by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), June 6, 2002
Mr. DeWINE. I thank
Mr. President, I
congratulate my colleague from the State of Florida for his leadership
on this amendment. Once again, he is correct. Once again, he is a leader
on issues having to do with this hemisphere, having to do with the drug
We have a lot at
stake in Colombia. Colombia is our neighbor. We do a lot of trade with
Colombia. This is, I believe, the second oldest democracy in this hemisphere.
It is a country that obviously borders the Panama Canal. It is a democracy,
though, that is in peril. It is a democracy that has at least three very
tough groups gnawing at it, trying to overthrow the Government, trying
to grab pieces of the land of Colombia. These are three very tough, tough
groups: the FARC, the ELN, and the paramilitary.
So a lot is at stake
in Colombia. Colombia is important to us because this is one of the countries
that is a major supplier of drugs into the United States. So what happens
down there is important.
We have seen something
develop in Colombia in the last few years that I do not know we have seen
anywhere in the world; that is this very close relationship, over now
an extended period of time, between the drug dealers and the terrorists.
They are working literally hand in glove in a synergistic relationship.
we try to help our friends in Colombia, we have created an artificial
barrier in our law. That barrier creates a distinction between the use
of our money to help to deal with terrorist problems or our use of the
money to deal with narcotics problems. It says, in effect, we can use
it for one but we cannot use it for the other. That makes absolutely no
It is time we take
that artificial barrier down because really the problem is one and the
same. And they are the same people. It is time we recognize that and that
we stop handcuffing the use of our aid, handcuffing the Government of
Colombia as it literally fights for its survival.
So I congratulate
my colleague on this amendment. It is time, frankly, that we face up to
the reality of what is really going on in Colombia and help this ally
of the United States to try to preserve democracy.
As of June 19, 2002,
this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r107:FLD001:S55163