This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), March 29, 2000
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin).

(Ms. BALDWIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Chairman, on October 24, 1999, more than 10 million Colombians took to the streets of every major city in Colombia to rally for peace. These 10 million Colombians wanted to send a message that they were sick of war. They were terrorized by the kidnappings. They were exhausted with paramilitary violence and disgusted with drug trade. No mas, they said. No more.

Peace is what Colombia needs. Peace will allow democracy to flourish. Peace will permit law enforcement officials to combat the flow of illicit drugs, and peace will create the conditions to address the income inequalities, the problems of displaced persons and economic development issues that will truly improve the lives of the Colombian people.

Unfortunately, the aid package we are considering today will not help the peace process. In fact, it fails to address the underlying issues that are needed to promote peace in Colombia.

I traveled to Colombia in 1993 to see the situation first hand. It was clear, then, that U.S. military aid and equipment that was intended to be used to stem the flow of illegal drugs was being misused, misused to suppress citizens in Colombia, including labor activists, community leaders, peace activists, human rights activists and collective farmers.

The United States is properly concerned about the abuse of illegal drugs by our citizens. Interdiction and source reductions should be a part of a comprehensive drug control policy. This proposal does not reflect such a policy. The proposal we have before us today will do little or nothing to address the fundamental problems in Colombia; namely, economic inequality, civil war, lack of economic development, and judicial impunity. Unfortunately, we seem to be playing a game of public relations when we should be pursuing peace in the region.

As of March 30, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-173:

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