of House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, April
2002 Federal News Service, Inc. Federal News Service
April 10, 2002 Wednesday
LENGTH: 23436 words
OF THE FOREIGN OPERATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
SUBJECT: U.S. ASSISTANCE TO COLOMBIA CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE JIM KOLBE
(R-AZ) LOCATION: 2359 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
WITNESSES: MARC GROSSMAN,
UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT
OF STATE; MAJOR GENERAL GARY SPEER, ACTING COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, UNITED
STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND;
ADOLFO FRANCO, ASSISTANT
ADMINISTRATOR FOR LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN AFFAIRS, UNITED STATES
AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
BODY: REP. JIM KOLBE
(R-AZ): The Subcommittee on Foreign Operations will come to order.
Mrs. Lowey will join
us as soon as we have the votes, which are expected in about 10 or 12
minutes here and we will go as long as we can, interrupt and go vote and
then come back. But I think in the interests of time, both of our panelists
and of the members of the subcommittee and other events going on this
afternoon, we need to get started. We do have the ranking member of the
full committee here.
Mr. Obey, thank you.
And, Mr. Lewis, thank you for being with us at the outset. Let me just
say we're joined -- our hearing today is on a very important topic, and
that is the subject of U.S. assistance to Colombia. It's our fourth hearing
for this year and we're going to hear today from Marc Grossman, who is
the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs; from Mr. Adolfo Franco,
who's the Assistant Administrator for Latin America and Caribbean for
USA I.D. We'll hear from Peter Rodman, who is the Assistant Secretary
of Defense for International Affairs; and from Major General Gary Speer,
who's Acting Commander in Chief at U.S. Southern Command in Miami. As
I said, I think this is a very timely subject and one that's very important
for us to be talking about and I appreciate all of our panelists for appearing
today. Let me begin by saying that I have supported both this administration
and the previous administration's policies. We're going to get through
at least our opening statements here. I support both the administration
and the previous administration's policies and requests for assistant
to Colombia. Last year, funding for narcotics intervention in the Andean
region proved to be very controversial, but eventually we did find a compromise
and we appropriated $645 million of the president's request. The request
total was $731 million for the Andean counter- drug initiative.
Most, but not all,
of the money for economic developments for democracy building and drug
interdiction for the Andean countries is in this account. One could have
predicted a heated debate last year about our policy in Colombia, but
no one could have imagined the developments that have led us to where
we are here today. After nearly four years of fruitless and one-sided
negotiations, President Pastrana called off the peace process a few weeks
ago. I sympathize with the frustration that President Pastrana expressed
at the time that he did that, and the frustration of the Colombian people
for this attempt to negotiate a settlement to a 40-plus year conflict.
I say that given the FARC's mockery of the peace negotiations by their
continued kidnapping and bombing. We've seen IRA terrorists arrested after
leaving the demilitarized zone and a renewed urban and infrastructure
Earlier this year
a report that was paid for by USAID, but written by an independent contractor,
known as the Gersony Report (sp), came to the conclusion that U.S. drug
interdiction policies of crop spraying and alternative developments have
been equally unsuccessful. Small farmers appear to have never intended
to voluntarily eradicate their coca crops. Now with the release of new
CIA unclassified numbers, we have to reluctantly but acknowledge -- honestly
acknowledge that there has been a 16 percent increase in coca cultivation
in Colombia. So we have a lot to discuss today.
Some members have
expressed concern with the speed that the administration has moved in
labeling the FARC and the ELN as terrorists. But it is also important
to note that the AUC, the paramilitary group, is also on the administration's
terrorist list, and as well it should be. I'm convinced that the link
between the narco industry and corruption and money laundering and terrorism,
all those links are very real. They demonstrate the problems that we're
facing refining and focusing our policy. It's more complicated than simply
debating whether or not we should be spraying coca fields from airplanes.
None of this discussion
how we interdict the supply of drugs that flows nearly unimpeded into
the United States begins to speak of the actions needed by all levels
of government and the NGOs that perform heroic deeds outside the jurisdiction
of the subcommittee, including drug treatment, demand reduction, interdiction.
My colleagues and members of this administration, let's be honest about
our policy regarding Colombia. Let's be honest about the complexities
of the problems we face down there. Colombia is not Central America in
the 1980s. It's not Vietnam in the early 1960s. We're dealing with terrorists
who get their funding from narco trafficking and who thrive on the instability
they create that then allows them to get more funding. Most alarming,
of course, is this tremendous instability is right here in our own hemisphere.
On March 21 the president
sent to Congress a $27 billion emergency supplemental. Included in the
amount was a $35 million request for new assistance to Colombia and changes
in the law for the Department of Defense and the State Department to allow
them to use funds already appropriated in Fiscal Year 2002 and proposed
sums for 2003, to allow them to use those in Colombia and be available
to combat terrorist activities and the threats to Colombian national security.
I was pleased to
see the president requested that these funds remain subject to what is
known as the Leahy Amendment for Human Rights Review. The administration
also proposes to retain the cap; make no change in the cap that now exists
on the number of military and civilian personnel that are in Colombia.
When we come back I will ask Mrs. Lowey for her opening remarks. I want
to thank our witnesses for testifying today. I think it's the first time
we've had all four of the witnesses before our subcommittee and we appreciate
very much their ability to be here.
Let me ask if there's
any other member -- Mr. Obey, did you have any opening comments that you
would make? Are there any other members? I think we can get through --
we would like to advise you that your full summaries will be placed in
the record, so perhaps we can get through at least one of the opening
statements if you would summarize it, and I think we're going to go in
the following order: Mr. Grossman -- we'll go through all the opening
statements and then we'll go to the questions of the subcommittee after
that. We'll go in this order: Mr. Grossman, Mr. Rodman, Mr. Franco and
General Speer. We have about six minutes, so let's -- about seven -- maximum
of seven minutes there. Secretary Grossman -- yes, before we all walk
up and disappear.
MR. MARC GROSSMAN:
No, I understand. I understand. I've often been known as talking very
fast, but I'll see if I can do this in seven minutes, at least to convey
to you as much of the overall policy as I possibly can.
And, of course, I'm
very, very pleased to be joined by a number of colleagues on this table.
First of all, Mr.
Chairman, members, it's very, very important that you invited us here
to testify today on Colombia. Mr. Kolbe, as you said, I think it's time
to be honest about our policy. It's time to tell exactly what it is that
we're doing, what it is that we have accomplished and also to talk about
the future. For me this comes down to one thing, which is that Colombia
matters to the United States. Congress has been a key partner in our efforts
to help Colombia defeat the demons that it now confronts in narco trafficking,
underdevelopment, human rights abuses and terrorism.
One other point I'd
like to make by way of introduction. Many members of this subcommittee
have traveled to Colombia and I thank you for that effort. And those of
you who have not traveled to Colombia, I would really urge you to do so
because you really are for Colombians, and for us as representatives of
the United States as you as well, real representatives of what we believe
in in terms of trying to make progress on democracy and security and prosperity
I'd also like to
thank the chairman and members of the committee for the strong support
that we have received over the years from the subcommittee on these issues,
whether it was the bipartisan resolution that was passed after President
Pastrana made his decisions or, as Chairman Kolbe outlined, the money
that you have provided over these many years. As Chairman Kolbe said,
on March 21 we came here and proposed through a supplemental some changes
in law and regulation. And we did that because we have come to believe,
as Chairman Kolbe said, that the problems of narcotics and terrorism in
Colombia are connected. And exactly as the chairman said, we seek these
new authorities because we believe that we can do a better job and, more
importantly, that Colombians can do a better job in dealing with their
problems if we have this increased flexibility.
But I also want to
highlight the points that Chairman Kolbe made, which is to say that our
proposition would not -- would not -- in any way, shape or form seek to
obviate the Leahy amendment. We want to continue to vet all of the people
that we train. We think that's a very important thing for us and for Colombia.
And, secondly, we
do not in any way seek to exceed the caps in what is known as the Bird
Amendment: 400 people on the military side, 400 people on U.S. civilian
I look forward to
discussing this with you today because I think one very important point
as well is, of course, when we were doing consultations earlier -- late
last year and earlier this year, what members said to us was, "Don't
stretch the definition of counter- narcotics. Don't play games with the
money that we have given you." And all of us who have sat in interagency
meetings have talked to our principals about this, promised each other
that we would not do that; that we would come to you straightforwardly
and say, "We want to make a change in what we want to do and now
the question is what will you do? And how will we debate that? And what
outcome will come?" But the reason we've asked for this is because
the invitation was there and also the instruction was there not to play
games with the money we already have.
Mr. Chairman, I think
it's very important to take an overview here on what we're trying to accomplish
in Colombia, which is a hemispheric division of democracy, prosperity
and security. I want to go into it in great detail, but you all know that
in Quebec last year 34 heads of state and government of this hemisphere
got together and did three very important things.
First of all, they
passed a democracy clause which said that all countries in this region
to be part of the conversation in the Western Hemisphere ought to be democracies.
Secondly, they discussed
an improved action plan to promote economic prosperity, protect human
rights, fight drug trafficking and organized crime and also set 2005 as
a deadline for the free trade area of the Americas, democracy and security
and prosperity. And it seems to me that the question we have to ask ourselves
is: what good are all these principles if they get trampled in Colombia?
For me anyway, there
is an assault today on Colombian democracy. The 40 million inhabitants
of Colombia are under assault by the three narco terrorist groups: the
FARC, the ELN and the AUC. And these groups, with combined membership
of about 25,000 combatants, massacre, kidnap and attack good key infrastructure.
The FARC and the AUC are involved in every aspect of narcotics trafficking
and I think a very important fact here is that the income that they derive
from narcotics, about $300 million a year, is one of the reasons that
they have grown both in their capacity and in their ability to do damage
I'd also say that
these are groups that do direct damage to your counterparts in Colombia.
They have -- the AUC has killed two Colombian legislators over the past
12 months. The FARC has killed six Colombian legislators and kidnapped
presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. Groups assassinated 12 mayors
in 2001 and the FARC efforts to disrupt the March 10 legislative elections
are also well documented.
The second point
is if you have democracy, prosperity and security, we -- I also believe
that Colombia -- there's an assault on Colombia's prosperity as well.
The ELN and FARC bombings of the key Cano Limon oil pipeline cost the
government of Colombia almost $500 million in lost revenue last year.
REP. KOLBE: Secretary
Grossman, I'm going to interrupt you right at this point.
MR. GROSSMAN: Yes,
REP. KOLBE: I do
want you to be able to get your statement in because this is very important
and we have just barely four minutes now. So I'm going to interrupt and
we're going to recess the hearing and when we come back -- we thought
we were going to have a little bit more time. When we come back we'll
let you complete your statement, then I'll call Ms. Lowey for her opening
MR. GROSSMAN: That's
REP. KOLBE: The order
for questioning will be in the order that we already have people arrive.
So as we come back, we'll keep that order. Thank you very much.
MR. GROSSMAN: I'd
be glad to slow down a little bit.
REP. KOLBE: It's
just one vote so we'll be back forthwith. The subcommittee will stand
REP. KOLBE: The subcommittee
We'll finish Mr.
Grossman's statement then go to Ms. Lowey for her opening statement.
Mr. Grossman, Mr.
MR. GROSSMAN: It's
not on. Is it on now? There it is, that's good. If you don't mind, I'm
going to slow down a little bit, if you give me an extra minute or two.
REP. KOLBE: Excuse
REP. KOLBE: Although
I would like to remind you, we do have four opening statements and we
have a lot of members that want to ask questions.
MR. GROSSMAN: No,
no, I certainly don't intend to dominate this at all. I just wanted to
say that again, to go back to where I was, if you've got this -- we think
we've got a hemisphere consensus on security, prosperity and democracy
and that these principles really are under attack in Colombia.
They're under attack
in terms of Columbia's democracy, Columbia's attack on security and I
would say also, I had a chance to show the question on Cano Limon pipeline
and I was getting into that to show also that there was an assault by
the FARC, the ELN and the AUC on Colombia's prosperity.
As I was saying,
Mr. Chairman, the ELN and FARC bombings of this oil pipeline cost the
government of Colombia about $500 million a year, which is equal to about
one-third of Bogot's spending on health for its citizens. FARC strikes
against the country's power grid in February, left 45 towns including
two departmental capitals, without electricity for days. And the FARC
also attempted twice to blow up dams near Bogot and had these efforts
not been stopped, we believe they would have killed thousands and thousands
And finally, we have
the question of this assault on Colombia's security. Terrorist attacks
in Colombia have resulted in over 3,000 Colombians killed in the year
2001. Another 2,856 were kidnapped with ELN, FARC and AUC responsible
for almost 2,000 victims and again, I show you a chart over the years
on kidnapping in Colombia. In the former demilitarized zone the Colombian
military recently found two large FARC run cocaine laboratories and 7.4
metric tons of cocaine. AUC Commander, Carlos Castano, has publicly admitted
that the AUC receives 70 percent of its funds from narcotics.
We believe also that
the FARC, the ELN and the AUC threaten regional stability because they
regularly use the border regions of Panama, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela
for arms and narcotics trafficking, re-supply operations, rest and recreation.
And it also has a great impact on us as well. Since 1992, the FARC and
the ELN have kidnapped 51 U.S. citizens and murdered 10. Colombia supplies
90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States and it is estimated
that 60 percent of the heroin entering the United States is of South American
origin, which is primarily Colombian.
Mr. Chairman, I'd
like to talk for just a moment about Colombia's response to this attack
on its prosperity, its democracy and its security. And that is as you
all know, President Pastrana, in 1999 put out Plan Colombia, a $7.5 billion
plan which calls for substantial Colombian investment in social reform,
judicial, political economic reform, modernization of the Colombian armed
forces. And with your help, we have done the major job in supporting Plan
Colombia. Since July of 2000, the United States has provided Colombia
with $1.7 billion to combat narcotics trafficking, terrorism, strengthened
democratic institutions and human rights, foster socioeconomic development
and mitigate the impact of violence on Colombian civilians.
The question is have
we had any success? While you were out, sir, I was talking to Congresswoman
Lowey and I promised I'd give her some examples of where we believe, since
July 2000, we've had some real success in supporting Plan Colombia.
First, we have delivered
to the Colombian national police, eight of the 11 helicopters to be provided
under Plan Colombia and the Colombian military has received 35 of the
54 helicopters that it is programmed to receive.
Second, the government
of Colombia has extradited 23 Colombian nationals to the United States
in 2001, an unprecedented level of cooperation and I draw your attention
to that chart on extraditions. And I believe that the reason we've had
this increase in extraditions, is the increased engagement we've had with
Third, we have trained,
equipped and deployed the Colombian Army's counter narcotics brigade which
destroyed 818 base laboratories and 221 HCL laboratories and provided
security for our aerial interdiction operations in Southern Colombia.
General Speer, perhaps will talk more about this, with this unit operating
as part of joint Taskforce South, is judged to be the best brigade sized
unit in the Colombian military.
and Americans sprayed a record potential 84,000 hectares of coca cultivation
last year, up from 58,000 in 2000. And we've set a goal of 150,000 hectares
in 2002 and I call your attention to the chart.
Mr. Chairman, if
I also might say I took note of the point that you made that there is
an argument now about what the right numbers are, in terms of this --
in terms of the spraying and I can tell you that the Office of National
Drug Control Policy, at our request, has asked for an outside expert to
come and see if we can sort out what the right numbers are. And I hope
that they will do that soon.
Another on my list
of 11 is that through Colombia's Ministry of the Interior we have funded
since May 2001, a program that has provided protection, like our witness
protection program, to 1,676 Colombians whose lives were threatened, including
human rights workers, labor activists and journalists. We have also funded
early warning systems which alert the Colombian authorities the threats
of potential massacres and other human rights abuses in other -- enabling
them to act in advance. And to date, we have already used this system
Next on my list.
The United States working with non-governmental organizations and international
agencies have provided assistance to 330,000 Colombians who have been
displaced by violence since mid 2001. We have a program to help immobilize
child soldiers. We have a program to help the government of Colombia reform
its administration of justice system and we've opened 18 houses of justice
which provide cost effective legal services to Colombian who've not previously
enjoyed access to the country's judicial systems. We are also helping
municipalities increase their ability to manage their policies and their
funds and we're working closely with the prosecutor general's office to
set up human rights units throughout the country to facilitate the investigation
and prosecution of human rights abuses. And the prosecutor general, as
many of you know was here a couple of weeks ago, and we had a chance to
talk to him about the progress we are making in that area, as well.
So there are 11 things
that I think we have a right to be proud of. Eleven things that show the
way for our support for Plan Colombia and if we can build on them, I believe
we can do even more. Mr. Chairman, you raised the question of alternative
development which we remain committed to and I'm going to let Mr. Franco
present to you a revised strategy in dealing with that today.
I want to take one
minute and focus hard on the question of human rights, because it's a
concern that is central to our Colombian policy. I can tell you that in
all of our meetings with Colombians whether they be civilian or military
or the NGOs, all of us at this table and all of us who represent the United
States focus in on the questions of human rights. And as I was reporting
to Mrs. Lowey last week, the Chief of the Army Staff, General Shinseki
and General Speer went to the highest levels of the military and said
that human rights must, must, must, be among the most important of your
calculations as you move forward.
And I believe, Mr.
Chairman, it's right to say that our human rights message is making a
real difference. The Colombian military captured 590 paramilitary members
last year and killed 92 members in combat. Eight military personnel including
two colonels and a lieutenant colonel were charged in civilian courts
with collaborating with paramilitaries or committing gross human rights
violations in 2001. And that list goes on. Still, too many Colombians
continue to suffer abuses by state security forces or by terrorist groups
acting in collusion with state security units and those responsible must
New situation, Mr.
Chairman, you referred to it. Since February 20th, the Colombian military
has reoccupied the main urban areas in the former zone. President Pastrana
came to us with three requests. He wanted increased intelligence, wanted
help with the terrorist threat, and he wanted to do more in terms of dealing
with the FARC. We answered Pastrana's request by providing increased intelligence
support on terrorist activities, expediting the delivery of helicopter
spare parts already paid for by the government of Colombia, and assisting
the Colombians with eradication, through other eradication activities
in the former zone.
But as we consulted
with all of you after the 20th February, you recommended to ask that if
we wanted to do more we should come and seek new authorities, and that
is what we have done. We are seeking new legal authorities that would
allow our assistance to Colombia including assistance previously provided,
to be used, and I quote from the proposition we have made to you, "to
support a unified campaign against narcotics trafficking, terrorist activities
and other threats to new authorities.
the authorities for the use of aircraft and other assets to cover terrorist
and other threats to Colombian democracy will of course not ensure that
this battle will be won, because they are working against multiple threats.
However, we believe that if you approve this proposition they will give
us the flexibility we need to help the government of Colombia more efficiently
and more effectively, attack the problems that they face.
Mr. Chairman, I've
already committed to you and committed to the rest of this committee that
our request for these new authorities are not a retreat from our concern
about human rights nor does it signal an open ended U.S. commitment to
Colombia. As you said, we are not interested in breaking the personnel
caps and we are also not interested in changing the rules on vetting the
kinds of forces that we hope to train in the future, in Colombia.
Mr. Chairman, in
addition to the new legal authorities we also seek 35 million (dollars)
in the counter terrorism supplemental to help the government of Colombia
protect its citizens and if members would like to talk about that I'd
be glad to talk about that in further detail. Two more points and then
First, on the peace
process. We remain committed to supporting President Pastrana in his efforts
on the peace process. We supported him when he was having the peace process
with the FARC and ELN. We continue to support the peace process with the
ELN if that is what President Pastrana wishes to pursue.
Finally, a point
about Colombia's commitment. Colombia's got to take the lead in this struggle.
Colombians need to do more. All of our conversations with Colombia have
made this a very important point that it is their democracy, their security
and their prosperity that is under attack and they need to do more in
all areas to try to protect it.
Mr. Chairman, all
of us look forward to answering any questions that members might have.
But as I say, we have this proposition in front of you. We have some principles
we think are very important in Colombia and we look forward to conversation.
Thank you very much.
REP. KOLBE: Thank
you very much, Secretary Grossman.
We're going to go
next to Mr. Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International
Security Affairs. And let me say before we do, that I'm going to ask --
I'm sorry, we're going to hear Ms. Lowey's statement first.
Ms. Lowey, sorry.
REP. NITA M. LOWEY
(D-NY): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And I too welcome
our principal witness Mark Grossman and our other witnesses to the subcommittee's
hearing on our assistance programs for Colombia. I would also like to
take this opportunity to thank our chairman for holding this hearing.
As he has indicated, we intend to address both the FY 2003 request and
the FY 2002 supplemental request for Colombia.
As we begin our discussion
I want to emphasize that I support the efforts of the Colombian government
to fight terrorism and narcotics trafficking. President Pastrana and his
government face a daunting challenge and I'm confident that he enjoys
broad support here in the United States Congress. However, we have an
absolute duty to be clear eyed and realistic about the challenges and
it is in this context that I will comment, today.
When Congress first
considered the request for over $1 billion for plan Colombia about two
years ago, the plan as represented to Congress, involved the expenditure
of $7 billion from a combination of sources including the Colombians themselves,
the United States, and our European allies. The original plan involved
a sizeable obligation of economic assistance from all three sources in
recognition of the simple fact that any long term solution to Colombia's
problems would have to include significant new investment in rural areas
of the country.
Many members of Congress
who were really quite leery of deepening our military involvement in Colombia
supported plan Colombia on the basis of its balance. That is, a commitment
to economic assistance along with the strengthening of the military and
police forces. I count myself among them. Unfortunately, that fundamental
premise has not yet been fulfilled and our partners in plan Colombia have
not lived up to their original commitment. In making this statement I
acknowledge that there have been numerous complicating factors that were
beyond the control of the Colombian government. However, as we reassess
our policy and decide whether it ought to be expanded, we should not delude
ourselves. Because winning this war will take many years and significant
resources from the United States. Support here at home for the provision
of those resources over an extended period cannot be sustained without
a genuine commitment from all elements of Colombian society.
has requested open ended authority in the FY 2002 supplemental to expand
the use of U.S. resources to directly engage the FARC in military operations
under the broad rubric of fighting terrorism. The administration has also
requested $6 million in the supplemental to begin training and equipping
the Colombian Army to accelerate its oil pipeline protection program.
This request comes despite the fact that alternative development programs
in Southern Colombia have been almost completely ineffective. The strength
and reach of paramilitary forces has increased in all areas of the country
with no check from the Colombian Army and the area of coca cultivation
increased significantly last year, despite our aerial spraying campaign.
Further, no real commitment to economic assistance in infrastructure for
rural areas, has been forthcoming from the Colombians and desperately
needed judicial reforms have stalled since the new Attorney General. Spending
more to fight terrorism in Colombia may be the appropriate step at this
time, but it cannot be effective without some fundamental shifts in our
policy. With our comprehensive policy changes we will merely be putting
a Band-Aid on a hemorrhaging wound.
I would sincerely
hope, Mr. Secretary, that the administration will work with Congress to
alter our policy so that we can make the necessary commitment of time
and resources with confidence. None of us will be well served by repeating
the contentious atmosphere and divisive debates of earlier times involving
our policies in Central America.
If we take this approach,
the administration needs to do several things in my judgment immediately.
The first is securing a real and verifiable commitment from the Colombians
on the extent to which they're willing to alter their own budget and policy
priorities to strengthen their own military and to provide additional
resources to rural areas.
The second is a fresh
examination of what direct role the United States should play in the reconciliation
processes of all rebel groups.
Finally, we must
re-examine the wisdom of plans to accelerate aerial spraying throughout
the country. Recognize and act on the need to increase resources to the
DEA to arrest and prosecute major narcotic traffickers, including members
of the FARC and the paramilitaries and address the need to immediately
reorganize our efforts to improve judicial systems in Colombia.
These are not simple
changes. Cannot be achieved in the short term, while the fundamental shift
in policy that Congress has been asked to approve appears as simple words
-- word change in the law is likely to lead to huge expenditure and expanded
United States military deployments to Colombia. I believe there is an
opportunity, Mr. Secretary, to work together on this because, as I said
earlier, there is broad consensus in the Congress to help Colombia. However,
we need to have better cooperation on the part of the administration than
we have seen so far and that translates into recognizing that our program
is out of balance at the moment. And that clear benchmarks for action
by the Colombian Government need to be delineated and achieved.
My final observation
is that approval of this policy change may be premature, given the upcoming
presidential elections in Colombia. How can Congress act on this fundamental
shift in policy without any assurance that the new government of Colombia
will stick to any of the objectives of policies of the Pastrana Government?
It is perhaps wiser
to wait until those commitments are forthcoming before approving this
I thank you again,
Mr. Secretary, for your testimony. I thank you for your statement and
I look forward to the testimony of all of our witnesses.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MR. KOLBE: Thank
you Mrs. Lowey. My apologies for -- Pastrana --
MS. LOWEY: No problem.
MR. KOLBE: We're
going to go to Mr. Rothman for an opening statement.
Let me say before
he begins, however, I'm going to ask the three remaining panelists to
limit their statements, their verbal statements to five minutes. I ask
subcommittee members to hold their questions until that time and I'm going
to ask you to do the same because we're never going to get the questions
unless we do that. The full statement will be placed on the record.
REP. STEVEN R. ROTHMAN
(R-NJ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I promise to be brief.
You have my full statement.
I'm pleased to be
here with my colleagues because it's important that all of the different
elements of the executive branch that are represented here have come together
in support of these -- the administration's approach which does, as representative
Lowey suggested, include a new element. It's a modification of our existing
policy and, if I could sum up in a nutshell the reason why we have come
together on some new elements and some new approaches, is because a lot
of things have changed in the past year.
It's not only that
September 11 happened and heightened our consciousness of the evil of
terrorism. In Colombia itself, I think over the past year, we've perhaps
come to a better awareness or understanding of the link between narcotics
and terrorism. In addition in Colombia as has been discussed, the diplomacy
that President Pastrana had committed himself to has tragically come to
a dead end. And, so President Pastrana has made a, in my view, a courageous
decision to draw conclusions from the failure of the peace process and
to challenge the FARC and that is something that cries out or calls to
us for a response.
And, lastly, I would
say in our view that the improved performance of the Colombian military
over the past year is impressive. I think this must be at least in part
the result of the assistance that we have been providing to the Colombian
military. They're able to confront the challenge more effectively. I think
if a peace process were to resume at some point, a Colombian Government
would be able to conduct such diplomacy from a position of strength.
All of this is what
leads us in the administration -- encourages us to believe that an additional
increment of support and including the modifications we have proposed,
will be effective -- will have an effect -- will enable the Colombian
Government, which is after a friendly democratic government, to establish
basic security and effective sovereignty over Colombia's national territory.
That is -- this is the position of the executive branch.
I certainly believe
that a consensus between Congress and the Executive is a prerequisite
for an effective US policy and it's in that spirit that we've come here
today. Thank you.
MR. KOLBE: Thank
you Secretary Rothman.
MR. ADOLFO FRANCO:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm pleased to be here as the President's representative
for USAID and to appear before the subcommittee.
Mr. Chairman I request
that my prepared statement be included in the hearing record.
MR. KOLBE: Yeah,
it will be.
MR. FRANCO: Mr. Chairman,
USAID is proud to contribute to a broader US policy objectives in Colombia
because, as Secretary Grossman has said, Colombia needs our help. I've
tried to sympathize my testimony by starting by stating very clearly conducting
development programs in conflicted areas like Colombia is difficult and
dangerous but we believe that USAID has the experience and expertise needed
to succeed despite these challenges.
Some have suggested
that alternative development programs are failing because they have not
yet delivered adequate levels of assistance in remote parts of southern
Mr. Chairman, I'm
here to tell you that these statements are, in my view, overstated. While
there have been some initial setbacks, USAID's program is on track and
making progress. So far USAID has begun work with more than 5,000 farm
families in southern Colombia and we're moving quickly to deepen and extend
our reach while continuously learning and adapting it to ever changing
circumstances in that area.
Since assuming my
position as Assistant Administrator for USAID's bureau for Latin America
and the Caribbean two months ago, I've begun the process of conducting
a comprehensive review of USAID's Colombia program and expect to travel
to the region again in the near future.
What is clear to
me so far is that there are some unrealistic expectations and myths with
respect to alternative development. It is essential to understand that
we get pas these fallacies and concentrate on the task at hand.
Mr. Chairman, please
permit to enumerate briefly four of these myths. First, that wherever
coca poppy is grown it is possible substitute an equivalent cash crop.
Second, coca farmers
will switch to other crops and will not revert to planting coca if they're
simply provided with alternatives.
Third, coca growers
cannot cope on their own without coca.
And fourth, that
large scale assistance to provide new sources of income in this case to
37,000 families in southern Colombia can be identified, tested and delivered
in one year.
Mr. Chairman, the
reality in southern Colombia is much different. There is no alternative
agricultural production that can match the income of coca leaf and coca
paste production by small scale farmers workings on a few acres of land.
What can be done to help coca growers' transition to other livelihoods,
is to focus on larger job and income generating programs in areas where
they have a chance to work.
This is something
we intend to do and we will make adjustments. In southern Colombia this
will require developing other forms of income and employment besides agricultural
products and work beyond the immediate vicinity of coca plantations.
In the interests
of time, just briefly, because I know there's a lot of interest on the
committee on alternative development, although I'd like to talk about
other aspects of our program.
Of the 42.4 million
that was appropriated to AID for alternative development in September
2000, depending on security conditions which continue to monitor, we expect
that approximately 36 million of this total will be expended by the end
of December 2002. The goal of our multiyear program is to gradually wean
Colombia and other regions from coca and opium poppy production into share
reductions in drug cultivation achieved forced eradication efforts that
must be sustained.
While Colombian Government
efforts began earlier, implementation of our own USAID finance programs
started only in May 2001 with the mobilization of a technical assistance
team in Colombia.
As I mentioned earlier,
the USAID program is not one year old. We anticipate that, as a consequence
of adjustments to the program, we will meet the needs of the region by
providing alternatives for infrastructure development and small manufacturing
as well. There's intensive labor infrastructure programs in the region
to address the needs, but we ask the committee for the time necessary
to accomplish our goals.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. KOLBE: That
was well within your timeframe there.
GEN. GARY SPEER:
Mr. Chairman, Representative Lowey, distinguished members of the committee,
thank you for the opportunity to represent the men and women of the United
States Southern Command and discuss Colombia and other issues with you
First of all, thank
you for your unwavering support of Southern Command in not only this program
but in our activities throughout the region. And especially today, thank
you for your support of the men and women deployed around the world. It's
Latin America and
the Caribbean is an area of increasing importance and significance to
the United States based on demographics, trade, resources and the proximity
to the United States at large. But over the last quarter of a century
there's been tremendous progress in this region toward moving in the direction
of the hemisphere as a community of democratic nations.
Much of the credit
for that transformation goes to the men and women in uniforms serving
in the region and their day-to-day interaction with our host nation counterparts,
joint exercises and training, and the opportunities for foreign officers
and non- commission officers to attend professional military education
in the United States, where U.S. service members served as a role model
for the conduct of a military and a democratic society with a respect
to the rule of law, human rights and subordination to civil authority.
But many of these
democracies remain fragile and face the challenges of the reason stemming
from instability and corruption that evolved from drugs and arms trafficking,
illegal migrants, terrorism and other transnational threats. Nowhere is
this more evident than in Colombia where the FARC, the ELN and the AUC
exact terror on the population of Colombia, financing their activities
through drugs, kidnapping and extortion.
Colombia is important
to us for all the reasons Ambassador Grossman highlighted, and it is the
lynchpin in the NDN (ph) region and as such there's a vital interest to
not only what happens in Colombia but what happens around Colombia. Certainly
20 February and President Pastrana's decision to terminate the despeje
in the FARC safe haven, change the landscape in Colombia. The Colombian
security forces moved in very deliberately to protect the population as
they reoccupied the cities in the despeje. But the real bottom line is
the Colombian military and the police lack the resources in terms of manpower,
mobility and air mobility to reestablish a safe and secure environment.
And as Representative Lowey highlighted, in order to get to those other
aspects of planned Colombia, alternative developments, social program,
judicial reform, we first must reestablish a safe and secure environment
to let those other programs to take hold.
As we look to the
region, many of the other militaries and security forces lack the resources
and capabilities to protect their own borders. In fact, although we've
had great increases and we appreciate your support in terms of FMF and
IMET over the last year. FMF over the last decade along has been insufficient
to provide for the sustainment of the equipment that we have provided
in the past, much less to address legitimate modernization requirements,
our demands for evolving challenges.
These are the challenges
that we look forward to addressing, and I thank you, the members of the
committee, for your support of U.S. Southern Command as we try to address
those challenges so that we don't sacrifice the gains of the past 25 years.
I look forward to your questions. Thank you.
REP. KOLBE: Thank
you very much. We appreciate all of your opening statements. I'm going
to limit my questions, at least in this first round, to one question because
we have a number of people here that wish to speak. But my first question
will be for Secretary Grossman.
Secretary, the supplemental
request of the administration has sent to us $35 billion -- has $35 million
for additional assistance to Colombia. There is accelerated training for
the pipeline protection, there's funding set up for an anti-kidnapping
unit and police post reinforcement. In addition to the funding, the supplemental
of course includes some language, fairly general language, that would
lift the restrictions on assistance for Colombia, though it keeps the
limitation. It's based on human rights performance as well. As we've both
said in my statement and yours, keeping intact U.S. military and civilian
Mr. Secretary, in
proposing to lift the restrictions on counter- narcotics aid you're asking
Congress to give the administration, it seems to me, an unprecedented
level of discretion over policy decisions with respect to Colombia. And
if we're going to have that, if that's going to be the case, we're going
to grant the administration that level of discretion, it seems to me there
has to be a concurrent flow of information and consultations with Congress.
Yet in the supplemental
transmission beyond what I just outlined in a half a dozen words or so
at the beginning there of my question or comment here, there really are
no specifics about this proposal and I don't feel really that I know any
more about what U.S. policy regarding Colombia, what it's proposed to
be, then it was before the supplemental was transmitted. So my question
to you is to ask you to be as specific as you possibly can about which
funding in this supplemental and in the current year 2002 budget, and
which asset, U.S. assets in Colombia, does the administration propose
to use for counterterrorism purposes.
MR. GROSSMAN: Mr.
Chairman, first of all let me take the general point that you've asked,
which is the need for more consultations and more conversation with this
subcommittee and with Congress. Point taken, and I'd say that's also an
important point that Ranking Member Lowey said as well. We can't possibly
accomplish this task, as Assistant Secretary Rodman said, unless we're
working as closely as possible with you. I hope that you would consider
this hearing to be the beginning of that, and we're glad to do as much
of this, either in public or in private sessions, any way that you want.
The second point
that I would make is one of the reasons to go back to a conversation you
and I had some weeks ago. One of the reasons that we came forward with
this change in legislation was because after the 20th of February, when
we had a chance to consult some of you, members said please don't pretend
that counterterrorism is counter-narcotics. Don't stretch the law, don't
fool around here. If you're going to do different, say you're going to
So one of the reasons
that we're here testifying and one of the reasons that we made this proposition
is to put it out on the table. And the question right now is, since the
11th of September have our views changed, have your views changed? Since
the 20th of February, do you want to do different in Colombia, do we want
to do different in Colombia? We make a proposition to you, a proposition
I believe one that would -- one that you asked for in a sense, to make
sure that we were not stretching the laws that already existed.
The way I would understand
this, Mr. Chairman, and maybe my colleagues can help me out, is what we
want to do with this new authority is essentially to make it possible
for the Colombians to use the helicopters that have already been delivered
to fight terrorism. Right now, if the FARC is attacking place X, Y or
Z in Colombia and it's not connected to narcotics, we don't allow the
Colombians to use those helicopters. And so we'd like to make it possible
for them to use that equipment, this is the focus of it. We'd like to
make it possible to use that equipment to fight terrorism.
How we do that and
the way that we would work out the mechanism is something that we need
to consult with you and we also need to consult with the Colombians, because
we want to make sure when we do so, as General Speer said, we're dealing
with vetted units. We're dealing with units that we've trained. We're
dealing with information that we believe, so that we're not creating more
trouble than we're trying to solve. But this is really a focus on these
helicopters that we've already given.
You asked me to be
a little bit more specific about the $35 million. What I would say, Mr.
Chairman, is that the 25 in what you all know as the NADR account -- Non-Proliferation,
Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs -- this is funding for anti-kidnapping
training and equipment group for the Colombian police. As we showed here,
Colombia -- kidnappings in Colombia have just skyrocketed.
Colombian -- kidnappings
in Colombia are too many. And what we want to do, like we have in the
United States, is give anti-kidnapping and anti-hostage groups in the
police and in the military, training in hostage negotiation, to have the
right kind of equipment that our SWAT teams have so they can deal with
the intelligence with the incident and try to get some of these hostages
back and some of the kidnappings. So that's what we're focused in on.
In terms of the $6
million for foreign military funds for training of the Colombian military
unit, we said, look, we put 28 -- we put $98 million in the FMF proposal
for this year. But the attacks as we've shown you on the Cano Limon pipeline
are happening now, and so it was the judgment of our military colleagues
and our Defense Department colleagues that if we spent $6 million today
or whenever the supplemental is approved, if it's approved by the Congress,
that we would be able to get a head start on dealing with the Cano Limon
pipeline, get some of that more secure and get some of that money flowing
back to Colombia.
And finally, the
$4 million in the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement
account is to help organize, train, equip and deploy Colombian police
units. As Assistant Secretary Rodman said, if you get this all down into
one -- we're trying to do. We're trying to allow a democratic Colombia
to again have control of its territory. All of what we're doing breaks
down to that, and we want the police to be out there to show Colombian
REP. KOLBE: Well,
that took up my time. Let me just ask -- which I think you were going
to answer in one sentence, one follow-up. Is any of USAID or Department
of Justice moneys from 2002 or prior years going to be reprogrammed at
the start of this authority?
MR. GROSSMAN: No,
sir. Can I give you one sentence. We are not seeking the authority to
reprogram money. What we're interested in is a helicopter that is already
delivered would be used for counter terrorism. But if we were to reprogram,
we would come back and seek the authority of the Congress.
REP. KOLBE: But that
is not your intention?
MR. GROSSMAN: It
is my intention.
REP. KOLBE: It's
not your intention to reprogram?
MR. GROSSMAN: No,
absolutely right. I'm sorry. But if we were to reprogram, it is not our
intention to change the way we do business.
REP. KOLBE: Thank
REP. LOWEY: Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to follow
up on my statement, Mr. Secretary, and I would like to ask you to comment
on the extent to which the administration is willing to reexamine all
the elements of our Colombian policy in the context of the standing current
authorities, to allow use of United States resources in the support of
military operations in Colombia. There are a couple of points that I want
to mention, that I'd like you to address.
First of all this
statement indicates that Colombian's have committed to an increase of
10,000 in the size of their army and an increase of 110 million (dollars)
in their military budget. Even with that the Colombians only devote about
3.5 percent of their GDP to anti narcotics operations. Specifically, what
are the Colombians willing to do to increase their military and police
budgets to fight the war, and what is your understanding of the leading
presidential candidate's positions with respect to the question of more
resources and increasing the size of the army. Maybe I'll just lay these
three items out and then you can just comment.
What are the Colombian
armed forces doing to take effective measures to sever links including
by denying access to military intelligence, vehicles, other equipment
or supplies and ceasing other forms of active or tacit cooperation at
the command battalion and brigade levels, with paramilitary groups and
to execute as standing orders for capture for members of such groups which
is required by United States law as a condition of receiving assistance.
And when can we expect the decision of the FY 2002 funding with respect
to this certification?
And three, given
the failure of the alternate development plans for Southern Colombia and
the failure of spraying to decrease coca cultivation, why shouldn't we
stop aerial spraying until the Colombian Government, with our help and
direct input from regional and local authorities, has developed an effective
means of leaning farmers from coca cultivation with real economic alternatives?
So if you could just comment on those three areas, I'd be appreciative.
MR. GROSSMAN: Sure,
I'd be glad to, Ms. Lowey.
If I could just take
one other point out of your statement. You rightly said that this support
for Plan Colombia was supposed to come from us, from the Europeans and
from the Colombians and I would say that the Europeans, in this case,
certainly still need to do more. We're kind of doing our part. I think
it's fair to say the Colombians are doing their part. We need to focus
in on the third part and I wanted you to know that we were listening to
Let me take each
of the points in turn. First of all, I think it's clear in all of our
conversations with Colombians that Colombia knows it needs to do more.
It needs to do more militarily to help itself and as I said in my statement,
you know this is a Colombian problem for which the United States, for
all the reasons that we have said, needs to be involved. You said in your
statement that you were concerned about U.S. military deployments and
one of the things that I can say is that not a single person here, nor
have we other talked about U.S. combat troops ever going to Colombia.
This is a Colombian problem that Colombians need to solve, and they need
to do more.
I think we ought
to have a conversation with them about increasing this level of GDP and
also making some other changes in their military so that not so many people,
for example, are exempted from conscription, that more people go fight.
So that they show that they have the social willpower to take this on.
In terms of the leading
presidential candidates, I had the good fortune -- actually with a couple
of my colleagues here -- to meet all three of the leading presidential
candidates when I was in Colombia last February. And my position to them
was pretty straight forward, which was that we will continue, I hope,
to support Plan Colombia but they need to do a lot more to support themselves
and certainly to do more in the area of human rights. I think all three
of them recognize that Colombia needs real armed forces. And I was telling
you during the break, I had a chance to meet with a number of human rights
groups there and to a person, each one of them said that one of the most
important things for Colombia right now, would be to have a professional,
trained military. And we are the people who can help them do that.
On your third point,
in terms of certification. We have not, Ms. Lowey, made a recommendation
to Secretary Powell about that certification. We intend to do that soon,
but the reason we haven't so far, is we want the Colombians to recognize
that they have to meet the standards of the law. And to meet the standards
of the law we've asked for four our five very specific things and we hope
that we will get those things, and we hope we will get them soon. I, myself
wanted to have the benefit of hearing this committee before we made a
recommendation to Secretary Powell but I can tell you we intend to make
it when we're convinced that we've got what we need from the Colombians
and certainly when we've consulted with the Congress.
And finally, although
perhaps Mr. Franco or Assistant Secretary Franco will help me a little
bit here. I think this question of alternative development, why shouldn't
we stop until the Colombians do more, is kind of a larger question on
all the things we are doing. You, in your statement said, you know maybe
we should just wait until there's an election and see who's the next president.
Our challenge in all of this is, is that the FARC, the AUC, the ELN, they
don't stop their attacks waiting for an election. They're attacking today
and tomorrow and yesterday. And this coca continues to grow and it continues
to come into the United States.
I think the Assistant
Secretary said, we've got some big adjustment to make in that program.
But I, in my travel
there, and as much as I've been able to learn about it, I'm convinced,
as he is I think, that without some spraying, without some real penalty
for growing this stuff, alternative development won't work and we won't
get our way through this.
REP. LOWEY: My time
is up so I don't have a chance I guess -- we'll pursue it later. Thank
REP. KOLBE: Mr. Obey
REP. DAVID R. OBEY
(D-WI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, Mr.
Chairman, let me simply say I want to congratulate you personally for
your performance on your trip to South Africa. Now everyone I've talked
to on both sides of the aisle indicated what a spectacular job you did
in driving home the message that needed to be driven home with respect
to the AIDS problem in that country and I congratulate you for it.
Let me simply say,
gentlemen, I know you have a tough job. But you will pardon me if I don't
approach this issue as though I'm the permanent president of an optimist
club. Did you ever hear of Leo Durocher? There's the old story about Leo
Durocher when he was managing the Giants and he was hitting ground balls
to Eddie Stanky in practice, infield practice and De Stachy at second
base kept dropping the ball. And so Durocher said, Stanky, give me the
glove, let me show you how you do it. And the very first ball that was
hit to Durocher, Durocher dropped. And Durocher turned to Stanky and said,
Stanky, you've got second base so screwed up nobody can play it.
I sort of think that's
the way the Colombian power elite is behaving on this issue. To me, and
this is not a question it's just an observation. To me the question is
not whether or not it is theoretically desirable to engage in order to
try to deal with the FARC and others who are destroying that country.
Obviously, if conditions are right it would be a good idea. The question
to me is whether Colombia has the capacity, as a society, as a government
and as an economic and political elite, to actually do what's necessary
in order to give us a decent chance of winning. And frankly I think our
chances of seeing Colombia produce on that score are less than our chances
of seeing the Chicago Cubs win the pennant this year. I wish I thought
otherwise but I don't, based on my almost 40 years of observation of that
society. And I just want to reiterate my specific concerns.
When we fought World
War II, almost 90 percent of the federal budget was the military budget.
When we fought World War II we had about $46 billion in total revenue
in this country, in 1944 and we spent more than twice that amount, just
on the War. I don't see that kind of effort coming from Colombia. They're
spending for military budget, about 3.5 percent of GDP. You might be able
to beat Grenada with that kind of a budget, but I don't see them handling
their own military problems.
They still, as you
know, have loopholes in the draft big enough to drive a 65 foot truck
through and their attorney general is sleepwalking. In addition to that,
while one of you -- I've forgotten whom, said that our alternative crop
program for some reason is not a failure. If it's not I'd certainly would
hate to see what one looks like.
And I don't say that
by -- in order to imply I'm criticizing you or the administration. You
didn't start this. We got into this under the previous administration,
at the request of the White House and the speaker, so there's plenty of
responsibility for our being involved and I don't -- I think you've got
an impossible job.
But I guess I'm old
fashioned enough to think that if we're going to commit American prestige
and American money and other American resources, and if we're going to
get into a job, we at least need the tools to do the job. And I don't
think Colombia is providing us with the tools. You can all do your job
perfectly and if the Colombian government and the Colombian political
elite doesn't step up and do theirs, this is futile.
And so I don't want
to be a nay-sayer but in my view there's nothing that I've heard here
today that doesn't remind me of what I've heard many times in the past.
Lots of individual items that can be pointed to, to show miniscule progress
here and there but overall when you put the picture together there's nothing
that comes into focus that's worth looking at, in my view.
So I simply want
to say that I remain a skeptic. I would like to know what chance you think
we have of seeing Colombia double or more its percentage of GDP that goes
into military spending and I certainly would like to know when you think
they're going to fix the draft problems? I would certainly like to know
when you think they are really going to show the kinds of self-sacrifice
that the power elite in that country needs to demonstrate in order to
have a chance of a snowball in Haiti of winning this argument with the
FARC who I regard as nothing but thugs and useless terrorists?
REP. KOLBE: Would
one or more of you wish to comment briefly on the statement and the question
that was contained in there? Secretary Grossman.
MR. GROSSMAN: Sure.
Congressman Obey, I can't compete either with 40 years of experience or
with a good Durocher quote, so I'll just give that a pass. But I mean,
listen, I think it's a good thing to be a skeptic in all of this, and
one of the reasons that we have come here to have this conversation with
you, is that all of us are taxpayers and all of us have a responsibility
and we ought to ask all of these questions.
And the chairman
started this hearing by saying we ought to be honest about all of these
things and that's what we're trying to be. And I hope you appreciate that
because we do have a hard job and we're trying to move our way through
this in a way that's sensible for you and sensible for us.
You asked me three
questions. First of all, when did I think the Colombians would double
spending on their military? Only the Colombians can answer that question.
I hope somebody's heard it from you here today. But one of the things
that I would say, and I don't mean to sort of press this point, but I'll
take my chance when I have it, is that if we could get this pipeline back
into business and if we could get $500 million, $600 million a year of
revenue back to the Colombian government, I think it might be a start
on some of the things that they might be able to do.
Second, you asked
me about the draft. As I tried to answer Ms. Lowey, we think in our conversation
with the Colombians that they do need to do something to slim down some
of these exemptions so that more people in Colombia take responsibility
for fighting. And that's something that I know I've talked to the Colombian
Ambassador about -- we'll continue to do so, and we'd like to see that
happen as well.
And third, the question
of self-sacrifice. I can't speak on behalf of the Colombian power elite
-- Lord knows -- but what I can tell you, sir, is that there was a very
big difference in the attitude between my trip to Colombia in August 2001
and my trip to Colombia in February of last year, and that attitude changed,
I think, over September 11. And I don't know how this is going to come
out and I don't know whether, you know, all of these things will happen
on the right timetable, but when I went there last August everybody thought
I was the enemy, everybody had questions for me, everybody was focused
on all the things we were doing wrong.
But I must say, when
I was there in February, people were much more purposeful in the need
to deal with the terrorism problem, deal with the human rights problem
and deal with their economic problem. So, I say, I -- you know, our job,
all of us, it seems to me is to spend the taxpayers money sensibly and
I don't want to get into an argument here, but I give you my, I give you
my perspective back on your questions.
REP. OBEY: Well,
I just -- my time is up but let me simply respond by saying this, a few
years ago when I, after another round of reapportionment, I inherited
a new county and a new city and I met with the Chamber of Commerce and
the president of the Chamber of Commerce said to me, "Obey, what
are you going to do for the city of Superior?" I said, "I'm
not going to do a blessed thing for the city of Superior until Superior
figures out what it wants to do for itself, what it wants to be."
And I pointed out
that they were sitting there, trying to compete with Duluth. Duluth had
18 planners in the mayor's office. Superior had one half-time planner.
I said, "To me it doesn't look like a real effort." That's changed
somewhat since then but all I have got to say is if we're going to commit
our resources and our effort and our prestige then we ought to do it after
Colombia has demonstrated it's willing to belly-up to the line not beforehand.
I don't believe in buying the meal until after I know what it's going
to be and whether the other guy's got a decent chance of picking up the
REP. KOLBE: Thank
you, Mr. Obey, and let me just say as the cup spins, this might be the
REP. JERRY LEWIS
(R-CA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, we very
much appreciate your presence here today and I'd like to begin, Mr. Secretary,
by getting some general response.
The Plan Colombia
dollars involves $7.4 billion out of the United States that flows, or
is in the process of flowing, some of it, a good deal of it's spent here
in the United States for equipment et cetera, but could you kind of break
that out in gross numbers for me as to how that money is being, or has
been, spent, what percentages may very well go to the helicopters and
equipment here in the United States and then from there I'm interested
in getting a sense for what kind of oversight we have relative to the
way that money is being used, that is, delivered in Colombia?
And I presume, Secretary
Grossman, we should start with you, but I'm not really certain.
MR. GROSSMAN: If
I could, Mr. Lewis, I'd be glad to start out and maybe ask General Speer
to help me on the military side.
Let me take, kind
of, the first and third of your points. Plan Colombia, of course, is a
$7.4 billion plan of the Colombians to which we have pledged our support
and I think, over the years, as I have said we have, you and the Congress
have appropriated the money, and right now what we've done, just to give
you the gross figures -- I mean in 2001 we had in counter-narcotics area
$154 million, enacted overall $48 million for Colombia. FY 2002 $731 million
of which $398 went to Colombia -- I'm sorry, that was the proposed, the
enacted was $645, as the chairman said, and $380, I apologize. And then
we've come to you with a supplemental of $35, which I tried to explain,
is $25 and $6 and $4. And then our proposal for 2003 is $731 in the Andean
counter-narcotics initiative and $439 of that would go to Colombia and
$98 million of which then in FMF for the very first time for the Cano
I think the -- there
are two questions here. One is whether we want to sustain our effort and
I think we do; and secondly, whether the Colombians, as Congressman Obey
said, are prepared to sustain their effort.
Two points I'd make
on the Colombians past -- they really should speak for themselves -- but
until now they've now spent, if I can get this number right, $426.5 million
on social and institutional development and $2.6 billion since the beginning
of Plan Colombia on infrastructure projects and increasing their own military
capacity. And that's not a small amount of money, and we believe that
they are on track to meet their commitment to what they signed up to do
in Plan Colombia as well.
Take the third point,
which is, how do we look after all this money. The first thing is we rely
very much on the outstanding people we have who serve in the United States
embassy in Bogot -- Anne Paterson and her crowd -- whether it is her military
assistants, whether it is people who work in AID. The other thing is we
have any number of reporting requirements, and properly so, to the Congress
about the number of people we have, the way we're spending the money,
certification is, as Congressman Lowey, said, and we in Washington, obviously,
are trying to spend as much time and effort as possible to make sure the
taxpayers money is spent properly. So it's a combination of those things.
I ask Gary Speer
to talk a little bit about the military side.
GEN. SPEER: Thank
you, sir. It's important to point out, first of all, there's a great misconception
that the $1.3 billion of the 2000 supplemental was a military program.
In reality the Colombian military directly benefited from only $183 million
out of that $1.3 billion. Now, what we did with that money, the fundamental
capstone was the training and equipping of the counter drug brigade, which
included training and equipping three infantry battalions and a brigade
headquarters. They became operational in December of 2000. The third battalion
completed training in May of 2001. And it is that ground force that provided
the security for the spraying operations in Cucuta and Putumayo departments
of 59,000 hectares of coca and then that was the Department of State contract
helicopters are a big part of the program. The total helicopter package
in Plan Colombia was $328 million. Where we are on that all 33 UH-1Ns
which are being managed by the Department of State were operational as
of December of 2000. All 14 of the Blackhawk helicopters for the Colombian
Army have been delivered, were delivered between July and December of
last year. The training for that is -- continues and will be concluded
in July of this year. And we just delivered last month the first six of
25 Huey Two helicopters. There is a parallel training program for that
aircraft as well.
million of that $1.3 billion went into -- let's call it "U.S. Military
Support to Colombia" and this provided for the ISR aircraft that
flew intelligence collection missions in support of counter-drug operations
in Colombia. And then there was another $116 million for FOL upgrades
predominantly in Manta, Ecuador but also Kurasel (ph) and design work
in Kumbalapa (ph).
REP. LEWIS: All right.
General, first I want you to know for the public record that I'm very
proud of southern command and the job that you're doing within the region,
specifically however, within this area there is a request for new authority
that involves activity in -- narcotics problem that we have in Colombia.
With the spreading thin of funding close so far, where do you anticipate
the money's going to come from, the very forward activity regarding this
broadened request for authority?
GEN. SPEER: Thank
you, congressman. At least as I understand the language in the '02 supplemental
proposal, the authority transition doesn't come with a bill to you. In
other words what it means to me in addition to what Secretary Grossman
said about the ability for the Colombians to use Colombian helicopters,
not just for counter drug missions, but for any tactical mission, or the
Colombians ability, Colombian Military to use the counter drug brigade
in the Putumayo department which is the best trained and equipped brigade
in the Colombian Army for any mission and not just a mission that starts
out with a counter drug linkage. So that's what it means to them.
What it means to
me is that right now, any intelligence collection mission I fly with counter
drug funded assets, must be tied to an intelligence requirement that is
counter drug specific or force protection for those participating in counter
drug operations. So, without any additional funding what the authority
would give us is the ability not to look at Colombia through a soda straw
that defines counter drug, but to look at the FARC not only as a drug
trafficker but to look at the FARC as a terrorist and to look as the FARC
as an insurgent across the board. It also means from a maritime interdiction
standpoint again, with the assets already provided, instead of just trying
to interdict drugs leaving Colombia, we can look for the weapons going
in that are fuelling the FARC. Those are just examples, sir.
REP. LEWIS: I yield
REP. KOLBE: We'll
come back for another round of questioning.
Next, Ms. Kilpatrick.
REP. CAROLYN C. KILPATRICK
(D-MI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, gentlemen.
Continuing with Chairman
Lewis' thought this extended authority gives me real queasiness for a
lot of reasons that Congressman Obey already mentioned and some of the
things that have been discussed today. General, you just went over, and
in your own every day language I'm sure all of you all understood what
you just said, as a former school teacher and now a congressperson who
knows a whole lot about -- I should put that in -- knows a little about
a whole lot of subjects, this is not one of my great ones, so you're going
to have to break that down for me.
But the expanded
authority that you're asking for in the legislation, and Mr. Grossman,
I think you -- I was going to ask you until I heard what he just said,
because you said you want to use the helicopters. Well, hell I want you
to use the helicopters.
I'm just not sure
I want to give the expanded authority. And I want to know if I could --
is there such a way that we can do what you just said, general, and allow
you to do that. Expanded authorities means a whole lot of things. Expanded
almost means no oversight from the Congress, number one, and that you
can do anything you need to do, to get to what you got to get to, or what
you've seen necessary to get to. Is there a way to crack that better than
the language that's in front of me which gives you carte blanche everything.
There may not be, you know, it's somewhere for letting use the helicopters
to doing what the general said. Is this the only way that we can get to
MR. GROSSMAN: I'm
sorry. Let me start an answer and then I think it's -- it also would be
good if General Speer talked a little bit and as you said, in plain everyday
language. I did too, but that's -- we're sick people though.
So far the answer
to your question is 'no,' that the law is tightly drawn and you drew the
law very tightly --
To be tight, that was the intent.
MR. GROSSMAN: Absolutely
right. And so, we've lived by the law and the law says, counter narcotics,
counter narcotics, counter narcotics, nothing else but counter narcotics
and we have lived by the law. And so we've looked at this any which way
from Sunday and we cannot find a way other than breaking the law or as
you all told us not to do, to stretch the law, to get this job done. And
all of us have been sitting in the situation room at the White House talking
about this pipeline, way before September 11th and we made a promise to
ourselves that we were not going to fool around, we're not going to stretch
the law. We were going to come up and say, here it is, let's debate it.
Let's see whether people are prepared to do something different.
And I would say,
Congresswoman, that our objective here is not to get carte blanche. Our
objective is not to throw off all the restrictions. I think if we were
interested in doing that we'd have come up to get rid of the Leahy restrictions
and we don't want to do that.
Okay, hold it, hold it, this woman gets five minutes and she's got sand
The provision would
allow broader authority to provide assistance to Colombia to counter the
unified cross cutting and then it goes on. Tell me what broader authority
you need. Why can't we do that rather than say broader authority. I mean,
you know -- you know this better than I. I'm trying to give it to you
but without having you trample everyone's civil rights in this country
MR. GROSSMAN: Well,
I'm certainly not interested in trampling anybody's civil rights and as
I say -- as I was trying to answer the question, you have -- you wrote
the law in a very strict manner. And we're trying to live up to the law.
And we will continue to live up to the law until the law's different.
If we wanted broader authority we would have asked to get rid of the caps.
We would have asked to get rid of the certifications. We would have asked
to get rid of the vetting of units. But we don't want to do any of that.
Vetting is one of the most useful and important things going.
I -- we agree and we thank you for not asking for that, that would have
been a little bit --
MR. GROSSMAN: Right.
So the idea somehow that we kind of want to run rampage, and skirt the
Congress and not listen to anybody anymore, I think's not right.
So, you're saying the only way you can get to where you need to be to
combat the violence and terrorism that you see, is to give it to you like
I'm bread here, the broad stroke.
MR. GROSSMAN: That
is our -- that is our conclusion and our proposition to you.
I'd like to talk to you more on it as the supplemental goes --
MR. GROSSMAN: Any
time, any time.
-- there's got to be a better way. It's what over 12 million Colombians
are African Colombians. Many feel that their crops have been taken and
fumigated. Some livestock have been affected, some people have been affected.
Not just with the African Colombians, but people throughout the country.
Is the State Department using their own guidelines and law in this regard
as well as they fumigate crops and move them across the country. Are there
problems? Are you aware of them or am I the only one getting them?
MR. GROSSMAN: No,
no, they're -- we hear lots of reports of problems. We hear lots of reports
of people who feel that they have been hurt in some way. And I can tell
you that our embassy in Bogot and Ann Paterson (sp) in particular has
done all that she can to make sure that we investigate all those things.
For example, last year she contracted with Colombia's sort of leading
doctor in this area to review all of these cases. And they came up with
not one --
No, no, he's messed with my saying too --
MR. GROSSMAN: And
they came really with not one case where the stuff we spray hurt any individuals.
But there are reports, we try to follow them up. And one of the things
that I promised to do, Congresswoman, when I was in Colombia in August
was I said, look, let's just get to the bottom of this. Let's see if we
can find a third-party to go out and look at all of these controversies
and see what we're doing. And we're about to ask the Organization of American
States to do this. We think that they'll have credibility in Colombia,
they'll have credibility in the United States, and we look forward to
their report, but we're very confident that this is a safe program.
Okay, I'm got some real concerns there I'd like to work with you there.
And finally, Mr.
Chairman, the 3.5 GDP that Colombia now put in is not enough. You know,
you're asking us to put in more dollars and America's in a recession,
although many say we're coming out of it, it's 16 percent production and
the drug is still increasing. It's 90 percent of the cocaine still comes
from there. I live in Detroit, urban America. We have problems that we
can't get treatment under, and all the other money shifting away to the
war on terrorism, which is taking everything, it's hard to -- I hope you
can understand, it's hard to continue to do this, what we see as a failing
effort as it relates to the people that we represent at home.
I don't know if you
have a -- you have a job to do, but so do we. We have to represent to
the very best of our ability. And somehow this is getting -- you know,
not only taking more dollars than we can afford from our own treasury,
but at the same time, many of us feel that Colombia is not doing their
part in their military, which is lax, as well as losing more of their
own dollars to combat the problem.
MR. GROSSMAN: Well,
that's a very important message that comes from you, and it's also a very
important message that comes from us, the Colombians, so we appreciate
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
REP. KOLBE: Thank
you, Mr. Bonilla.
REP. HENRY BONILLA
(R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary, I want
to talk about demand reduction efforts for just a second. I want to quote
something from the March 2002 strategy report from the INL. It says:
The need for demand
reduction is a fundamental and critical part of control in the illicit
drug trade. Escalating drug use and abuse continue to take a devastating
toll on the health, welfare, security and economic stability of all nations.
As a result, foreign
countries increasingly request technical and other assistance. Our response
has been comprehensive and balanced and -- comprehensive, balanced and
coordinated response in which supply, control and demand reduction reinforce
I read that because
I want to point out that the budget for 2002 was $842 million, but only
$5 million was allocated to drug demand reduction programs. This seems
to be an obvious great disparity, and does not comply with the goal of
-- the strategy report of comprehensive balanced and coordinated approach.
The demand reduction program is one of few, if not the only program at
INL that directly fosters the development of civil societies. You've seen
first hand how effective drug demand reduction initiatives have been for
the NGOs. As a matter of fact, INL evaluations have validated the success
of positive outcomes of the program, yet demand reduction receives less
than one half of one percent of the INL budget.
My question is, isn't
this an obvious imbalance in allocating funds? Why is this such a disparity
between the two goals?
MR. GROSSMAN: Sir,
let me first of all commit to get a fuller response to you in writing,
but I think the answer to your question is that the INL budget, of course,
is basically focused on interdiction and eradication overseas. If I was
here from the office of National Drug Control Policy I would think I would
tell you we spend billions of dollars a year in the United States on demand
reduction. And John Walters, who I think is doing a wonderful job as the
new head of that, has talked about demand reduction. He's talked about
treatment and interdiction. So this is all part of one whole.
So I hope you won't
consider that because you look at this small part of our budget that we're
not interested in demand reduction. In fact, President Bush, every time
he talks to the foreign leaders, especially in Colombia, he says, "The
first things we've got to do is we've got to kind of dampen the demand
in the United States because it just sucks in all the things that we're
So there's a huge
amount of money being spent in the United States on demand reduction,
perhaps just not in Randy Beers' (sp) budget.
REP. BONILLA: Well,
that's what we -- this has been drawn to my attention, and I'm going to
work very hard to try to create a more balanced approach on these dollars,
because unless we discover something, and we've researched this quite
a bit, otherwise this is a great imbalance here in the way these funds
are allocated, so we'll be working on that.
I want to just ask
a couple of other quick related questions on drug certification. Last
year, when the secretary appeared before us, I talked about -- and I put
some language in a bill because I raised concerns that the drug certification
process was not exactly reflecting true reforms in what countries are
actually doing to combat drugs in their particular countries. So there
any efforts now planned for the near future to replace this ineffective
certification process with a system of true accountability? I've talked
about this for some time now, I've put some report language in the bill
last year in the hope that we can see some progress on that.
MR. GROSSMAN: Would
the chairman mind if I just asked Assistant Secretary Beers to answer
that question so we can get an answer? Mr. Chairman, is that -- I don't
know what the protocol is here but I can -- I'm sure Randy can answer
that question of the congressman if you'd allow him to.
REP. KOLBE: Yes,
we would, but ask him to step -- he needs to step up to the microphone
and identify himself here so that we have it for the record.
MR. RAND BEERS: Sir,
REP. KOLBE: For the
record identify yourself.
MR. BEERS: I'm sorry.
I'm Rand Beers, the Assistant Secretary of International Narcotics and
Law Enforcement Affairs with the State Department.
REP. KOLBE: Thank
MR. BEERS: With respect
to the annual drug certification process, yes, sir, we did comply with
the revised legislation this year. We did find it to be useful and an
improvement over the previous legislation. We're in the process of putting
together a final proposal to come back to you all with respect to where
we ought to be going in the future. You all gave us only one year worth
of this process so we owe you, and the secretary took a question in that
regard in an earlier hearing.
REP. BONILLA: What's
your projection for the time that we'll --
MR. BEERS: In the
very near future, sir. We've been deliberating on that since the secretary
took the question in the earlier hearing, so I anticipate in the next
REP. BONILLA: Just
to give me a -- I know you --
MR. BEERS: -- next
couple of weeks. Two to four weeks, sir, we'll get back to you by then
REP. BONILLA: Thank
you very much
MR. BEERS: -- to
REP. BONILLA: Thank
you. Thank you, Secretary Beers.
And finally, I just
have a question that might seem like it has an obvious answer, but I just
want to state for the record the tie-in in trying to promote trade packs,
and how this can help the whole drug effort. One of the main focuses in
our plan for Colombia is a fumigation of coca areas, a sustainable reduction
of drug crop productions through alternative development. The U.S. has
already engaged in about $9 billion bilateral trade with Colombia. However,
would it not be an effective tool for President Bush to have trade promotion
authority and the Andean Trade Preference Act?
Wouldn't this allow
the president to move more effectively and quickly to offer Colombia and
other countries in the region some alternative means of income for their
farmers? And wouldn't that authority expedite USAID's five year goal of
eliminating the production of over seven million acres of illicit crops?
Again, I think this is -- there's an obvious answer here, but this is
very important. Very important in tying it into this problem.
MR. BEERS: Yes, sir
MR. GROSSMAN: That
was a real hardball.
MR. BEERS: Okay.
And I'm going to take the advantage to take in. Actually I made --
REP. KOLBE: Please.
We do need to make it quick. We have to get on with it.
MR. BEERS: No, I
made a mistake. In my -- you'll see in my prepared statement, congressman,
a very strong endorsement of ATPA, a thank you to this committee and to
the House for passing ATPA, and a call on the Senate to do the same. And
I apologize, I took it out of my spoken statement to get the time down.
I should have left it in there. We agree with you completely.
REP. KOLBE: Mr. Rothman?
REP. STEVEN ROTHMAN
(D-NJ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'll be brief, I
want to catch Director Ridge's testimony before another subcommittee that
I have the pleasure of serving on. But I'd be interested to know what
the Colombian officials say to you when you express to them, which I'm
sure you have, that it's the view of many in this country that Colombia
is not expending enough of its own resources to defend itself and its
people from FARC.
What do they say
to you as to why they're not spending more?
MR. GROSSMAN: The
reason I hesitate is that I think I would have gotten a different answer
than I got this year. Last year I think I'd have heard more, well, we're
in a peace process maybe it will work out, this isn't so bad, we can handle
this along with your support. But I must say, sir, as I tried to say probably
not very well previously, September 11th had a big impact on Colombians
I think in their psyche. And I believe that what happened on September
11th made it more possible for President Pastrana to take the decision
he did on the 20th of February. I found people in Colombia much more purposeful
the second time I was there, and I believe now that they are much more
open to the kinds of conversation we've been having here that they need
to do more.
REP. ROTHMAN: Forgive
me and if you've covered this already, I apologize. But what evidence
do you have or can you tell the subcommittee that would demonstrate your
belief that they now have a new attitude about the necessity to spend
a greater proportion of their resources on the threats that they face?
MR. GROSSMAN: Yes,
sir. I think the most important evidence of that was the decision President
Pastrana took to end the zone and to say finally that he wasn't getting
anywhere with the FARC and that the peace process would end and that he
was going to make the expense, not just in terms of money but effort and
possibly also lives, to go in there and clean it up.
REP. ROTHMAN: Forgive
me, but did he come up with a specific sum of money or an increase in
MR. GROSSMAN: Again,
the Colombians should obviously speak for themselves, but I know that
President Pastrana has recently proposed a considerable increase not only
in the number of people who should be in the Colombian military, but also
an extra $100 million in spending on the Colombian military.
REP. ROTHMAN: And
what percentage of that -- how does that boost their percentage of spending
relative to the GDP on defense?
MR. GROSSMAN: How
it would raise the 3.5 percent I'm not sure. I'd be glad to get back to
you, Mr. Rothman.
REP. ROTHMAN: It
can't be a heck of a lot?
MR. GROSSMAN: No.
I mean, I don't think $100 million would raise it that much.
REP. ROTHMAN: Therefore,
from what you've told me today, I'm not overwhelmed with a sense that
they yet feel the need to do much more than they're presently doing. And
until I'm presented with evidence to the contrary, I'm going to be reluctant
to want to do more from the U.S. taxpayers; notwithstanding the fact that
I am otherwise extraordinarily sympathetic to your request to allow us
not to look at them through -- as the general said, through the straw,
but in our own self-interest to make -- put these terrorists out of business
for our own self-interest, as well as for the interests of the people
of that region. I would be otherwise be extraordinarily sympathetic to
expanding your authority. But in terms of additional dollars, I'm concerned
that expanding our authority -- or allowing you to expand your authority
might of its own nature require additional expenditure, or additional
requests for greater expenditures.
And I don't want
to go down that road if Colombia is playing us for some suckers, or they're
being irresponsible. I feel badly for the Colombian people if their own
leaders are being so apparently -- I won't use that word. If their own
leaders are not doing what they should to address the magnitude of this
MR. GROSSMAN: Mr.
Rothman, part of the challenge I think that we both have is -- and I don't
mean to be colloquial here -- but kind of who goes first? And if you consider,
for example, the report that General Speer gave you, we spent money training
what is now the best military unit in Colombia. They go out and they knock
over, over 800 narcotics labs in the last year. Does that show that they
want to do more? I think it does. Would they have done this by themselves
had we not had this training for them? Probably not. The Cano Limon pipeline,
for example, they'd like to have the $500 million a year that now dribbles
away because that pipeline is closed 226 days a year. But they can't do
that, they can't make that extra effort that you seek until they've got
a trained and sensible armed forces, which Gary Speer is going to do if
you give him the money. So, you know, as someone said before, it is a
complicated problem and --
REP. ROTHMAN: Maybe
I'm wrong, but if it were my country and I didn't have America to look
to, I would spend, as Congressman Obey said, a far greater percentage
than the three point whatever they're presently spending and not look
to anybody else. Initially I would spend whatever it took: 100 percent
or 200 percent of the budget to protect, with all these kidnappings and
murders of government officials and regular folks on the street.
So it doesn't compute
to me that they would withhold from making that effort, saying, "Well,
we won't do it until America coughs up more money." It doesn't make
-- it doesn't ring true to me and so I'm left with questions that, until
they're answered, are going to prevent me from doing what I would otherwise
be very sympathetic in allowing you folks to do. Again, I may ultimately
end up supporting you because I want support our efforts in that region,
for America's interests as well as for the interests of the Colombian
people, and damn the Colombian elected officials if they can't do their
job right. But it does inform me about how I want to treat and relate
to the present Colombian leadership in the future.
MR. GROSSMAN: Just
for the record, I just want to be clear that I don't want to be in a position
of saying -- because I don't think I said -- that the Colombians won't
do anything until we pony up. I think our objective here is to make sure
that the lines intercept in the right way, so that Pastrana comes out,
he proposes this plan for Colombia, the United States supports it. Colombians
identify a military unit to train. Gary Speer does a great job training
it. They go out and knock over --
REP. ROTHMAN: Mr.
Secretary, I must say Colombian people are very smart people. I don't
think they need us to tell them -- to suggest to them that they need to
defend themselves, and that they probably could come up with their own
ideas about how to protect the men, women and children whom they're supposed
to be protecting. Anyway, I'm going to go and thank you.
REP. KOLBE: Mr. Kingston?
REP. JACK KINGSTON
(D-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I do want to say
for the record that I believe that our military spending is about three
percent of GDP, and we're at war. So they're not, at three-and-a-half
percent, exactly taking it lightly. Now, I believe that's approximately
right, I'm a little loose with the numbers.
My question though,
General Speer, you had testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee
in March, March 5, made a number of interesting statements about Ecuador
and I'm just going to quote here and there: "Ecuador remains the
country most vulnerable to any spillover effects from the narco terrorism."
You made big points about, "Ecuador soldiers are inadequate. Seven
thousand Ecuadorian soldiers on the border, but they need about 10,000."
The ration is 12 Saltines and 15 grams of tuna, or a can of tuna, a day.
They're paid the equivalent of $280 a month, which is actually less than
the monthly wage for members of FARC."
So, you know, a lot
of concerns here about Ecuador. And also you made some very good points
about 12,000 Colombians fled to Ecuador in 2000 and 4,600 Colombians requested
refuge status there.
My question is: how
would you assess the threat to Ecuador and what can the United States
do to help Ecuador?
GEN. SPEER: Thank
you, Congressman. I gotta be honest and tell you I can't take credit for
all of that, but it sounds right.
I still remain convinced
that of the neighbors, Ecuador is probably the most susceptible to spillover
from Colombia. We already see the FARC operating at will across the border
into Ecuador. The Ecuadorians are taking steps in terms of reorganizing
the Army, specifically the 19th Jungle Brigade in the division they have
located in the north to try to focus on that area. As is the case throughout
the Andean Ridge, the Ecuadorian military is under-resourced to do the
security job that needs to be done to protect its borders from external
threats, these transnational threats that move back and forth.
In the planned Colombia
2000 supplemental, it did include $20 million for Ecuador, of which $6
million of the 20 will actually go to the military. That will buy, in
fact -- it will deliver a combination of communications equipment and
some vehicles to give them some mobility. The fundamental problem, again,
is a lack of mobility to really patrol the area. There has recently been
a change in military leadership in Ecuador. Each of the services and the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff equivalent. I'm very optimistic
with the leadership change. They've still got the -- shall I say the gap
in terms of being able to resource, whether it be from Ecuadorian sources
or external support, the security force requirements they need for that
REP. KINGSTON: Mr.
Franco, I have a question for you. I understand that Ecuador under the
ARI did not receive the funds that they expected, and they got a disproportionate
reduction -- or a proportionate reduction in the level of AID monies,
as compared to other Andean countries. Can you explain that?
MR. FRANCO: Mr. Kingston,
we're in the process currently of conducting a review of our program in
Ecuador. In fact, just to tie on to what General Speer said, we're looking
at the projects that we're carrying on along the border of the Putumayo
River. We're concerned obviously, just as the General has said, about
the spill over effect. Our program has been concentrated in that area,
precisely for that reason.
However, there is
a distinction and I alluded to this in my testimony, and that is unlike
Putumayo on the other side of the river, where we see and I've tried to
highlight this, security and other significant problems from a development
standpoint -- really from every standpoint, governance rule of law issues
and so forth. On the Ecuadorian side of the border which is a very similar
terrain in every respect, including a lack of access to markets -- it's
very difficult in Putumayo and Colombia to access other markets. In Ecuador,
the Northern part of the country is also isolated. So they share similarities
in almost every regard. The only difference I would say, from the standpoint
of the development standpoint, is that we are able to carry out programs
in Ecuador in a fashion that we're not able to do so in Putumayo.
That does not mean
we're not concerned about -- just as the General has pointed out, the
spillover effect in that area. That has led us, in terms of priorities
and I'm not punting here, I'm new to the job. I've been on the job 60
days but we are conducting a review of the program. But initially I can
tell you that our priorities were largely driven about putting resources
in those areas where we saw the conflict to be the greatest. And in Northern
Ecuador where our program is concentrated, from a development standpoint,
the news is fairly good. In fact, I might add that the successful productive
activities -- and infrastructure I should say -- infrastructure programs
in Northern Ecuador are things that we look to replicate in Putumayo and
Colombia. So I will review that aspect of it.
REP. KINGSTON: I
appreciate that and I see I'm out of time, but given the General's testimony
in March at the Senate Armed Services it does appear that it is a dire
situation and it would be in our interest for you to review it.
MR. FRANCO: We're
in the process of doing that, sir, and we'll get back to you on that.
REP. KINGSTON: Thank
REP. KOLBE: Thank
you, Mr. Kingston.
We're joined today
on the subcommittee dais by a member of the full committee, Mr. Sam Farr,
who has a great deal of expertise in Colombia, having spent years there
himself in the Peace Corps. We are pleased you are with us here today,
Mr. Farr, for your questions.
REP. SAM FARR (D-CA):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the
invitation to sit on this panel. I'm not a member of this subcommittee,
but I am really keenly interested in Colombia. As you said, I lived there
as a member of the Peace Corps and while I was there my sister, my younger
sister was killed in an accident and I've been sort of really involved
in Colombia emotionally and politically ever since. And some of my best
Colombian friends have all been killed in this on going violence.
I came here today,
and it's in my written testimony, to sort of talk about the issues that
I think committees like this always get into, which is the edges. Nobody
talked about campesinos and spraying and pipelines and human rights and
fair trade coffee.
But after hearing
Mr. Obey and thinking of what we really need to do in Colombia, I'm just
-- I've changed it and I'm going to say some things then ask just for
a general questioner. I have three questions I want to ask and I'll just
put them in my remarks.
I think we're going
to hear a lot about the issues that I came here to talk about because
in nine days there's going to be about thousands and thousands of people
descending on Washington in a thing called Mobilization Colombia -- Colombia
Mobilization, to essentially petition our government to get out of Colombia
and we're going to be sitting here defending all these pieces of why we
ought not to get out. I think what the American public believes is that
we're not having any effect there. And I think the American public think
we're not having an effect there because we, as political leaders, and
the administration hasn't been very effective in communicating that the
problem is not Colombia. The problem is an America problem.
It's drugs in North
America and now drugs in Brazil and it's really a lack of leadership in
the Americas. And I wouldn't say it's a lack of leadership on the American
President's side. It's a lack of leadership in the presidents of Central
America and Latin American countries to really recognize that this problem
is a Latin American problem and Colombia is where it's focused. And I
think we need to -- we need to insist that all the resources that we put
in Latin America and any country, ought to be tied to those countries
helping upgrade the democratic institutions in Colombia. If Colombia doesn't
make it, they're not going to make it.
And I disagree with
you. Ecuador is so poor and so rural that if the pressures that Ecuador
had that Colombia has, they don't have the infrastructure, the government
infrastructure. They don't have the way to respond as sophisticatedly
as Colombia has been able to. It's just a matter of time before it squeezes
into Ecuador, it squeezes into Venezuela, it squeezes into any other areas.
All of you on this
panel, your titles of Under Secretary of State, of Secretary of Defense,
of U.S. Southern Command, of the Administrator of Latin America are all
about that region and my plea is that we need to -- we need to make that
entire region supportive of what we need to do to upgrade democratic institutions
and eradicate poverty and eradicate the drugs. I don't think we're going
to do it by just coming here which I would have done, like everybody else
in Colombia has to raise more revenue and commit to that. This is an election
year in Colombia. No politician in America is going out and campaigning,
saying I'm going to get elected on raising more taxes. And neither should
we expect that anybody in Colombia is going to do that.
But if we don't support
whatever -- who ever is going to get elected, if that next government
has to come here and beg for our help and start all over again, we have
lost this thing. So we have got to institutionalize the upgrading of these
institutions greater than just trying to figure out whether we need to
-- do crop eradication differently. I think we need to -- here's what
I suggest needs to be done.
I think that Latin
America needs to show it's support of Colombia and this administration
needs to provide the leadership in doing that. And I suggest this administration
very strongly indicate that all of the aid to Latin America will be tied
to the success of all of those countries helping upgrade those institutions
I think you need
to reschedule Secretary Powell's visit to Colombia, the visit that was
cancelled after 9/11. I think Secretary Powell has to make it very, very
clear to the Colombians that they've got to re- institutionalize a firewall
between them and the paramilitaries.
This idea that we
put in our legislation -- which I think is what ties us to just using
all our equipment for narco suppression and not allowing the Colombian
military to use this for other purposes which may be justified now. But
nobody's going to buy it here in America, nor are they going to buy it
until we see the Colombians being able to create a firewall that will
really, in that country, work. Because I think they give -- I mean we
read the polls. The Colombians are -- we would do it in this country.
If we had a crime spree in any community, or in any state that was like
Colombia, all you'd have to do is run on -- I'll use every force I can,
I'll bring back the vigilante -- and people would support that.
So I can understand
why the popularity for the paramilitary is going up because all these
other institutions are failing. I think you need to take the money that
we're doing for spraying and put it into economic development. The campesinos
that I talk to in Putumayo, and I speak their language, told me, "if
we sign those contracts, our lives are threatened." What the hell
kind of an offer is that? You're going to offer them some money so that
they can grow an alternative crop versus somebody offering, you sign the
contract and you're dead.
We don't back it
up. We can't protect those campesinos after they sign the contract. We
think Colombians can. And we don't have any economic incentives. Why would
you want to go where the government play in Colombia? Where are the schools,
where are the roads, where is the infrastructure? People in America don't
care just about the economics of our community, or their jobs. They care
about the ability to have a quality of life, to send their kids to school,
to get health care when they need it. That's the same for any campesino
anywhere in the world. And we don't do enough to sort of develop that
governance ability there.
So I think that you
know, you're not going to find a great infrastructure in the jungles of
Colombia and Putumayo or out in the Andes, but until we start improving
the ability for Colombians to develop and deliver their institutions of
democracy, which we all praise and why we're there in the first place,
I don't think we're going to win this plan. I think David Obey is right.
We are rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.
So my suggestion
to you, and you said you wanted to listen to members of Congress, is one,
engage all of Latin America in this and find some Latin American leadership
outside of just Colombia itself. Because it's in their self interest as
for playing Colombia. But it ought to be in the interests of all Latin
Secondly, since we
sent Secretary Powell down there with very strong statements that this
paramilitary process -- this (suspection ?) of theirs that there's collusion
and all the reports that come back from all the human rights groups --
they're the ones that come back and report to members of Congress. So
you can sell this committee that, you know, all of these details may be
necessary but you can't sell it to the whole body out there, you know,
trying to -- you can't even get them to come to a meeting on it and in
ten days they're going to be listening to their constituents who are going
to be here by the thousands telling them not to do any of the things you're
So, I think we have
a real credibility problem that we've got to correct immediately and that's
going to be done by addressing this a Latin American issue, not just as
a Colombian issue.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. KOLBE: Well
that was -- I think we'll just allow a couple of brief comments if you
want to respond to that and then we'll have Mr. Callahan back to ask some
MR. GROSSMAN: Sure.
Mr. Farr, thank you very much. I don't know if we really want to respond
so much as to say that I agree with practically everything that you said
and I appreciate your points.
REP. FARR: Well,
what are you going to do about it?
MR. GROSSMAN: Well,
let me -- I was just trying to be polite. Let me try to answer your question.
First, I think in terms of bringing the hemisphere together, that is absolutely
right, and one of the things that President Bush tried to do when they
were in Quebec and put out this theme, as I tried in my testimony to do
-- democracy, democracy, democracy, the rule of our human rights, prosperity
and security is now a goal of the entire hemisphere. And I agree with
you completely, that we need to do more in the countries around. We've
had some success, actually a lot of success, with getting Mexico and it's
new government better, more involved in Colombia and I was in Brazil a
few weeks ago and they are also, I think, coming to recognize that how
goes Colombia is going to go the whole area for 10 or 15 years.
The second thing
-- I think that Secretary Powell would like to reschedule his visits.
You know, we have kind of set this up, we designated the AUC as a foreign
terrorist organization on 9th September and we wanted him to go there
on 11th September to give that message precisely. I've tried to give it,
General Speer tried
to give it, but I know Secretary Powell would like to go back not to go
back -- I think he needs to go, because I take your point, that may be
he would do a better job in making this point. If I could just turn to
Administrator Franco for a minute -- may be I'll turn to --
MR. FRANCO: Thank
you, Mr. Secretary. Mr. Farr I know about your Peace Corps experience
in Colombia, your commitment to it. I know your staff was just recently
in Colombia so I know you're expert in these issues.
I have to say you've
laid out a lot of challenges before us. There's no disagreement that law
enforcement of building institutions is a critical component and we talk
a lot about alternative development and it's a key component, but our
democracy program and good governance program is a large part of our program
in Colombia and elsewhere in the Andean region, including Putumayo.
REP. FARR: How much
are you putting into the rural economic development?
MR. FRANCO: The rural
economic development is $56.6, $56.5 million of the --
REP. FARR: How much
is the entire Plan Colombia commitment?
MR. FRANCO: How about
the USAID portion?
REP. FARR: Yes. Well,
what about --
MR. FRANCO: $104
million, of which $24 million is dedicated to the democracy programs in
the '02 money that --
REP. FARR: My point
is, that of the 13 -- the $1.3 billion -- that's a very small amount.
MR. FRANCO: Well,
I wanted to get to another component where -- I'm being candid with you
about crop substitution, you made a lot of points. I just wanted to start
out with the law enforcement and the good governance.
We agree, and we're
helping the government of Columbia in that regard. We're going to be in
Putumayo. The secretary referenced the 18 cassas (ph) of astacia (ph)
that we have supported and we're going to go to 40 by 2005.
Working with communities
-- we agree in an integrated development approach. Two things you mentioned,
Congressman Obey and Mrs. Lowey. Mrs. Lowey said this cannot be achieved
in the short term. We agree. There's just -- this will take some time.
It's a critical component. But, alternative development, and you know
this, there isn't a crop, and this is not crop substitution, there isn't
a crop that can compete with coca. There just isn't.
Therefore, we need
to have that law enforcement. We need to have good governance. We need
to work in that -- in a situation in a country in which security is just
not present throughout the country. That's our challenge.
REP. FARR: You just
buy Colombia coffee at a higher price.
You'd be better off.
Thank you. We've
long over exceeded the time here. We'll come back if you'd like to ask
some more questions. Mr. Callahan has rejoined us.
REP. SONNY CALLAHAN
(R-AL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ambassador. Good
evening. Sorry I missed most of the testimony and questions. Some of it
will be repetition and I apologize to you for that. I had another committee
hearing that I have jurisdiction over that I must attend. But I did have
jurisdiction over this committee when we aimed last year, or the president
came to the Congress and asked me to spearhead the effort to participate
in Plan Colombia.
Originally, it was
proposed to us, the Congress, that our contribution this -- our contribution
of $1.3 billion was part of a $7 billion world contribution, including
$2 billion from Panama towards this effort. I guess my first question
is, how much we put up our entire $1.3 billion, how much has the rest
of the world provided on their commitment?
MR. GROSSMAN: Sir,
I answered the question before. We have put up our commitment, thank you
very much. I think the Europeans and others have put up practically nothing
and we need to do more to get them there, but the Colombians themselves
have spent, thanks for the reminder, $426.5 million on social and institutional
development and $2.6 billion on Plan Colombia related infrastructure projects
and improving the military. We think that's a substantial commitment and
we think they're well on their way to meeting their part of the $7.4 billion.
REP. CALLAHAN: Why
has not the European community provided? I mean, they are now complaining
that these drugs are now moving vastly, or changing direction, not towards
the European community. Why are they not participating?
MR. GROSSMAN: We
have made the point to them, again and again, that they need to participate,
and it was a little bit like I was trying to answer Mr. Rothman's question
-- I have really seen a change, Mr. Chairman, in European attitudes since
the 11th September. Before the 11th September it was hard to get some
of our colleagues in Europe even to accept that the FARC and the AUC and
ELN were narco- terrorist organizations. That's really changed since the
I don't tell you
we don't have some work to do, but I think we could use this change in
attitude to get it done.
REP. CALLAHAN: What
other nations other than European nations were part of the coalition to
raise the $5 billion that was to be raised in addition to what the United
States was putting up -- $4 billion I guess.
MR. GROSSMAN: Well,
there was a large number of countries. I represented the United States
not two weeks after I took this job, at a conference in Brussels, to try
to raise some of that money and I said at that time that if we had taken
the salaries and all the money that was spent to bring that conference
together and applied it to Plan Colombia we would have been better off,
cause we didn't get any extra money out of that.
So, what I'm hoping
is, and I commit to you is that we've got to use the change in attitudes
after 11th September to build that money up. The truth is, though, that
it's only the European Union that's got money and they need to be involved
in this in a much bigger way.
REP. CALLAHAN: How
MR. GROSSMAN: I know
the Japanese were represented at that conference. I'll tell you the truth,
we haven't been back to the Japanese since that time -- oh, I'm sorry
-- and they're not on this list. I'd be glad to check.
REP. CALLAHAN: Well,
you know, I'm just concerned, because my philosophy, when I chaired this
committee and certainly it's the philosophy of most of the members is
that we understand the constitutional role of the administration to engage
in foreign policy and that the least interference from Congress you have
the better you are able to perform that function effectively. And I certainly
don't want, at this stage of my life, to jump in start now saying I'm
not going to agree with giving this administration total support for their
foreign policy, because I intend to do that.
But I don't want
Colombia to turn into the Middle East of our contribution to foreign aid,
and I'm afraid that's what's happened. We provided Colombia with more
money than any other nation in this hemisphere -- now we're proposing
another half a billion dollars towards that effort to resolve a problem
that really as Nancy Palosey (sp) used to say, is our own problem, because
we keep buying these drugs and creating the market and we have a big problem
But I don't want
to turn this into a Middle East dependency which I'm afraid that that's
where we're heading. I'm also concerned about the fact that the administration
is not showing due respect and appreciation to Colombia for the effort
that they have made in the total eradication of this problem and, I mean,
Bolivia, and this total thing -- the very idea that we're going to tell
Bolivia you're doing a good job so we're cutting you off, and we're going
to reward the countries that are not making any progress whatsoever according
to the figures that I've seen -- conflicting figures as to how many hectares
have been reduced.
And the same thing
with Ecuador. We don't want to just push this problem in Peru and Ecuador
and back into Colombia, or even over to Africa, but here we are today,
saying look, the $1.3 billion didn't work, now what you told the Congress
or what the Japanese and Europeans told the Congress three or four years
ago, they didn't keep their word, therefore come up with another $500
million and we'll go to work now trying to get them to fulfill the commitment
that they've already given. So I -- I don't know what I'm going to do,
Mr. Secretary, at this point with respect to the committee level and to
floor level. But I will tell you that I am not at all satisfied with the
progress that has been made, with the commitments that have broken, with
respect to world involvement with the commitments that Colombia has not
kept, with the progress that has been made and simply pouring another
half-a-billion dollars in there, in my opinion, is not the correct solution.
Maybe I'm wrong,
and probably I might be because you all are professionals and I respect
that, I certainly respect you and your ability to negotiate and your ability
and your mission, I respect that. And I respect the president, but we're
talking about a lot of money going to a very small area that is making
zero progress, that can show me nothing that has been accomplished with
the 1.3 billion (dollars) that I spearheaded when I was chairman of this
So, I apologize if
my view is different from yours but I do respect your position and I certainly
don't question your motive or your aims. Nor do I question anyone in the
administration. But I just think we're turning Colombia into the new recipient
of aid for this hemisphere when we have such tremendous needs for assistance
to other nations in this hemisphere that we're totally neglecting. Not
necessarily in drug interdiction but in economic situations that we are
totally eliminating all of our -- not all of them, but most of our efforts
to -- for human rights, for quality of life improvement, educational opportunities,
or trade opportunities, we're neglecting and putting all of our moneys
into a country such as Colombia that is not showing me any strong indication
of being able to make any improvement in problem that they're creating
MR. GROSSMAN: Mr.
Callahan -- Chairman, I'd just like to respond in a couple of ways. One,
Mr. Callahan, I made a mistake. Luckily there are smarter people behind
me and so I want to apologize for mis- speaking. The Japanese actually
have pledged $175 million into the general international fund, Spain $100
million, European Union 95 -- it falls off from there.
Maybe you'd allow
me to send you this as an answer for the record so that you can get --
REP. CALLAHAN: --
thank you very much.
MR. GROSSMAN: --
and I'd like to then see kind of how people have met the --
REP. CALLAHAN: Excuse
MR. GROSSMAN: Yes,
sir. That's what I say --
REP. CALLAHAN: Pledged?
MR. GROSSMAN: Exactly.
REP. CALLAHAN: What's
MR. GROSSMAN: Well,
that's what I've got to find out. See I have that -- I have all the pledges
and then I got to make sure I've got all the --
REP. CALLAHAN: That
was my point. I know what the pledges are.
MR. GROSSMAN: No,
REP. CALLAHAN: The
pledges total four plus million -- billion dollars.
MR. GROSSMAN: Exactly.
REP. KOLBE: Which
is easy -- I'll make a pledge of a billion dollars to the -- this year,
I don't think I'll be able to fulfill it.
MR. GROSSMAN: No,
fair enough. But I'd like to -- I think we ought to -- but I think we
ought to get the facts here. We ought to answer this question --
REP. CALLAHAN: --
because I don't want to go to the floor and fight the administration on
something that I believe the heart's in the right place and certainly
your aims are correct, your goals are absolutely noble. I don't question
that at all.
MR. GROSSMAN: Right.
REP. CALLAHAN: But
we're talking about a half-a-billion dollars and we're -- if we're talking
about that for foreign assistance. Now, I had the same problem with the
Clinton Administration with Haiti.
Finally, they gave
up on Haiti when they saw there was no way to make any progress in that
country, they almost gave -- they stopped pumping money into Haiti and
I think it's time that we looked at the possibility of, if we're talking
about $500 million of diverting this to some countries that are showing
progress and that do have true economic and social needs that we could
really make some improvements in these countries. And then at the same
time beef up the coast guard and beef up the DEA and all of these agencies
which I visited this weekend that are fighting this battle, this war,
of drugs departing Colombia, both on the Pacific side and the Atlantic
or the Gulf side, coming to the United States.
In any event, Mr.
Ambassador, I hope that you don't think this is any criticism of you because
I have great respect for you and all of you and what you're doing. But
at the same time we do have an obligation that we must look at how we're
going to distribute the money. You see the question is not -- whether
or not we're willing to give you the 500 million (dollars) but whether
some of it ought to be spent in Ecuador, some in Bolivia, some in other
South American nations to help them in real crisis situation.
MR. GROSSMAN: Well,
I appreciate what you say in terms of motivation because I think we all
have the same motivation. I would say and if -- I know Chairman Kolbe
would like to finish this, a longer conversation, but I tried in my statement
and I'd like to come talk to you about it some more. I think actually
we can demonstrate some real progress since July of 2000 in Plan Colombia.
Is it as much as we'd all like? No. But I think there is real progress
to be demonstrated and I'd like some day to comment and visit with you
The other point I'd
like to pick up is your point about human rights and trade. I think that's
exactly right. But one of the things, and perhaps Congressman Farr is
right, that we've not done nearly good enough a job, is making people
understand that your vote for Plan Colombia and all the support we give
for Plan Colombia is not just military. We do have a trade component.
There is a human rights component and in a way of the 11 things I listed
here today, in terms of things that I think we've got done, the majority
of those are on the democracy side. The majority of those are on the human
rights side and I think we've got some things to be proud of.
And on the trade
side I couldn't agree more with Congressman Bonilla, we really appreciate
the fact that the House has passed ATPA and we call on the Senate to do
REP. CALLAHAN: Well,
once again no reflection on the professionalism of any of you guys because
I think you're new on the job to an extent -- although you're not real
new on the job -- you're new on -- in this administration, is a new administration
and I want to help. But at the same time I want to give you constructive
advice. I don't want to just block it -- not that I could, but I could
certainly stand on the floor and suggest to my colleagues that maybe the
money is not spent wisely, but I hope we don't reach that position.
REP. KOLBE: Thank
you. Mr. Lewis has been waiting patiently for second round questioning.
REP. LEWIS: Mr. Chairman,
thank you for your courtesy very much.
Nine eleven, did
an awful lot here at home in terms of Americans resolve, a totally non
partisan response to the fact that we needed to be together fighting a
thing called terrorism of -- including going to Afghanistan and other
places and identifying leadership people especially within a thing called
Al-Qaeda, and either making efforts to capture or kill sizeable numbers
of people, almost beyond the former psyche of the American public's view
of the way we should operate in the world.
In Colombia when
you have a combination of pipeline $500 billion loss, the capital of the
world in terms of people who have been kidnapped, I'm not sure how many
kidnapped and killed, but nonetheless almost a 9/11 certainly for that
country's circumstance. I'd like to know what I don't know about Colombia's
policies, what they are doing to coordinate intelligence activities with
information activities, with military activities and otherwise, to identify
the leadership -- hard for me to separate narcotics, development, trade,
et cetera from terrorism. Hard for me anyway.
What are they doing
about identifying who the leaders are in the three organizations, but
mostly the FARC, and either capturing or killing in sizeable numbers?
If you send a serious enough message and then you combine that with saying
to the farmers, we're sorry, we're going to eliminate one way or another
this growth, even if we haven't been able to substitute crops, we're going
to eliminate this growth. I'm talking about some very hard lines here.
What is the thinking in Colombia about that kind of hard line?
MR. GROSSMAN: Let
me start and then maybe General Speer can help me as well.
I think 9/11, as
I tried to tell some of your other colleagues, had a big impact on Colombia
as well. And I believe, Congressman Lewis, that had there not been 9/11,
I doubt President Pastrana would have taken what I consider to be a courageous
decision, that he took on the 20th February and the peace process and
deal in his own way with the FARC. I think that's a product of his own
frustration but also a product of 9/11. Both General Speer and I have
talked a lot to the Colombians about the need for them to bring together
in an integrated way a real plan that has to do with their security, their
information activities, their intelligence activities, all of these things
to get on top of this program.
And when we were
there together we had dinner with President Pastrana in February and I
think that's something that he understands that they need to do and there's
work going on to do it. We also took the occasion, General Speer and I,
to make those same points to the three leading presidential candidates
Maybe I'll just let
Gary Speer talk for a moment about his perspective on this.
GEN. SPEER: Thank
One of the things
that probably hasn't hit the press that I can report to you, first of
all I think the Colombian military and the Colombian police leadership,
through their intelligence efforts, have pretty good visibility on who
the leaders are in each of the three organizations, and at least within
the FARC, a pretty good idea as to the general areas that they're located
Now, in terms of
that seems real simple, why don't you go out and do something about it
kind, which is the next question, I'm talking about general areas as opposed
to specifically where now the results since 20 February. There have been
several, and fortunately in this forum I'd by happy to provide you with
something for the record. Several FARC front leaders that have been either
killed or captured based on focusing on leadership of FARC fronts. What
the Colombian military did on 20 February is, the first thing, the Air
Force attacked known FARC infrastructure inside the Despeje, where there
were no civilian population centers.
The second thing
that they did is they moved in very deliberately to secure the five major
cities within the Despeje at an effort to minimize the chance of civilian
casualties. And now I think their focus is shifted toward trying to get
into leadership, because what the FARC has done in the meantime is avoid
contact with the Colombian military. They've broken into small groups
and kind of gone back into the jungle, and instead of focusing on the
Colombian military they're using explosive tactics, and that's just trying
to interdict the power pylons, telephone towers and things of that nature.
So I think there is some progress in that area.
REP. LEWIS: Well,
it certainly strikes me that we identified 2,000 people within Al-Qaeda
that we wanted captured or killed because of the international threat
of terrorism. Someone did that at Colombia and they aggressively -- you
get to about the top three levels and pretty soon things are going to
change without any question. So I would hope, Mr. Ambassador, and General,
you could come and maybe talk to me in circumstances where we can talk
off the record about that.
Mr. Chairman, I was
going to ask a question about building a balanced, talented, capable military
in Colombia, extending it over time, and ask for comments about FMF and
IMET, but I'm afraid the audience I was going to ask the question about
that for is missing from the room. So in the meantime, anything you want
to add for the record by way of my questions or otherwise I'd appreciate.
Did I make that point clear enough or was it too esoteric?
REP. KOLBE: I think
Mr. Callahan has
one more question.
REP. CALLAHAN: Two
questions. I think they've already been asked, I think Mr. Franco and
General Speer, with respect to the ARI and Ecuador. That's already been
asked, I think, and I'll read that for the record. And also your assessment
of the threat to Ecuador. That's already been asked and I'll read it for
But let me just forewarn
you and the chairman and the members of this subcommittee of something
else, and also to the Colombian officials that might be present here today.
What I ran into when I went to Ecuador -- I mean Colombia, and I talked
about this, $1.3 billion for Colombia. I got all of the heads of all of
the armies that were on our side. I got the Navy there, the Army there
and the police chief there and the president in one room, and we had a
sit down agreement, and this was what they needed, $1.3 billion, and there
was not going to be any independent lobbying to Congress from these branches
of government in Colombia only to find out two weeks later that the police
chief and the head of the Navy were up here in Washington lobbying for
funds for their own jurisdiction.
And President Pastrana
got to realize that -- got to emphasize to these people that he is the
president and he is the one that we are responding to if we respond, and
that we can't tolerate them going behind the president's back, individually
lobbying members of Congress to try to disrupt what the president of Colombia
is trying to do. So let me forewarn you to tell President Pastrana that
he ought to make certain that he reemphasizes. Tell him last time in the
last two weeks, tell him to reemphasize it a little stronger, and maybe
he'll keep the chairman from having a lot of problems when members who
are being lobbied by these people start saying this money ought to be
earmarked accordingly, so that's something this hearing is for.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. KOLBE: Thank
you, Mr. Callahan.
I realize we've gone
beyond the time we thought we would go and I have some questions I think
we'll probably put on the record but I'm just going to ask a couple here
One, Mr. Franco,
about the Gersony Report that I spoke of in my opening remarks about,
that deals with the eradication alternative developments, a pretty bleak
picture that it paints in the Putumayo region. I know this is classified
as confidential so I'm only referring to findings that have already been
reported in the press, specifically the LA Times and the New York Times.
But basically the
conclusion is that based on the last two years, security is really the
key and you're not going to have alternate development that's going to
work in an area where the AU or -- the AUC or the FARC are in control.
So my question to you is, what impact has the security situation or the
deteriorated -- or at least not improved security situation, has that
had on USAID's alternative development program in Colombia?
MR. FRANCO: Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
right that we did commission a report and it is classified, and I wanted
to say at the outset it's one of many sources that we use. It's not the
only source that we rely upon as we assess the situation in Putumayo and
elsewhere in Colombia. The situation there has deteriorated. Our program,
as I mentioned in my testimony, is only nine months old, and that's why
I, at the outset, wanted to make very clear that I think it's important
for all of us to understand that development is a very long-term commitment.
That doesn't mean that when we run into obstacles, as we have in Putumayo
because of the security situation that has deteriorated, that we don't,
respective of the long-term process involved, take stock on this and make
So what we have done,
and what we are ongoing process on this, is to look at alternatives that
address some of Mr. Farr's concerns that have to do with good governance
and rule of law in areas where we, (A) can work, in Putumayo and other
places in southern Colombia, turn to alternatives beyond the small farmer
focus of the initial program. Not abandoning that, though. We are working
with farmers currently in the region, irrespective of the security problems
to do voluntary eradication, and we've had some success in this regard.
But we are looking for infrastructure development and other alternatives
that are non agricultural in nature, and I will say securities are at
the top of the list, but there are other concerns, marketing concerns.
I brought a little
prop. It's a can of hearts of palm that's being produced in Putumayo currently
with our assistance, and marketed in Bogot. So there are things that we
can do and are doing and will continue to do.
REP. KOLBE: I got
a can of that last year when I was down there.
Mr. Franco, though,
just to follow that up, I think as I understand it you've kind of revised
your strategy so that the -- your alternative development strategy now
relies not on individual farmers but more on getting the entire community
But the question
still is with the security situation, how is that going to be any more
MR. FRANCO: Well,
the security situation is a problem, but we are able -- and I want to
make this very clear. We're not abandoning Putumayo, we're able to --
we are working in Putumayo and we intend to continue to work there. We
need to assess the degree in the types of projects in the areas in which
we work, and that is an ongoing process. But we're not abandoning Putumayo,
we just want to underscore that. As the securities situation, if it were
to worsen then we would take stock. But at the current time, we don't
think it's an impediment to carry out projects such as the hearts of palm
projects and other infrastructure that we have planned in Putumayo and
elsewhere in southern Colombia.
REP. KOLBE: Well,
I just hope that the security situation allows you to carry this out.
I sense that that's the big problem, the big question.
MR. FRANCO: It is
the big question. It's something that we look at repeatedly and my assessments,
conversations with the mission, with the embassy. Of course we coordinate.
We don't dictate from Washington. And people on the ground is that we
can carry out some of these infrastructural problems we -- projects. We're
looking to establish a cassarustici (ph) in Poytrasese and Putumayo, so
there are things we can do. We don't want to abandon the region. And it
is an issue, I don't want to minimize it. I just think it's important
to put it in the context of expectations of very rapid developments in
light of the security problems are going to be something that's going
to take some time for us to see the fruits of our investments.
REP. KOLBE: A final
question for Secretary Grossman. The 2003 budget request has -- from the
president's $480 million for anti- narcotics funding, $98 million of which
is for Colombian military assistance, the supplemental language -- the
language in the supplemental request specifically includes 2003 funds,
which is kind of interesting as it includes funds that haven't been appropriated.
But my question is
does this supplemental change the 2003 request in any way? Specifically,
is there going to be a change in the amount that is requested for counter
-- of the allocation of those funds for counter-narcotics, for alternative
development, for counter-terrorism, for Colombian national security purposes?
None of that has changed. I see Speer nod or his shaking his head. None
of that has been changed in the 2003 budget request by this supplemental.
Is that right?
MR. GROSSMAN: That's
REP. KOLBE: So you
have a supplemental that's over here but a development or a 2003 budget
request that was prepared before or earlier and that's not been altered
by the changed circumstances.
MR. GROSSMAN: Well,
to answer your question is that a supplemental in this case from our perspective
really was a supplemental. I mean, that $35 million was not money we were
able to get in to the budget the first time around. I mean, for example,
the $4 million on building police stations or the $6 million for the pipeline
to move forward, the $25 million for kidnapping, are not things that made
the cut the first time around inside the administration. It didn't make
it up to the Congress. So when there was an opportunity to have a supplemental,
all the people who were working on it --
REP. KOLBE: But my
point is, the language you've got in the proposed supplemental in Fiscal
Year 2002 and 2003 "funds shall be made available," and you've
just told me you're not making any change though to 2003.
MR. GROSSMAN: Not
in the levels, no. Not in the levels.
REP. KOLBE: Not in
levels. You just told me also not in the uses.
MR. GROSSMAN: Right.
REP. KOLBE: Or the
MR. GROSSMAN: Yes,
REP. KOLBE: So why
bother to have 2003 included in the supplemental? Why not just say in
Fiscal Year 2002 funds available?
MR. GROSSMAN: Yes.
REP. KOLBE: I think
I hear a chorus --
MR. GROSSMAN: I actually
can answer this question, and that is because, like the helicopters that
are on the ground now -- if there were helicopters, for example, in the
Cano Limon pipeline project, which there are, and if you all decide that
we can go ahead with that in FMF and if there is a terrorist threat, we'd
like to be able to use those helicopters as well.
REP. KOLBE: But that
is not going to change the allocation.
MR. GROSSMAN: No,
sir. No, sir.
REP. KOLBE: Okay.
I want to thank all
of our participants here for their statements and for their participation
We'll leave the record
open if there's any subsequent statements that need to be made in response
to questions, or other questions that will be submitted by the members
of the committee, we will do so.
But I thank you.
I think this has been very enlightening and I think it's the first step
in a very long process that we have of considering how we're going to
proceed and we thank you all very much.
will stand adjourned.