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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-New York), March 29, 2000
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Gilman-Goss-Delahunt-Farr amendment which is the result of true bipartisan cooperation. I want to thank the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss), the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt), and the gentleman from California (Mr. Farr) for their patience, cooperation, and willingness to work on this issue.

We have a responsibility, Mr. Chairman, to stop the drugs that are poisoning our communities. We also must do our part to see that human rights are protected in Colombia. This emergency supplemental appropriations bill and this amendment gives us the tools to do what is right by our Nation and by Colombia, our troubled Andean neighbor.

This amendment establishes common sense benchmarks that would make delivery of military assistance to the Colombian Army contingent upon the President certifying the following: An agreement by the government of Colombia to a strategy to completely eliminate illicit drug cultivation by the year 2005. Certifying that the commander of Colombia's Armed Forces having the same authority as the director general of Colombia's national police to dismiss persons for gross violations of human rights. Further certifying that Colombia's Armed Forces cooperating with civilian authorities in the investigation and prosecution in civilian courts of gross human rights abuses by Armed Forces personnel. And also certifying Colombia's Armed Forces developing and deploying a judge advocate general corps.

This amendment would make funds available to support the creation in the Colombian Armed Forces of a judge advocate general corps. It would also make funds available to enhance the American embassy's capabilities to monitor U.S. assistance to Colombia's military as well as to look into crimes committed against American citizens and property by narcoterrorist guerillas and paramilitary groups.

Horrific acts of violence are visited on Colombians by insurgent and paramilitary groups. Just this past Saturday, Mr. Chairman, 26 Colombian policemen and eight civilians were brutally slain. Some were beheaded by the FARC. This amendment would deny U.S. visas to persons supporting illegal activities by insurgent and paramilitary groups. Our amendment includes appropriate waiver authorities to preserve the President's ability to protect American national interests. I join the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt) in urging the managers to ensure that the President would provide written justification to the Congress if the waiver authority is invoked.

Our amendment advances core American values in our fight against drug traffickers by establishing meaningful conditions to safeguard human rights. Accordingly, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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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