by Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), July 10, 2003
Mr. President, I rise to introduce an amendment to the foreign assistance
authorization bill regarding Colombia.
is one of the oldest democracies in our hemisphere. It is under threat
by narcotics traffickers, leftwing guerrillas and rightwing paramilitaries.
We have been working with the government for several years to combat
the twin threats of narcotics and terrorism and to strengthen democracy.
Uribe and the Republic of Colombia have made great strides in implementing
Plan Colombia, eradicating the production of illegal drugs, providing
alternatives to coca and poppy cultivation for impoverished Colombians,
establishing law and order, and taking steps to protect human rights
and to administer justice.
area of coca cultivation in Colombia has declined markedly in the past
3 years, while drug seizures are up. The armed forces of Colombia are
better trained than four years ago. Colombia is also training and equipping
78,000 new police officers who will be stationed in hundreds of rural
towns where there is currently little or no police presence.
Forces are defeating the narcotics traffickers and terrorists in Colombia
by capturing to date a total of 3,553 guerillas and 1,336 members of
paramilitaries; destroying more than 1,000 coca laboratories; confiscating
billions of gallons of solid and liquid chemicals used for manufacturing
cocaine; and seizing more than 4,000 weapons from guerillas and traffickers.
has extradited 78 individuals to the United States to face trial for
narcotics and terrorist charges.
of Colombia has made progress in combating crime; during the first months
of 2003, homicides have declined 20 percent and kidnappings by 40 percent
when compared to the same period in 2002.
of Colombia is committed to increased defense spending from 3.5 percent
of GDP in 2002 to 5.8 percent by 2006, thereby enlarging the armed forces
by 126,000 troops.
of Colombia is taking steps to protect the human rights of the people
of Colombia by establishing the national early warning system to prevent
forced displacement and human rights violations; and by providing protection
for 2,731 human rights workers, labor leaders, journalists, and local
is establishing a judge advocate general center and Military Penal Justice
Corps with U.S. assistance. It is also creating human rights units under
the Colombian Attorney General's Office, the armed forces, and the national
of Colombia is taking steps to ensure the fair administration of justice
in Colombia by establishing 31 Casas de Justicia that have handled 1.6
million cases to date; by creating 19 oral trial courtrooms and training
3,400 judges to administer justice; and by training Colombian law enforcement
personnel judges, and prosecutors in anticorruption, money-laundering,
and antikidnapping measures.
States should continue its strong support of the efforts of President
Uribe, the government, and people of Colombia to stop narcotics trafficking,
end terrorism, strengthen democracy, and protect human rights.
As of July
15, 2003, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r108:@FIELD(FLD003+s)+@FIELD(DDATE+20030710)