by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), March 29, 2000
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
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: