by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Virginia), July 23, 2003
DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to any attempts
to cut funding for Andean Counterdrug Initiatives (ACI).
marked the third anniversary of Congressional approval of Plan Colombia.
We need to reaffirm, not dismantle, our commitment to this program,
to the people of Colombia, and to American citizens. I have led three
congressional delegations to Colombia over the past five months. I can
say firsthand that our significant investment is beginning to pay dividends.
Together with the strong commitment of the Uribe Administration and
historic levels of support from the Colombian people, U.S. involvement
in Colombia is beginning to hit narco-terrorists where it hurts.
seeing tremendous results in illegal crop eradication, and Plan Colombia's
efforts have produced record reductions in coca production and in the
destruction of drug labs. Each week brings news of new seizures of cocaine
and heroine--interdictions that are usually the result of U.S.-supplied
intelligence. In fact, just three weeks ago during my most recent CODEL,
Colombian officials seized over a ton of cocaine from a drug trafficking
boat off the Carribean coast.
government is reestablishing state presence in areas of the country
that for decades lacked it. Criminals who have remained at bay for years
are being captured and extradited to the United States for prosecution.
During the first 11 months of President Uribe's tenure, 68 individuals
have been extradited from Colombia to the United States.
Plan Colombia is working. I have seen firsthand the devastation that
drug production and trafficking has on Colombia. To those who question
our investment, I would ask them to visit, as I have, Colombian soldiers
who have lost their limbs or eyesight or sustained permanent disabilities
in their battle to return peace to their nation--and keep drugs off
also ask them to visit Barrio Nelson Mandela, a USAID-sponsored facility
for internally displaced people who have been forced from their homes
by drug traffickers and guerillas. This facility showed me how our work
on behalf of Colombia's millions of internally displaced people is offering
men, women, and children a second chance at a violence-free, productive
to Colombia have shown me just how critical U.S. assistance is to their
government. With such promising results over the last 3 years, we need
to sustain the momentum.
obstacles remain, and progress is slower than we would like it to be.
But now is not the time to turn our backs on this battle that is so
intrinsically tied to our war on terrorism and the scourge of illegal
Administration is committed to this war. But it needs United States
assistance to improve mobility, intelligence, and training. Make no
mistake: Colombia today is doing its share. Spending on security forces
has increased under President Uribe from $2.7 billion to over $4 billion.
cannot afford for President Uribe to fail to rid his country of the
narco-terror threat. Nor would Colombians understand such a step if
this amendment prevails.
requested $731,000,000 for the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) for
fiscal year 2004. Full funding of this request is critical to sustaining
our success in Colombia and to protecting Colombia's neighbors from
a spillover effect.
Mr. Chairman: Now is not the time to turn our backs on the progress
we are making against narco-terrorism in Colombia. We cannot win this
war on drugs and drug-supported terrorism without the proper tools and
resources. Vote ``no'' on the McGovern amendments.
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)