by Rep. Mark Souder (R-Indiana), March 15, 2000
IS NOT VIETNAM (House of Representatives - March 15, 2000)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under
a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Souder)
is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SOUDER. Mr. Speaker, we
are about to consider a supplemental appropriations bill here in Congress.
One of the things I keep hearing is, is the antinarcotics effort in Colombia
going to lead us into another Vietnam. The ridiculous thing is that it
shows what happens when we have a President without a clear foreign policy
and no clear definition of compelling national interests.
We are certainly embroiled
in another potential Vietnam. It is Kosovo. If one looks at the front
page of the Washington Post today, it says `Kosovo Attacks Stir U.S. Concern.
Official Says NATO May Have to Fight Ethnic Albanians.'
When we were on the ground
just before we voted the funds here in the House and Senate to support
this effort, visited the camps of the Kosovars in Macedonia and other
places, they said, no, we are not going to go back under the Serbs. Of
course we are going to fight to take over this. We are going to be independent.
There was not a single person who did not believe that they were going
to continue their internal civil war.
What defines a clear compelling
national interest is how it relates to the United States. In this bill,
we are putting money back into the military that the President stripped
out for Kosovo, but I do not hear complaints about that.
But in Colombia, we do have
a clear compelling national interest, and it is most certainly not like
Vietnam. In Vietnam, we were across the other side of the continent. Here,
Colombia is a 2-hour flight from Miami, Florida, and produces 80 percent
of the cocaine that comes into the United States, the drugs that are on
the streets of Fort Wayne of northeast Indiana and all over this country.
Colombia has 40 million people.
It is the second largest country in our hemisphere known historically
as the area of the Monroe Doctrine, the fifth largest economy, and the
oldest democracy in Latin America. This is not a propped up government
like we were dealing with at multiple times in Vietnam. This is a democratically-elected
government. In fact, the narco-guerillas do not have any popular support
unlike the Viet Cong, which we could argue about how much they had.
But here is the latest approval
ratings in Colombian polls: 73 percent for the Catholic Church, 71 percent
for the Colombian National Police, 69 percent for the Colombian military,
9 percent for the terrorist paramilitary, and only 4 percent for the FARC
and ELN. They know they do not even have the popular will in any village
in their country. They control rural areas by force, but they do not control
the major metro areas. The only way they can control the rural areas is
Furthermore, in addition to
the narcotics that are coming into this country being a compelling national
interest. Obviously, Panama used to be part of Colombia. Panama is now
vulnerable. It is right up against the areas, and the narco-terrorists
have moved into that, threatening trade routes.
It is our eighth largest producer
of oil in the United States. The government oil pipeline there has been
attacked 700 times in the last number of years. They are predicting that
they are going to be a net importer in 3 years if we can control the narco-terrorism.
Basically, they would not
have this drug problem if we and Europe were not consuming the cocaine.
This is not a domestic Colombian problem, this is a domestic Colombian
democracy problem caused by our consumption and consumption in Europe.
They have a national police
that is willing to fight. They have a military that is willing to fight.
We are not proposing to put American armies on the ground like we have
How in the world can this
be compared to Vietnam? Vietnam is over in Europe. But we do not hear
people yelling about that.
This is a clear compelling
national interest on energy prices, on narco-trafficking going into this
country, and our kids and families on the streets who are being destroyed
by this, and because of trade related to Panama, and because it is the
second oldest democracy in South America fighting for its life because
of our problems here. We have the obligation to at least assist them with
some additional fire power with which to fight the druggies who have been
using our dollars to buy weapons to fight the people there who are trying
to preserve their democracy.
Mr. Speaker, I include the
following fact sheet for the Record, as follows:
Fact Sheet: The Growing Emergency
The Crisis: Narco-guerillas, funded by the illicit drug trade, now threaten
the oldest democracy in Latin America. The Colombian government has the
political will, but not the resources to combat this threat. Failing to
provide U.S. `Supplemental' aid now will further weaken Colombia's democratic
institutions, jeopardize its fragile economy and undermine its ability
to negotiate a peace.
THE WORLD'S DRUG SUPPLY LINE
Colombian cocaine production has skyrocketed from 230 metric tons in 1995
to 520 metric tons in 1999 and now accounts for 80% of the world's cocaine
supply and 90% of the U.S. cocaine supply.
Colombia has replaced Southeast
Asia as the number one supplier of U.S. heroin (producing approximately
70% of the heroin seized in the U.S.).
earn an estimated $600 million from the illegal drug trade each year.
The 17,000 member FARC and 6,000 member ELN insurgency groups were declared
terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department in 1997 and now control
40% of the Colombian countryside.
INCREASED HUMAN SUFFERING
Since 1990, 35,000 Colombians have been killed by the guerilla insurgency
including a presidential candidate, Supreme Court justices and 5,000 policy.
At 27,000 homicides per year,
Colombia's murder rate is the world's highest (10 times that of the U.S.).
Fifteen American citizens are known to have died in Colombia as a result
of the drug war and the internal conflict.
35% of all terrorist acts
in the world are committed in Colombia (2,663 kidnappings last year alone).
In fact, the longest held U.S. hostages are three missionaries from Florida,
held by the FARC in Colombia since 1993.
Since 1990, the violence from
the insurgency has displaced 1.7 million Colombians from their homes (more
than in Bosnia, Kosovo or East Timor).
Colombia is facing its worst economic recession in 70 years with 21% unemployment,
a black market economy that undermines its tax base, and a lack of consumer
and investor confidence.
Oil companies in Colombia
are facing overwhelming security threats. One government-owned oil pipeline
has been attacked 700 times by narco-guerillas (79 times in 1999 alone).
These attacks have caused $100 millions in economic losses, and more than
1.7 million gallons of oil have been spilled.
Fact Sheet: Why Colombia Matters to the U.S.
DRUGS ARE KILLING AMERICAN
The U.S. Drug Czar says that illegal drugs account for 52,000 American
deaths every year (compared to 58,000 during the entire Vietnam War).
One in every two American
school kids will try illegal drugs before they graduate from the 12th
The cost of illegal drugs
to U.S. society is a staggering $110 billion a year.
U.S. prison population for
drug-related crimes is approaching 2 million and 80% of all U.S. inmates
are drug abusers.
A SIGNIFICANT TRADING PARTNER
Colombia is the 5th largest economy in Latin America and the 5th largest
U.S. trading partner in the region.
Two-way trade with Colombia
totals nearly $11 billion per year and accounts for 80% of the cut flowers
and 21% of all coffee imports to the U.S.
20% of daily U.S. oil imports
come from Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela (which has surpassed Saudi
Arabia as the #1 supplier of crude oil to the U.S.). Colombia produces
820,000 barrels of oil daily and provides 330,000 barrels of crude oil
per day to U.S. refineries in Texas and Louisiana.
Colombia is the 8th largest
supplier of foreign crude oil to the U.S. reducing the U.S. dependence
on oil from the OPEC nations of the Middle East.
Narco-guerilla incursions into neighboring countries (e.g., Venezuela,
Ecuador, Panama and Peru) now threaten the stability of the entire region.
The strategically important
Panama Canal is only 150 miles north of the Colombian border and is vulnerable
to guerilla attacks since the pull-out of all U.S. military troops in
accordance with the 1977 U.S./Panama Canal Treaty.
800,000 Colombians have fled
their country in the last 4 years--seeking entry into the U.S. at an alarming
rate (366,423 visa requests last year compared with only 150,514 in 1997).
Colombian political asylum
requests have more than quadrupled (396 requests in the last quarter of
1999 compared with 334 in the previous 12 months).
Fact Sheet: the Administration's Colombia Aid Proposal
$954 million in FY-00 . . . The `Supplemental' Request.
$150 million already passed
in FY-00 Appropriations last fall.
$150 million in regular FY-01
$318 million `plus-up' to
FY-01 budget request ($1.6 billion total over two years).
In millions of dollars
[IN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS]
1. PUSH INTO SOUTHERN COLOMBIA
2. INTERDICTION (AIR, WATER,
3. COLOMBIAN NATIONAL POLICE
4. ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
5. BOOST GOVERNING CAPABILITY
6. ECONOMIC (& PEACE PROCESS)
The proposal includes 85%
for Colombia, 6% for other countries and 9% for U.S. agencies.
30 new Blackhawks and 15 (State Dept) UN-1N Huey helicopters (in addition
to 18 now in country) for Colombian troop air transport ($439M in FY-00/$13M
Two more Colombia counterdrug
battalions ($30M in FY-00/$12M in FY-01).
Enhanced Colombian Army bases
and air facilities ($18M in FY-00/$23M in FY-01).
Upgrade OV-10 interceptors,
FLIR for AC-47 aircraft ($16M in FY-00/$5M in FY-01).
Relocate Ground Based Radars/build
command center ($25M in FY-00/$12M in FY-01).
Upgrade airplanes, helos &
bases for CNP eradication ($68M in FY-00/$28M in FY-01).
PROPOSED REGIONAL FUNDING
Peru Interdiction ($10M in FY-00/$12M in FY-01) eco. development, ($15M
Bolivia Interdiction ($2M
in FY-00/$4M in FY-01) eco. development, ($12M in FY-00).
Ecuador Interdiction ($2M
in FY-00/$4M in FY-01) eco. development, ($3M in FY-00) in addition, Manta
FOL ($38.2M in FY-01) included under DOD funding.
PROPOSED FUNDING FOR U.S. AGENCIES
State Department ($61M in FY-00/$61M in FY-01) for support of Colombian
military air mobility and police eradication operations.
Defense Department ($106M
in FY-00/$41M in FY-01) for Manta FOL and training of Colombian counterdrug
Treasury Department ($2M in
FY-00/$2M in FY-01) for `Kingpin Act' (Foreign Assistance Control).
US Customs ($68M in FY-00)
for upgrade of four P-3 AEW aircraft.
DEA ($7M in FY-00/$3M in FY-01)
for support of in country operations.
21% for Human Rights/Rule
of Law/Economic Development and 79% for Interdiction & Eradication.
Fact Sheet: What about Human Rights Abuses in Colombia?
MORE AID FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
RULE OF LAW, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Administration's proposal has allotted 21% for combined Human Rights
training and monitoring, the Rule of law including judicial reform, and
Economic Development--(compared to only 10% last year).
Plan Colombia addresses systemic
changes to get the cause of many human rights violations, including: the
illicit drug trade, the peace process, the lack of government institutions
in rural Colombia and a weak judicial system.
THE LEAHY LAW (VETTED UNITS)
The Leahy Amendment requires that all foreign units receiving U.S. economic
assistance must be `vetted' for past or current human rights violations.
Leahy still applies--no U.S.
aid will be provided to any Colombian military unit where there is `'credible
evidence' of serious human rights violations.
Supplemental funding supports
Colombian military human rights training and ombudsmen, as well as security
protection for human rights monitors. Personnel vetting includes the use
of lie detector tests and NGO monitoring.
COMMITMENT AND IMPROVEMENTS BY THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT
President Pastrana and his government are committed to reducing human
rights violations whether conducted by the paramilitaries, narco-querillas,
or Colombia security forces. He fired four military generals with ties
to the paramilitaries and involvement in human rights violations.
Defense Minister Tapias has
taken dramatic steps to deal with the human rights allegations. The Colombian
military is undergoing a transformation into a more professional organization.
The annual human rights report has documented a steady decline in human
rights violations by the Colombian military.
President Pastrana has publicly
acknowledged the importance of deploying properly vetted units as a condition
of U.S. aid.
BLANCED AID TO THE MILITARY AND THE COLOMBIAN NATIONAL POLICE
The current Administration's proposal is heavily weighed toward assistance
to the Colombian military. However, it does include $96 million for the
CNP (the 1999 drug supplemental was heavily weighted toward the CNP).
As of March 16, 2000, this
document is also available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H15MR0-451: