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Last Updated:4/18/03
Speech by Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Florida), April 3, 2003

(Mr. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART of Florida asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART of Florida. Mr. Chairman, there is perhaps no free people and democratic government in the world that faces a more serious threat from terrorism, and specifically narcoterrorism, than the government of Colombia.

The narcoterrorists in Colombia, because of the fact that they are engaged in the drug traffic, have hundreds of millions, indeed, billions of dollars at their disposal to purchase the most deadly weapons available from rogue states and terrorist groups from throughout the world to cause the most serious damage conceivable.

Those billions of dollars available to the narcoterrorists in Colombia have made it possible for them to engage in a sustained campaign of extraordinary violence, of kidnapping, of the most horrible conceivable crimes again the Colombian people. Day in and day out the Colombian people and their democratically elected government are fighting the narcoterrorists in an extraordinary way, a valiant way, an admirable way.

What we are doing in this Congress, with the support of the President of the United States, and, indeed, his orientation and his leadership, is we are saying to the Colombian people and their democratically elected government that we support them in their effort against narcoterrorists who have billions of dollars for death and destruction at their service, at their disposal.

These tens of millions of dollars that we are discussing today may be able to be categorized, as they were by the sponsor of this amendment, as a modest proposal. But the challenge before the Colombian people is not a modest challenge, the challenge posed by the tens of thousands of murderers who engage in thousands of kidnappings each year, including, and I have the latest travel warning from the United States State Department, 26 Americans who are reported as kidnapped in recent months in Colombia.

Those terrorists have, as I said before, billions of dollars at their disposal. Yes, we are, in the words of the sponsor of this amendment, dealing with a modest, a modest amount, tens of millions of dollars in aid, for a democratically elected government that is fighting against the most violent terrorists perhaps on the face of the Earth today, terrorists that attack not only military personnel but civilians, and engage in systematic violence against a people who live in a democracy.

So I urge my colleagues to reject, to vote down this ill-timed and ill-conceived amendment and to support our leadership, to support the President, to support the efforts against narcoterrorism that are embodied in our support for the democratically elected government of Colombia.

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)

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