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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Sam Farr (R-California), March 29, 2000
Mr. FARR of California. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

I want to rise in support of this amendment, also as a cosponsor of the amendment. I would like to take issue with my colleague who just pointed out that this will not make this a better bill.

Obviously, this amendment makes this a much better bill. In reading the amendment the beginning says, `None of the funds appropriated in this title for military assistance may be made available to the government of Colombia until the President submits to Congress a certification that Colombia has done the following things: that Colombia has agreed to implementing a strategy to eliminate Colombia's total coca and opium poppy production by the year 2005 through a mix of alternative development programs, by manual eradication,' and so on.

It goes on to say, `The head of the Colombian Armed Forces has been granted and is exercising authority that is identical to that held by the head of the Colombian National Police to summarily dismiss Colombian Armed Forces personnel for gross violations of human rights.'

It goes on to say, `The Colombian Armed Forces are assuring that they are cooperating with civilian authorities in investigating Colombian Armed Forces personnel who have credible evidence of gross human rights violations,' and so on.

This bill says we can have a waiver only by the United States President. Guess what? It is the same waiver that this Congress approved when Senator Leahy added it in the 105th and 106th Congresses. It is the same waiver that is in the law now, is the waiver that is being repeated here.

Is it a stronger bill with this amendment? Absolutely. I would urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this amendment. It makes it a better bill for us to make sure that if, indeed, we are going to be involved in conflict in Colombia dealing with civilian populations, that we are going to abide by the world standards on human rights protection, and it allows for monitoring those protections so that we in Congress can be certified that it is doing a good job.

I ask for support of the amendment.

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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