by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), July 23, 2003
Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.
I appreciate the leadership of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr.
McGovern) and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) in bringing
this amendment before us this evening. I also respect the commitment
of the Speaker of this House to Colombia. Recently he talked of this
initiative as saving the lives of American children. But, frankly, I
get different information.
with what the gentleman from North Carolina talked about a little while
ago, where there are 4.7 million drug abusers in this country, where
cocaine production is steady in the region. It may be shifted around
a little bit, but in terms of the region itself the cocaine production
has been steady for years. And, in fact, cocaine access in the year
2002, the most recent I have available, those statistics suggest that
as far as our young people are concerned, cocaine access and use is
I am concerned
that the program in Colombia is not the most humane program, that not
enough money is being invested in alternative development, manual eradication
on the ground with aid to farmers. I am concerned that this package,
over time, has not been balanced; that when you take all of the money
into account, you are looking at approximately 80 percent that is going
to be in police and military aid.
if we were dealing with this in an ideal world, would in fact be to
transfer the money, as proposed under the amendment. That would result
in tens of thousands of people being saved from infectious diseases.
Not that we abandon Colombia, but that we are more focused in terms
of what we do invest; investing in sadly underfunded programs for domestic
treatment of drugs, increasing funding for the alternative development
to help these small farmers switch crops, insisting, as my friend from
Massachusetts has talked about, on the respect for human rights and
the rule of law, and providing greater political and financial support
for civilian democratic institutions.
of all, Mr. Chairman, if we are going to spend this money, for heaven
sakes spend less of it on K Street. Do not spend so much on consultants,
on contractors. I suspect that we can document that far more of this
money ultimately is being spent in this country than is being spent
on the ground in Colombia.
I think this amendment is a good first step. I welcome this debate this
evening on the floor of the House, and I hope it takes us in a more
As of August
6, 2003, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r108:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20030723)