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.

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Last Updated:6/19/02
Speech by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), June 6, 2002

Mr. DeWINE. I thank my colleague.

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 problem.

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.

Unfortunately, as 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 sense.

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

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