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
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)