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Last Updated:6/19/02
Speech by Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Alabama), May 23, 2002

Mr. CALLAHAN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I do not profess to be an expert on Colombia or any other country. In fact, I do not profess to be an expert on anything, but I have been involved in some of these issues because I chaired the committee that my good friend from Arizona now does so well in chairing, and I was intimately involved when we first created Plan Colombia.

Let me just give my colleagues some insight into what really happened. All of the G-8 nations got together, and they recognized collectively that there was a tremendous problem in Colombia because they were the basis for the supply of narcotics all over the world. The Europeans recognized it. The Japanese recognized it. Everyone recognized the problem. So they had a donor conference and they agreed collectively to come up with $7 billion to fight this problem. So we went to President Pastrana and we said, Mr. President, we are going to participate too. Our participation is going to be $2 billion. And the rest of the nations, according to the Clinton administration, at the time said that they were not going to contribute anything until we did. So we ponied up. We came up with our $2 billion, and we sent our $2 billion mostly in the form of black hawk helicopters. But we sent our $2 billion and we told President Pastrana, here we are. This is the first step towards eliminating the problem in your country and thus helping the United States of America.

What happened then? Well, unfortunately, most of the other nations forgot their obligation. They have not still to this date come up with their contributions. Here is the first 2 billion. There is another 5 billion coming, so you eliminate this problem, only to find that the rest of the world has not contributed what they promised in the donor conference, including most of the nations in Europe who are now complaining about the cocaine that is flowing into Europe originating in Colombia.

So while there has been some fault with all of this program, we cannot blame it all on the Colombian government, we certainly cannot blame it on our government. We cannot blame it on this Congress because we did what we promised at the donor conference.

So what our administration ought to be doing, and I have emphasized this to the Secretary and to the Treasury Department and the Treasury Secretary, that they ought to be going to these countries who made these commitments and tell them to do what they promised they would do; but unfortunately in other circumstances where they all meet in these grand palaces all over the world and they agree that we are going to solve the problems, none of them will do anything such as in Bosnia until we put up our money first. We in good faith put up our money and the rest of the world has not, and they ought to be ashamed.

Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Chairman, I cannot agree more with the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Callahan). He is correct. The European Union has failed to meet its commitment. Let me also suggest that the Colombian Government in terms of professionalizing and providing the resources necessary for its own military has failed its people. During the course of World War II the American people paid 40 percent of the GDP to the war effort. In Colombia today it is less than 2 percent of the Colombian GDP that is devoted to the military. And I suggest that this is an absolute appropriate rationale for us not to appropriate additional funds until the Colombian and the Europeans stand up to the plate.

I thank the gentleman for yielding.

[Time: 19:00]
Mr. CALLAHAN. Mr. Chairman, at the same time, we do not want to leave the President of Colombia out on a limb. He has come back to us. He has told us what the problem is and we are having to fill in a void, but the void has been caused by the failure of the other nations and especially the European nations to fulfill their promise.

As of June 19, 2002, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20020523)

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