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Last Updated:3/20/00
Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Georgia), press release, October 20, 1999


United States Senator -- Georgia For more information, contact:

Laura Cox/Donna King/Eryn Witcher; (202) 224-8049


A COMPREHENSIVE, REGIONAL STRATEGY: The Alianza Act of 1999 would authorize up to $1.635 billion through the fiscal years 2000, 2001, 2002 to support anti-drug efforts, the rule of law, human rights, economic development and the peace process in Colombia and "front line" states.(1)

-- The sums and programs authorized by the Act reflect the requirements expressed by the key U.S. government agencies and governments in the region. These funds are in addition to the current and expected level for existing U.S. anti-drug programs. Rather than tie the President's hands, the Act would authorize broad categories of spending on the condition that the Administration first presents a comprehensive plan and notifies Congress before obligating funds.

TARGETING NEW CULTIVATION & MOBILIZING COLOMBIA'S MILITARY: The Alianza Act of 1999 would authorize $540 million to support urgent new programs by the Colombian government (including, the National Police, Army, Navy, and Air Force) to attack the new cultivation of illicit coca and opium poppy in southern Colombia. The Act would recognize that the Colombian government has enlisted its military to support law enforcement efforts against the wealthy and well-armed narco-guerrilla groups that have spurned a year-long peace process.

-- The Act would authorize support for deploying the Colombian Army's first counterdrug battalion in southern Colombia as well as training and outfitting of two additional counterdrug battalions.

-- The Act would include funds for up to 15 Blackhawk or comparable transport helicopters, communications gear, and intelligence and communications training and equipment for the Army and Navy for operations in southern Colombia.

-- Funds also would be authorized for additional eradication aircraft for the Colombian National Police and to support the CNP's groundbreaking joint operations with the military in southern Colombia.

REINVIGORATING INTERDICTION: The Alianza Act of 1999 would authorize $200 million to reinvigorate nationwide air interdiction programs, recognizing that virtually all illicit drug shipments must exit cultivation areas by air.

-- Additional airborne and ground-based radar capacity would enhance the Colombians' capability to detect suspicious aircraft. New aerial refueling aircraft, remote airfield construction, and fuel supplies would enhance the ability of the Colombian Air Force to intercept illicit flights.

ENHANCING POLICE AND NAVY LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES: The Alianza Act of l999 would authorize $205 million to enhance nationwide law enforcement capabilities of the Colombian National Police (CNP) and of the Colombian Navy.

-- The CNP would receive a transport aircraft, spare engines and other parts, additional Huey upgrade kits, and forward-look infrared radar (FLIR) systems for U.S.-provided Hueys. Funds would also be provided to establish CNP bases on the borders with Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela.

-- The Colombian Navy's nationwide riverine and coastal patrol capability would be enhanced by 6 patrol planes, 4 helicopters, FLIR systems, and 14 excess U.S. patrol craft (10 40-ft. and 4 82-ft. boats).

BOLSTERING THE RULE OF LAW, HUMAN RIGHTS & PEACE: The Alianza Act of 1999 would seek to bolster the rule of law, human rights, and the prospects for peace in Colombia, authorizing $100 million for related activities.

-- The Act maintains the current Leahy amendments conditioning support on human rights. The Act applies similar restrictions regarding individuals found to have supported so-called paramilitary groups or drug traffickers. It authorizes funds (up to one percent of the total security assistance to the Colombian military) to monitor the use of U.S. assistance by the Colombian armed forces.

-- The Act would include funds for the Colombian Attorney General's Office; training of Colombian prosecutors, judges and other Colombian judicial officials; witness protection programs; internationally recognized human rights groups; U.S. Judge Advocate General training for the Colombian military and for police investigative training; police facilities; and to strengthen existing human rights monitors within the ranks of the military.

-- The Act would authorize funds for international observers to monitor compliance with any future peace accord as well as for humanitarian assistance to the forcibly displaced population of Colombia.

COUNTERING REGIONAL INSECURITY: The Alianza Act of 1999 will recognize that the narco-guerrilla threat in Colombia could cause dangerous instability in neighboring countries. The Act would authorize $410 million to enhance regional drug interdiction programs (including $325 million for additional U.S. agency costs and $85 million to improve these programs in "front line states"). These funds include $50 million to help reinvigorate eradication and interdiction efforts in Peru ($50 million).

DEVELOPING ALTERNATIVES TO THE DRUG TRADE: The Alianza Act of 1999 would recognize that eradication and law enforcement efforts must be complemented by programs to provide the desperate poor with alternative means for survival, and would authorize $180 million for alternative development programs in Colombia ($50 million), Bolivia ($90 million), and Peru ($40 million).

(1) Front-line states include Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

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