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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Sam Farr (D-California), March 29, 2000
[Page: H1542]

[TIME: 1830]

Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. Farr).

Mr. FARR of California. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I rise in support of this amendment. I want to speak about Colombia in a way that has not been spoken tonight on this floor and it has been a long day but I am the only Member to rise who has lived in Colombia. I lived there for 2 years. I represented this country as a member of the Peace Corps. Colombia is a beautiful country. It is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. It is now plagued; it is torn apart.

The root causes of its problems right now are drugs and corruption from those drugs. Colombia has over $5 billion inside Colombia that is corrupt money. Think what that would do in your own State if that money was used for corruption. There is an obscene amount of money. This war on drugs, this displacement of people, as the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Sawyer) says, it has displaced a million and a half people, a million and a half people that do not have homes, do not have schools for their kids, do not have health care centers. These people become a problem in themselves because they have to resort to petty crime. So the only way we can begin solving the problem which is drugs in our country is to deal with the root causes of drugs in Colombia. That has got to be in this bill.

A lot of people have talked about the problems of this bill, what it has, what it does not have. But, Mr. Chairman, there is a point when we have to stop our partisan bickering and say are we going to let a country continue to burn, a country continue to not have a solution to a problem or are we going to stand up and face the responsibility that we have been asked, not the only country to be asked, one of the countries to be asked to help with a plan that Colombians have derived. That plan is complete. But the one lacking part in it, the one lacking part in money is earmarking that money for the people who have been displaced.

I hope this amendment is accepted, because this amendment does not spend any more money, it just takes $50 million and says you have got to deal with the homeless population, you have got to deal with the displaced people. If you do not deal with them, we cannot do all these other things. You cannot just attack this problem by dealing with the eradication of drugs. You have got to attack it in a comprehensive way. I think the bill speaks to a lot of points. This amendment makes it a better bill. I ask that it be supported.

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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