by Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Arizona), April 3, 2003
(Mr. KOLBE asked
and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman,
I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
I want to talk about
this amendment which does affect both the defense chapter of this supplemental
as well as the foreign assistance chapter. The supplemental bill before
the House today has the same level as the President's request for funding
for Colombia in the Foreign Assistance Chapter. It includes $37 million
foreign military financing and $34 million from the Andean Counterdrug
Initiative. The McGovern amendment would cut $27 million from the Andean
Counterdrug Initiative and $34 million from the funds in the Department
of Defense Chapter. It leaves in the foreign military financing assistance
and $7 million of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative.
Let me begin by
saying about my opposition to the amendment that the funding in supplemental
legislation for Colombia is subject to all of the restrictions and conditions
that exist under current law. These funds are not exempt from those conditions.
The funds are subject to human rights certifications. They are subject
to coca spraying conditions, conditions on the use of U.S. helicopters,
the rules of engagement, and there is more. In fact, let me emphasize
to my colleagues that there is no provision in the foreign assistance
legislation that is subject to more conditions than these funds, with
the possible exception of those funds provided for the West Bank and Gaza.
I apparently do
not need to remind the subcommittee that Colombia is South America's oldest
democracy, but it is a country that is torn by decades of civil strife.
It has endemic violence, corruption, deep socioeconomic inequities, weak
institutions, and a serious economic recession, all exacerbated by the
illicit drug production and trafficking. Drug profits play the motivating
factor in inciting the terrorism that is killing 3,500 Colombian citizens
every year. It is in the national interest of the United States to promote
better stability in Colombia by helping it address these longstanding
problems and confronting the socially corrosive drug industry.
But for the first
time since becoming chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations,
Export Financing and Related Programs, I have some good news to share
with my colleagues. Our eradication efforts with President Uribe's administration
and with his assistance are making a difference in Colombia.
The last half of
2002 and the first half of 2003 marks a turning point in the struggle
by the United States and Colombia against narcotrafficking and terrorism.
We have made significant progress; but as a result, the narcoterrorist
groups have become desperate.
and his senior administration officials, in office only since August of
2002, have demonstrated the will and the ability to fight narcotrafficking
and terrorism at their roots. Therefore, the terrorists are now targeting
him and other officials for assassination. Funding in this supplemental
will provide much-needed security upgrades for official facilities and
training for Colombian security personnel to reduce the threat of assassinations.
I would urge my
colleagues to recognize the situation in Colombia, to recognize that U.S.
national interest in a stable Colombia is important, to recognize that
we are making a difference. Reducing U.S. support at this time would send
the wrong message to the FARC and to the paramilitaries.
I urge my colleagues
to oppose the McGovern amendment.
As of April 18, 2003,
this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r108:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20030403)