spell colombia correcly!

btw, ryan duffy...please make contact with me i would like to speak with you in more detail if possible...



I am Colombian, and I like programs of VBS.TV. What you saw in that documentary is a reality that we have to live, but that every time but we leave her.

A lot of people, especially who they live abroad and the Colombians that live outside of the country, believe that everything here in Colombia it is this way. The current government has made an effort a lot to improve the situation of my country, and him this achieving. At the moment the guerrillas and their business are weakening, the cities are a lot but sure, for example Medellín, at the moment is a city very it prospers that I overcome their problems of drug traffic and at the moment it offers a better quality of life to their inhabitants.

You can already travel through Colombia without being afraid to be kidnapped, the one exercises and the police is making constant presence in the national territory, new infrastructure, the economic investment is built it begins to flourish. The quality of life improves.

I say this for that the world has a stereotype that everything in Colombia is single drug and guerrilla, there is a strong Colombia that this leaving ahead, nobody shows the good thing that we are making for this country, they always show the bad thing and they try him to take out its morbid side.

I recommend them that they are also informed and that they see that my country every time it leaves but it advances, and they don't create that all that you/they showed in the documentary one lives this way, here one can live happily, the problem every time it is controlled more, in some years we will leave this, don't believe this way it in a future Colombia it will overcome their problems.

I like the program a lot, although I would like that they knew that not everything is this way, many when seeing this program believe that everything is this way and that we live bad, but please don't fall it is stereotypes.

Thank you for their time.

JC Abril

I am Colombian as well, and this documentary is right on, with a couple of exceptions. If given the right dose the drug is inocuous. In medicine it's used in a patch form for sea sickness. If you don't want to try processed escopolamine like the one in the streets, then put a patch on a have a few drinks, this will give you a similar effect. You can also eat the seeds.

On a personal note, my cousin who loves to experiment with different drugs took a couple of raw seeds called "cacao sabanero", he doesn't remember anything else that happened afterwards, but he woke up in a hospital with a urinary catheter in him. Apparently the police found him passed out and took him to the hospital. They believed that he was drugged by thugs, not the case.

Also by chance, I saw the Colombian Devil's breath by accident 2 weeks ago. One week ago I traveled to San Fran to visit my aunt and to my surprise she had a Datura plant/tree growing in her backyard. So you can get it in California as well. I took some seeds with me and I am looking forward to studying them. I'll keep you posted.

With regards to the video, I found it somewhat comical. It started out with the author being very naive and ignorant, then it started picking up steam and getting to be very heavy to the final scene which was just horrible.

Colombia, despite all its problems is a great nation, beautiful, wonderful people. With all the bad news and publicity foreigners are very worried about going. In reality they don't know what the cuntry is like. Just like the author who went to Bogota without a clue about the people, custom, place and geography. I am taking four american friends to Colombia this year, and i'll show what it's really like. And just like many foreigners who travel there, they will not want to leave.

Sherwood Conde

This video was so informative. We are in the process in creating a Full Feature Drama, based on the drug. We used your film to educate the production crew. Nice work!!

Daniel Quiles

Well it has been two days and I am still thinking about and horrified by your story. On a number of levels.

For one thing I don´t know just how much self-back-patting you should be allowed. This began as and remains a piece of shock-journalism that, as noted by some of the respondents above, shows a completely unbalanced view of a given country that makes it seem utterly unliveable and terrifying. The only thing that changed was your perspective, as you realized a) this is in fact real and that thus b) some people cannot, as you did, escape from this situation and then abstract it into reportage from a safe distance.

marcela mati

Hello Mr.Duffy. Im a high school student from countryside high here in florida and we have a newspaper called the Paw Print of which I am a member. I was wondering if you could email me back because I have some extra questions on your scapolamine story because I'm also writing a story to inform some students and people about this weird drug. I appreciate it a lot. Anyone else with any experiences you would like to share can email me as well.
thanx a lot!

Sherwood Codne

After reading everyone's comments, I do see that I certainly want to bring out the education of BURUNDANGA even more so, in my film. I will have less emphasis on where it comes from, because in reality, it does grow in entire Latin America. The film will have more on why we have to be careful and what can happen to you, if you are a victim.


how do i contact the gentleman in bogata who sells the bulletproof garments


Its really too bad that colombia seems to be a subject matter to vbs for nothing more than negativity. We colombians around the world fight our drug and kidnapped stained image day in and day out. Its unfortunate that not one piece on colombia on this website shows anything about the agricultural advances, the amazing progress of our government, the industry and technoly being developed, and the economic flourishing of our country. You should really catch something like the piece anthony bordain's no reservations did on colombia. I hate that the sterotypes continue ... vbs and ryan duffy don't help them much.

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I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


I am interested in the February trip. How can I learn more? As being sent ones, how do we rub sheodlurs with the people of Colombia? Interactions? Witnessing? In essence, will we be sharing Christ with the lost, or is this just a work trip? As a Christian trip I would assume that there should be opportunities to share our faith as see people grow as well as see the sent grow.There are others from my church that may be interested. Would this trip be appropriate for MDs, RNs, Optomotrists? There are a few in our church that have been on mission trips through the Christian Medical Dental Association Global Health Outreach.How many people are you sending in Feb.? How many spots are still available? Who lines up airfare? CCM? Do we all travel together?Thank you.Steve Hiniker

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