by Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Florida), May 23, 2002
Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.
I am a bit perplexed
when I hear the argument that there is no democracy in this Chamber, and
hour after hour after hour after hour, we have been hearing debate on
multiple issues, and the argument has also brought out that on this issue
we are debating at this instance, at this instance, which is the aid that
the United States is providing to our democratic ally, the democratically-elected
government of Colombia, I am hearing that we cannot debate that as well.
makes no sense. We are debating it right now, and we in the Committee
on Rules permitted, authorized this debate and it is taking place. So
that is one thing that struck me that I was not able to understand how
the argument can be made that we are not debating when we are debating.
We are debating. We have been debating hour after hour after hour after
hour, and now we are debating on the issue, the very important issue of
United States assistance to the democratically-elected government of Colombia.
The point was made
previously that we do not know who the good guys are and the bad guys
are in Colombia. The reality of the matter, that is not an issue to be
decided by the United States. There is a democratically-elected government
in Colombia that is a friend and an ally of the United States, and it
is the democratically-elected government in Colombia that is under attack
by 3 major, extremely well-financed terrorist groups that engage in narco-trafficking.
that we are debating today is a counterterrorism supplemental, and I think
it is appropriate for us to consider not only to debate but in this case
to help the democratically-elected government of Colombia in counterterrorism
efforts. That is the subject matter that we are dealing with in this supplemental.
Another point was
brought out previously incorrectly as though this legislation would raise
the cap on the number of American trainers that are in Colombia. There
is a number of approximately 500 now, and that is not being affected by
the legislation. The legislation, that I am informed by my friends on
the Committee on Appropriations is the product of a bipartisan compromise,
was voted out with votes on both sides of the aisle, and leaders from
the Democratic party, with whom we have very serious differences on many
issues, agreed in the Committee on Appropriations to this compromise.
So I think that
it is very important, especially when we are 3 days away from a presidential
election in that country, that friend and ally Colombia, when all of the
major candidates for president agree that assistance from us, from the
United States, is required for Colombia to achieve peace, that we at this
point continue with the bipartisan compromise that came out of the Committee
on Appropriations and that we say in a consensus fashion this evening,
again in a bipartisan way, that we realize what is going on in Colombia,
that the majority of terrorist attacks in the world are against the people
of Colombia. They may not be covered by the media, but the reality of
the matter is there is not a day that passes that tragedy does not strike
the people of Colombia from the terrorist groups that we are helping the
democratically-elected government of Colombia combat, and that we are
helping in this supplemental by increasing our assistance to the democratically-elected
government of Colombia.
Those 3 terrorist
groups have a stranglehold on our democratic ally in Colombia and that
ally deserves and has received and must continue to receive our aid because
those terrorist groups that are narco-terrorists are massacring, they
are killing each day, attacking the fabric of society each day.
So that is why I
think that the bipartisan compromise that was worked out is to be commended.
I hope that this House this evening supports what the Committee on Appropriations
passed and overwhelmingly defeats the McGovern amendment which would in
effect tell the Colombian people, just a few days before their election,
that we do not care about them and we do not respect their democracy.
Vote down McGovern.
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)