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Last Updated:1/4/02
Excerpts from transcript, Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Overview of Foreign Policy Issues and Budget," March 8, 2001



In addition to what I have already highlighted with respect to the money for the Andean region, you know that much of that money is directed at Plan Colombia.

We are asking for money to continue and expand programs begun with the 1.3 billion dollar emergency supplemental in FY 2000.

Colombia is the source or transit point of 90 percent of the cocaine and over 50 percent of the heroin that arrives in America. Those percentages are increasing, by the way.

Neighboring countries, such as Bolivia and Peru, have conducted effective coca eradication programs, but maintaining their successes will require vigilance and U.S. support.

The Bush administration believes strongly that any successful counterdrug strategy in the region must include funding to bring greater economic and political stability to the region and a peaceful resolution to Colombia's internal conflict.

We must capitalize on the ground work of programs funded thus far, including the expansion of Andean eradication and interdiction programs, sustained alternative development programs, and continued attention to justice and government reform initiatives.

In addition, the President's budget requests funding for Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, and Panama, to strengthen their efforts to control drug production and the drug trade. Our efforts must be regional in scope and this money keeps them so.

Senator Hagel. Thank you. Let me ask a broader question with my last few seconds about the South American situation in a specific area, the Andean countries. A number of my colleagues and I have just recently visited Colombia and Ecuador. These are complicated problems, issues, dynamics. Regarding Plan Colombia, I support Plan Colombia. Could you reflect on that a bit as to where you are, the position of the President on that part of the world, what we can look for from you in further support, and further action regarding South America?

Secretary Powell. We of course support Plan Colombia, and I think there has been some degree of success in the destruction of some of the crops in the Putumayo Valley, so we will continue to support Plan Colombia.

But we feel just as strongly that you cannot deal with a problem in one place without it spreading to other parts of the region, so in subsequent years we will be talking about an Andean strategy, and there is money in the budget for that Andean strategy.

We will be talking about how the Free Trade Association of The Americas plays into this, how Andean trade preference extension plays into all of this, so we will try to come up with a comprehensive strategy that deals with the whole region, and not just singularly focusing on Plan Colombia.

Senator Hagel. Thank you.

Senator Thomas. A total of 40,000. What was the dollars in Colombia? There were some commitments last year to billions of dollars. Where are we on that?

Secretary Powell. A total of $1.3 billion was the U.S. contribution to Plan Colombia, a roughly $7 billion program, the rest of the money being made up by European contributors, as well as Colombia's own contribution of a little--close to $3 billion to the effort. Ours was principally for the helicopters, and the training for the helicopters.

Senator Thomas. So there was a $7 billion effort?

Secretary Powell. The overall program was intended to be 7 or 7\1/2\, as I recall.

Senator Thomas. Have the participants contributed all that money?

Secretary Powell. No. There has been a shortfall, so far, with the European contribution, and the Colombians are still striving to make the contribution they promised to the program.

Additional Questions Submitted for the Record




Question. How will the Bush Administration assist all of our allies in the Andean region--not just Colombia--to prevent a return of illegal drug cultivation and to bolster their weak democratic governments?

Answer. We are developing a coordinated assistance plan for the entire region, including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, to prevent traffickers from simply shifting operations in reaction to Plan Colombia and to help these countries deal with varied threats. This initiative recognizes that the problems confronting the Andean region--threats to democracy, weak economies and narcotics trafficking--are linked and must be addressed in a coordinated manner. Sluggish economies produce political unrest that threatens democracy and provides ready manpower for traffickers and illegal armed groups. Weak institutions, corruption and political instability discourage investment, contribute to slow growth and provide fertile ground for traffickers and outlaw groups. The drug trade has a corrupting influence that undermines democratic institutions, fuels illegal armed groups, and distorts the economy, discouraging legitimate investment. None of the region's problems can be addressed in isolation. All need to be addressed comprehensively, and be accompanied by appropriate public diplomacy initiatives, to advance our goals in the region.


Question 1. What are your views on President Pastrana's current strategy of engaging Colombia's narco-terrorists by granting them large tracts of land in exchange for peace? Should the United States support an unpopular, unsustainable policy that grants safe-havens to the narco- terrorists, allowing them to expand their drug production and other illicit activities with virtual impunity?

Answer. We have fully supported President Pastrana's efforts to negotiate a solution to the Colombian conflict. We share President Pastrana's assessment that Colombia's problems cannot be effectively resolved while illegal armed combatants continue to wreak havoc upon Colombians and that Colombia's civil strife cannot be won by military means.

With respect to the advisability of the FARC demilitarized zone (``despeje'') or of the proposed ELN demilitarized zone (``encounter zone''), we have deferred to the Colombian Government on the utility of these specific mechanisms to advance peace discussions. Fundamentally, the management of the Colombian peace process is something to be negotiated between the Government of Colombia and the illegal armed groups.

Nevertheless, we will not support any Colombian peace agreement that would impede our ability to conduct counternarcotics operations in Colombia. We have told the Government of Colombia that our support for the Colombian peace process is contingent on whether it satisfactorily addresses our counternarcotics concerns. To date, the existence of the FARC ``despeje'' has not interfered with our counternarcotics efforts in Colombia, including our support of the ambitious Plan Colombia strategy in southern Colombia.

Question 2. As you know, the mycoherbicide technology is a promising new tool designed to reduce the cultivation and supply of illicit narcotic crops. Do you support the immediate testing, and possible deployment, of the mycoherbicide technology in Colombia?

Answer. The United States government has supported research towards controlling the cultivation of illicit narcotic crops for many years. Using funds appropriated by Congress in 1990, USDA developed a proof of concept on the use of biological control agents to control illicit crops, particularly coca. The Department, after consulting with USDA, concluded that this would require conducting limited field tests in the ``target'', i.e. foreign, environment where the illicit drug crops are actually grown. The Colombian Government and the U.N. International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) are discussing potential cooperation to conduct these field tests, which are essential to developing definitive data on the safety and efficacy of these mycoherbicides in their intended environment. Testing in Colombia will proceed only with the full cooperation and approval of the Colombian Government. This approval has not yet been granted, pending the completion of an acceptable research protocol.

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