This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

Home
|
Analyses
|
Aid
|
|
|
News
|
|
|
|
Last Updated:6/19/02
Speech by Rep. Tom Osborne (R-Nebraska), May 23, 2002

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

Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose the amendment. The reason I do this is that I, along with other members of the Committee on Agriculture, spent time in Colombia in January. We spent quite a bit of time with President Pastrana. We spent quite a bit of time with their ambassador. I do not believe that a lot of people in the United States really fully realize the situation there.

At the present time, the guerrillas and the paramilitary forces control most of the firepower and control most of the money in the country. And so we are concerned about the fact that the government in Colombia is not providing enough aid to the military. The reason is that most of the money is in the hands of the guerrillas.

At the present time there are 600,000 acres of coca plants in Colombia. Out of that 600,000 acres of coca plants, 90 percent of the cocaine coming into the United States comes from those fields. The only way presently that anyone down there knows to control the problem is to bring in gunships, helicopters, which hover over those fields and protect the spray planes that then come in and spray the coca. Without those gunships and without that military aid, they have no chance, because they do not have enough military help and they do not have enough financing to battle this issue.

I certainly agree with one of the previous speakers when that person said that we need to dry up the demand. That is the number one thing that we have to do in this country. Drugs are ruining our young people and we have to fight drugs on every front. Interdiction is part of this.

And so I think that we are missing the point here if we say we just do not want to help Colombia, because they have a significant problem and we are talking about fighting terrorism around the world and the people who are controlling the situation in Colombia right now are terrorists. There is no question. We talked to President Pastrana. He spent one week in the control of those terrorists and escaped miraculously through many fortunate events. Of course, since then they have had other politicians that have been captured by those terrorists and have been killed. So we went to Cartagena, which was the one city we could find in Colombia that was reasonably safe, that was reasonably under friendly control down there. So many other cities were not even safe to attempt to control at that time.

That is why I oppose this amendment.

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)

Google
Search WWW Search ciponline.org

Asia
|
Colombia
|
|
Financial Flows
|
National Security
|

Center for International Policy
1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 232-3317 / fax (202) 232-3440
cip@ciponline.org