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.

Home
|
Analyses
|
Aid
|
|
|
News
|
|
|
|
Last Updated:4/14/00
Speeches by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), April 13, 2000
ASSISTING COLOMBIA IN FIGHTING DRUG TRAFFICKING (Senate - April 13, 2000)

[Page: S2655]
Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I anticipate the arrival of several other colleagues who may wish to speak on the same subject matter.

Yesterday, members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and other interested Members of this body, had the opportunity to meet with the President of Colombia, His Excellency Andres Pastrana, during his visit to Washington. It was an extremely informative meeting. It was also apparent to all of us there that President Pastrana was terribly disappointed that the Senate of the United States had not approved, or even scheduled, early consideration of President Clinton's emergency supplemental request for Colombia to fight the narcotrafficking problem in that nation, which contributes significantly to the deaths and hardships in our own nation.

It is no hidden fact that some 50,000 people die in this country every year from drug-related incidents. Ninety percent of the cocaine and a significant amount of the heroin that is consumed in this country comes from Colombia.

Colombia has been devastated over the years by narcotraffickers. They are committed to trying to win this conflict. The European Community stands ready to help. They have asked the United States--the largest consuming nation of the products grown in their country--to be a part of this effort.

The leadership in this body has seen fit to delay this action until the normal appropriations process. I am disappointed by that, Mr. President. This is no small issue. It is a scourge in our streets. Clearly, we need to do as much as we can here at home, but this battle needs to be waged on all fronts, including in the production and transportation of nations such as Colombia.

Colombia's civil society has been ripped apart for decades by the violence and corruption that has swirled around their illicit international drug production and trafficking industry. High-profile assassinations of prominent Colombian officials who were trying to put an end to Colombia's drug cartels began nearly 20 years ago with the 1984 murder of Colombia's Minister of Justice, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla.

In 1985, narcoterrorists stormed the Palace of Justice in Bogota and murdered 11 Supreme Court Justices in that nation who had supported the extradition of drug kingpins and traffickers to the United States. In 1986, another Supreme Court Justice was murdered by drug traffickers, as were a well-known police captain and prominent Colombian journalist who had spoken out against these cartels. These narcoterrorists then commenced a bombing campaign throughout the year, in shopping malls, hotels, and neighborhood parks, killing scores of innocent people and terrorizing the general population.

Before drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was captured and killed by the police in 1993, he had been directly responsible for the murder of more than 4,000 Colombians. In 1994, it became clear that drug money had penetrated the highest levels of Colombian society and called into question the legitimacy of the Presidential elections of Ernesto Samper. Even today, fear of kidnapping and targeted killings by members of Colombia's drug organizations has Colombia's citizens living in fear for their very lives.

At this juncture, I ask unanimous consent that a column written by Thomas Friedman, which appeared last week in the New York Times, be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:


From the New York Times, Apr. 11, 2000

[FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, APR. 11, 2000]

Saving Colombia

(BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN)
Bogota, Colombia: I had a chat in Bogota the other day with a group of government officials and businessmen, and I asked them all one question: When you go outside, how many security guards to you take with you? The answers were: 20, 6, 1, 8, 10, 2, 3, 8 and 5. No surprise. Some 3,000 people were kidnapped here last year by guerrillas, and many judges and journalists threatened with chilling messages, such as having funeral wreaths sent to their homes--with their names on them.

This is the terrifying context we have to keep in mind as we consider whether the U.S. Senate should approve the $1.7 billion plan to strengthen Colombia's ability to fight drug traffickers and forge a peace with the guerrillas. There are two ways to think about `Plan Colombia,' One way is to get wrapped up in the details--the helicopters, the training. The other way--the right way--is to step back and ask yourself what kind of courage it takes to stay in Colombia right now and be a judge who puts drug lords in jail or a politician who fights for the rule of law--knowing the criminals have millions in drug money and would kill your kids in a second.

It takes real courage, and that's why the people trying to hold this place together deserve our support. Sure, the democratic government of President Andres Pastrana isn't perfect. But it has a core of decent officials who every day risk their lives by just going to work. Ask yourself it you would have the same courage.

I asked Mr. Pastrana why he stays. `This is our country, it's the only country we have to leave to our children,' shrugged the president, who was once kidnapped while running for Bogota mayor. `I believe in this country so much that even after being kidnapped, and even after having my wife's father killed by kidnappers, my wife and I had another baby--a girl. Look, we've sacrificed the best policemen, the best judges, the best journalists in this country. Whatever you want to write about us, don't write that we are not on the front line in the war on drugs.'

I asked the head of Colombia's navy, Adm. Sergio Garcia, what it was like to be an officer here. He said it was sort of like being a movie star, with people always trying to get at you, only they don't want your autograph, they want to kill you--`so even your friends don't want to be in a restaurant with you, and they don't want their kids near your kids.'

Colombians tell this joke: After god created Colombia, an angel asked God why he gave all the beauty to one country--rain forests, mountains, oceans, savanna--and God answered: `Ha! Wait till you see what kind of people I put there!'

For years, Colombia's mafia processed cocaine grown from coca in Peru. But as Peru drove the coca growers out, they migrated to the rain forest in Southern Colombia--one of the largest unbroken expanses of rain forest left on earth, but also a region without much government. The drug mafia is now chopping down the rain forest--thousands of acres each month--then laying down herbicides, planting coca, processing it into cocaine in rain forest labs, throwing the chemicals in the rivers, and then flying the drugs out from grass airstrips.

Underlying Colombia's drug war is a real 40-year-old social struggle between Marxist guerrillas and rightwing vigilantes (32,000 killings last year). But let's cut the nonsense: Colombia's guerrillas may have started as a romantic movement against an unjust oligarchy--they may have started as a movement that ate to fight. But today, these guerrillas are fighting to eat--fighting the government because they make tons of money protecting drug operations in the rain forest. In between the guerrillas and the vigilantes (who also profit from drugs), Colombia's silent majority is held hostage.

Yes, Colombians are at fault for having been too tolerant of the early drug lords. And Americans are at fault for their insatiable appetite for cocaine. But here's the bottom line: If we give the Colombian majority the aid it needs to fight the drug Mafia there is a chance--and it's no sure thing--that it will be able to forge a domestic peace. If we don't--and this is a sure thing--the problem will only get worse, it will spew instability across this region, and the only rain forest your kids will ever see is the Rainforest Cafe.

(Ms. COLLINS assumed the chair.)


[Page: S2656]
Mr. DODD. Madam President, the Colombian society is being ripped apart by this problem. It is estimated that there are a million displaced people in Colombia and that 100,000 a year leave Colombia because of fear for their lives over what these narcotraffickers and drug cartels have done to this country.

We often worry about political difficulties here. We get negative letters or nasty phone calls, and we think we are putting up with a lot.

In Colombia, if you take on the drug cartels, you and your family risk your lives. Journalists, judges, police officials, if they have the courage to stand up to these people, put their lives in jeopardy. This drug cartel would not exist but for the fact that Americans consume the products grown in this country.

I think we bear responsibility to work with a courageous government and a courageous people who are paying a terrible price because of our habits and our consumption.

For those reasons, I am disappointed we can't find the time to bring up this supplemental bill, deal with this issue, and offer help to the people of Colombia and to the government of Andres Pastrana, who has shown remarkable courage. This President was kidnapped by these very people. He is not just intellectually committed to this; he knows what it is like to be terrorized by these people. He is committed to doing everything he can. He can ask us for our help, but we cannot seem to find the time to bring up this issue.

When people wonder why we are not dealing more effectively with the drug problems of this country, you can point to this. We spend days discussing insignificant issues, in my view, by comparison to this. Yet we are told by leadership we don't have time to bring up an issue. At least debate it, and vote it down, if you want, but give us a chance to vote on whether or not we think providing $1.3 billion over the next several years to the people of Colombia to fight back is worthy of this institution's time. I think it is.

The President has asked for it. The House of Representatives, to their credit, has done so. Yet this body refuses to bring up this matter, even to discuss it on the floor

of the Senate.

The legacy in Colombia is a legacy that President Pastrana confronted when he assumed office in 1988. He inherited the reins of government. Since then, he has demonstrated, in my view, leadership and a firm commitment to address the myriad of challenges facing his nation--drug products and trafficking, civil conflict and economic recession.

I have enormous respect for the manner in which President Pastrana has so quickly and aggressively taken steps to entice Colombia's largest guerrilla organization--the so-called FARC --to come to the negotiating table following on the heels of his election to office. The agenda for those ongoing talks covers the waterfront of economic and social issues that must be addressed if four decades of civil conflict are to be brought to a close.

President Pastrana has evidenced similar courage and a vision in tackling Colombia's illicit coca and poppy cultivation and processing industry. He authorized the extradition of a number of Colombia's most notorious drug traffickers to the United States, an extremely controversial decision in his country. He has also crafted a national plan--the so-called Plan Colombia--to address these intertwined problems in a comprehensive fashion.

President Pastrana has made it clear to us that the Government of Colombia is prepared to do its part in making available its own resources--billions of dollars--to fund the various elements of that plan for alternative development programs, for protection of human rights, for working for the resettlement of displaced persons, and for judicial reform, as well as assistance and training for Colombia's military police, the counternarcotics forces.

During our meeting yesterday, President Pastrana made it clear as well that he needs to seek and intends to ask for international cooperation if his plan is to succeed. In fact, he left last evening for London to meet with members of the European Community and has already received favorable indication that the Pacific rim will be a part of this international effort.

Colombia is currently the world's leading supplier of cocaine and one of the major sources of heroin. We are the largest consumer of these products. But this isn't only President Pastrana's problem; it is obviously ours as well.

All of the enormous demands in the United States and Europe for illicit products grown in Colombia are clearly an important part of the equation in keeping drug traffickers in business.

Moreover, despite billions of dollars spent here at home on law enforcement and drug education designed to reduce the U.S. demand, illicit drugs and consumption continue to pose a threat to the safety of our streets and to the health of the next generation of adults.

I know earlier today my good friend and colleague from New Hampshire, Senator Gregg, spoke about the fact that he is concerned that not enough money is being spent on domestic-related programs and programs to protect our borders against the onslaught of foreign drugs. If one looks at the full picture of our counternarcotics efforts, only a modest amount is currently being spent on the supply and reduction of the source.

Assuming Colombia's supplemental is approved, only slightly more than 15 percent of the total counternarcotics budget is

being spent on programs off our shores where the products are grown: $2.9 billion out of a total of $18.5 billion is what the Colombian program has adopted, which would be roughly half of what is being spent overseas; $1.3 billion is being requested. A little more than $1 billion right now is being spent off our shores. More than $2 billion currently is being spent on border programs alone in this fiscal year.

If we do nothing to stem the supply at the very source, where it comes from, then I don't see how a border program alone can prevent the exploding supply of drugs from reaching America's streets and communities--rural and urban.

I am all for adding more money to programs--as the Senator from New Hampshire talked about--in the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Coast Guard. But I think we are kidding ourselves when we believe border programs alone will shut out illegal drugs. We need to attack this problem also at its source. There is not one place where this battle is going to be won.

We need to do everything we can to make our borders more secure. We need to make sure our police departments have the tools necessary at the local level. We need training programs and rehabilitation programs to get people permanently off these substances.

But we also need to attack the problem at its source. That also is part of the answer. It is also why it makes sense for Congress, in my view, to act expeditiously on President Clinton's and President Pastrana's request to us, so we can attack the drug problem as vigorously as possible at all these sources but particularly in Colombia.

It is in our interest to provide Colombian authorities the wherewithal to gain access to areas in southern Colombia and elsewhere where coca and poppy cultivation has exploded in recent years but where guerrilla organizations and right-wing paramilitary units have made interdiction efforts extremely difficult to conduct safely.

President Clinton has decided that Plan Colombia is worthy of U.S. support. The House leadership has also decided that it is in our national interest to do so.

Fifty-two thousand Americans are dying every year in drug-related deaths. That is almost as many as died in the entire Vietnam conflict. Every year, we lose that many in drug-related deaths. If that is not a U.S. interest to which to try to respond, I don't know what is. As much as we need to fight this at home, we also need to fight it at its source.

There is clearly bipartisan support for this program. It is not perfect. It is not a program I would even necessarily write, nor maybe the Presiding Officer, nor would my colleague from California, whom I see on the floor. But let's not fly-speck and nickel-and-dime this issue. Let's at least get it to the floor, debate it, discuss it, amend it, and modify it. But don't deny us a chance to even vote on this issue as we now enter another recess this year. For another 10 days, we will not be here. The House is out, I am told, maybe another week after that. Then it is May, June, and July. How many more deaths will there be on our streets? How many more Colombians have to die because of U.S. consumption and addiction?

They have a democratic government, the oldest democracy in Latin America, whose very sovereignty is at stake. This country is being ripped apart. They are asking for our help, for the cooperation of Europe and other nations to fight back against these people and this multibillion-dollar operation.

We don't even have the time to debate or discuss it.

I promise you that over this Easter break, there will be a lot of speeches given about the problems of drugs in our streets and our narcotics efforts. Yet another day will go by when we cast one vote here, or two votes here--maybe--and no effort is made to bring this matter to the attention of the American public and to debate it on the floor of the Senate.

Despite this bipartisan support, the measure is currently stalled.

In the Senate, the majority leader suggested the clock has run out on an emergency supplemental. That has not been the history or experience of the Senate. We have dealt with many supplementals after April. I hope maybe we can do so in this case as well.

We asked President Clinton during our meeting for his assessment of the likelihood that Plan Colombia will work in the absence of U.S. assistance being forthcoming in the near future. We also asked about the prospects for other governments contributing resources to this effort in the absence of U.S. moneys being forthcoming. President Clinton stressed unequivocally that the support of the United States is the linchpin to getting additional international support and for the ultimate success of this plan.

Time is running out for the people of Colombia. Madam President, 100,000 are leaving every year. A million are displaced. Thousands die every year. We need to act now and provide the necessary funding so that Plan Colombia can be fully implemented. It is the only way I know to protect the democratic institutions of that country and throughout the region from falling prey to the criminal assaults of illegal drug cartels. Moreover, it is in our self-interest to do so. It is the only way to ensure that our children will be free from the threat of drug peddlers as they walk to and from school every day, that communities are safe from drug-related crimes which have taken the lives of too many innocent victims.

There is still time to act and I hope we do so. I think it is tragic we have not. I note the presence of my colleague from California, who has been one of the stalwarts for years on this issue, and I am pleased she is here to talk on this subject as well.

I yield the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California is recognized.


[Page: S2657]
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I begin by thanking the Senator from Connecticut. I don't think there is anyone else in the Senate who has the kind of expertise about South America as has Senator Dodd of Connecticut. He speaks the language. He has studied. He has traveled in the country widely. He has been to Colombia.

On how many occasions has the Senator been to Colombia?

Mr. DODD. I just came back. I was there a couple of months ago and spent time with President Clinton and others involved in this effort. The most recent visit was just a few weeks ago.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I think the Senator has stated the case about as well as it can be stated. I have never been to Colombia. I come at this a little differently, as one who has watched the development of major narcotics trafficking over a long period of time. My State is very much influenced and affected by this kind of narcotrafficking.

I have worked with Senator Coverdell of Georgia in the certification of Mexico. I have watched the development of the big transportation cartels because Colombia is the source country of most of the cocaine. I have watched the big transportation cartels develop in Mexico. I have watched them interface with gangs in our country. I have watched California become the export State of gangs. The Crips and Bloods started in Los Angeles and are now in 118 American cities. I have watched the gang deaths in America over drugs.

It is a huge problem. I have watched the debate over supply versus demand. We spend dollars on demand. In fact, local jurisdictions are the ones that mount the demand programs, the prevention, the counseling, the drug abuse programs. The one area in which the Federal Government has total responsibility is interdiction at our borders; it is international narcotics, trafficking, and control. These big amount of drugs come from outside of the United States; therefore, what we do affects our role.

I did not know President Pastrana. The chairman of the Appropriations Committee, on which I am fortunate to sit, had a meeting with him in the appropriations room during his last trip. I met this young President for the first time. Prior to that, I had been visited by the head of the military under the former government who pointed out with great alarm what he thought was happening and even said he didn't think Pastrana was being strong enough in the drug area.

The former head of the military pointed out to me that a third of the country at that time was under control of narcoterrorists. That is a country the size of Switzerland. That is how large the geographic area is. He pointed out that a million and a half citizens were refugees within their own country; 300,000 had fled. He believed that 60,000 had tried to come into this country illegally, people who were devastated by this, running in fear for their lives because of it.

We do have a role to play. He pointed out to me there were 3,000 citizens held hostage by narcoterrorists, 250 of them local police, 250 of them soldiers. Nobody knows what happens to these people.

I met President Pastrana. He was a very sincere leader, a leader who had been sobered by this, a leader determined to do something about it, a leader pleading for backup and help by the United States.

Is it in our national interests to help? I believe it is. All of these drugs come to our country, all of these cartels interface with American gangs, all of these cartels are brutal. They kill anyone who stands in their way--even a Catholic cardinal in Mexico. They kill newspaper heads who write against them. They kill anyone who stands up and says no.

The question that Tom Friedman mentioned so eloquently in his New York Times column--and I ask this of the Senator from Connecticut--if someone comes to you and says: here is half a million in an envelope, here is a picture of your wife and where she has her hair done, and a picture of your children and the schools they go to, which will you take?

I ask the Senator from Connecticut what kind of courage does it take to stand against that kind of entreaty?


[Page: S2658]
Mr. DODD. The Senator from California has answered her own question by raising it. It takes a remarkable amount of courage.

I noted earlier and introduced as part of the Record the article by Tom Friedman because they so clearly made the point, of the courage of these people. I mentioned 11 members of the Supreme Court in Colombia were gunned down in 1985. Literally thousands of people are kidnapped and executed every year; journalists, just by being there and speaking out or saying anything against these narcotraffickers.

This is a business that collects $60 billion a year from this country alone. President Pastrana tells me that in Colombia $100 million is used just to bribe local police officers and functionaries who in some cases earn less than $100 or $200 a month to raise their families. Then someone shows up and offers them an envelope of thousands of dollars to turn the other way, look the other way, don't examine the truck.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Will the Senator yield?

Mr. DODD. I am happy to yield to the Senator.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I have seen it impact our border areas in the United States. I go down to Otay Mesa where trucks are lined up by the thousands and you have Customs agents who maybe earn $45,000 or $50,000 a year--we know some trucks are loaded with tons of cocaine, with street values of millions of dollars--taking a bribe, maybe half a million dollars just to turn their head and let that truck go through.

This is where the corruption becomes so evil and where it is not just confined to jungle areas of Colombia or outposts in Mexico or anywhere else in the Andean region but comes right into the United States as well.

Mr. DODD. If the Senator will yield further, it is this corrosive corruption that spreads. It begins in a small hamlet or borough in Colombia, and once it gets through there, then it reaches up into the higher elevations of Government there and then spills across the borders. Before you know it, as the Senator from California has pointed out, it spreads. If you do not stand up to these people early on and fight back, then you, in a sense, become an accomplice to the results, to what occurs.

We have been asked, as the Senator from California has pointed out, by the good and decent Government of President Pastrana, that our Nation step up and help--not do it all, not take on the entire responsibility, but to help him regain the sovereignty of his own nation, to eliminate the corruption, and give the people of Colombia a chance for a decent future.

Our inability to bring up this supplemental to at least debate and discuss this issue is deplorable and sad, deeply sad--that we do not have the time, apparently, to discuss this kind of issue which can make such a difference in the lives of the people of Colombia and, more importantly, in some ways, to the citizens of this country who lose their children every day to these drug cartels, these gangs terrorizing the streets of this country because of drugs. Mr. President, 52,000 a year die on average in drug-related deaths. If that is not enough of a U.S. interest to respond to it, I don't know what is.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the distinguished Senator from Connecticut. I think the point is well taken. I, for one, was delighted--because I tend to read all of Tom Friedman's articles in the New York Times--he spent time in Colombia. I was so pleased that he saw what was the central point in all of this debate. I want to quote him. I know the Senator did earlier, and I hope this is not redundant.

He said there are two ways to look at Plan Colombia. One is to get wrapped up in the details--the helicopters, the training, why we might or might not like it. The other way, and he suggests the right way, is to step back and ask yourself: What kind of courage does it take?

That is what we are talking about here, what kind of courage it takes to stay in Colombia right now--to be a judge who puts drug lords in jail or be a politician such as the President of the country, or the Attorney General, or the generals of the army, or local public officials who fight for the rule of law, knowing that criminals have millions of dollars in drug money and would kill their kids in a second. That is not an esoteric concept. The numbers of children of families who have been killed in drug wars are legion.

These people do not care for anybody who stands in their way. The debilitating part about it is the ability to corrupt to get your way. How many people can actually stand up to that? We see over and over and over again where a respected public official, a police officer, a judge, a prosecutor gives in to this kind of tyranny. The Ariano Felix Cartel in Mexico is notorious for this. They will kill anybody standing in their way. Their cocaine comes right out of Colombia. There you have the narcoterrorists controlling a

third of their country and everybody and everything within that third.

So the real courage, as Mr. Friedman points out, is that the people who are trying to do the right thing deserve our support. This is our hemisphere; it is not another hemisphere. The results of drug trafficking, the results of narcoterrorism, only spread. They do not contain themselves; they spread. The spread is northerly into our country.

So I make this point again and again and again: This supplemental appropriation, an appropriation in our budget, is in our national interest. It is in the American national interest to stand tall against the cartels, to stand tall against this kind of terrorism, to support public officials who are willing to do the same thing. That support should be for the Attorney General of Mexico, the President of Mexico, the President of Colombia, the Attorney General of Colombia, the Judges of Colombia, the people who have been able to come back from M-11 and what was done in their country to try to institute a democracy. These are the people who recognize that, yes, there are problems but they are trying to make the changes. The people who plead to this country say: Help us. Don't do the whole thing; just do a part of it. Put your imprimatur of leadership on it so other nations will follow and so we will have the ability to control something which, if we do not, will spread through the whole Andean region and, I contend, to Mexico and to the United States as well.

I think you have, essentially, a major battle in this area of South America that will effectively determine the future of these countries--Colombia, the Andean region, Mexico--and to a degree our own country.

I very much hope people will reconsider and really look at how important it is to stop this trafficking. I remember the day--and it was in the 1980s--we in the cities of America never saw an arrest involving a ton of cocaine or a ton of any other substances, hundreds of pounds of drugs at one time. Now the arrests are being made, and they are finding 5 tons, 6 tons, 4 tons.

The business that is inherent in this, the corruption that comes with it, is so enormous it is beyond anything we can possibly conceive. The complicity by transportation companies is one of the reasons Senator Coverdell and I worked together on this drug kingpin bill, to apply the RICO statutes to companies doing business with the cartels who simply turn their heads when there are 5 tons of cocaine on a train coming into this country or in a container as part of a fleet of trucks that come across the border every day. People have to open their eyes. They have to see what is happening. We have to begin to support the leaders who will stand tall.

I will be very candid with the Senator from Connecticut and our distinguished Presiding Officer from the great State of Maine. If somebody came to me with a picture of my daughter or my granddaughter, I don't know what I would do. I don't know. I believe I would tell them where to get off, but I don't really know. It is like the person who jumps in the river to save someone who is drowning. You don't really know until you are in that situation.

The fact is, thousands of people in Colombia are in that situation on a daily basis. What they are saying is: Help, United States. Use your leadership. Give us the resources because we need helicopters that can fly at a certain altitude

and have a certain range. The Huey cannot do it; it is the Black Hawk. We need a certain altitude for certain areas. The Huey can't do it; give us the Black Hawk. Help us with some of this other equipment we need and stand by us as we make the battle real.

If we are to put our money where our mouth is, it has to be to fight the major trafficker. It has to be to fight the narcoterrorist. It has to be to stand up for the political leaders who are willing to stand against them.


[Page: S2659]
Mr. DODD. Madam President, if my distinguished colleague will yield one more time, I commend her immensely for her heartfelt statement and use this as another appeal. We are leaving for another week now. There are only two of us here, but I suspect our sentiments are shared by a majority of our colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats. We make an appeal to the majority leader to reconsider this decision on bringing up a supplemental, a boiled-down one if necessary, to focus on this issue and a couple of others that legitimately fall into the category of emergency.

I say this because I think the last statement made by our distinguished colleague from California is an important one. What we say here does not go unnoticed. What we do here or not do here does not go unnoticed. The greatest fear the narcotraffickers have is that there will be a united front to take them on.

That is their greatest fear. They worry about a government in Colombia that is not afraid to extradite. They do not want to be extradited because they know we are not afraid to lock them up forever, if necessary. They are frightened about a European Community and other Latin American countries joining in a common effort. As every one of these leaders will tell you, they know what happens in Colombia can happen in Venezuela, in Ecuador, and happened in Peru. It is happening in Bolivia. These are better financed operations than any insurgency we have seen before with millions of dollars.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Can I ask the Senator a question? I believe the Senator was in the Senate when President Bush gave the order to send American troops to Panama because so many heavy narcotics were coming through Panama, much of it under the control of one person, a general by the name of Manuel Noriega. They picked up this general and brought him back to the United States for trial. To this day, he is in Federal prison in the United States, and the problem has been remedied in Panama. This was the kind of direct recognition of a problem and a response that has solved the problem. Does the Senator agree?

Mr. DODD. I do. I say to my friend and colleague from California, I remember it very well. In fact, the decision to go in was made late at night. There was talk about it ahead of time. I received a call, as I think other Members of the Senate did, in the wee hours of the morning informing us that the effort was about to be undertaken.

I recall early that morning going on a couple national television programs to discuss it. I expressed my strong support for what President Bush was doing in Panama. I thought it was important he have bipartisan support in the effort in

Panama.

The Senator from California is absolutely correct, General Noriega was removed. While the problem has not been eliminated entirely in Panama, that action certainly made a huge difference. It is a good case to point out.

We need that kind of leadership in the Senate on this issue, in my view. The narcotraffickers in Bogota, Colombia, in the flatlands, the llanos, as they call them, of southern Colombia know what we are not doing in the Senate. They know President Pastrana has asked for our help. They are watching, and they see a Senate of the United States that says it does not have time to bring this up or does not think it is that important to bring up. I can tell my colleague firsthand there is no more encouraging sign to these people than our apparent disinterest in the subject matter.

Every day we wait and do not respond, their grip grows stronger. I am not exaggerating when I tell the Senator that the sovereignty of this country of Colombia is at stake.

The Senator from California has pointed out a third of the country has already been lost to them. The oldest democracy in Latin America can be lost. Mark my words. This is a well-heeled and well-financed operation. Millions of dollars every day pour into the coffers of these insurgency groups through the narcotrafficking efforts. If we wait another week or another month, we make it that much more difficult to address this issue. We have a courageous President and a courageous country in Colombia and other nations willing to step up.

We are the largest consuming country. We are the addicted nation. The reason these campesinos and farmers grow the poppy seeds and grow the heroin is because there are people here who consume it.

The journalists, the politicians, the judges, and the police officers are willing to fight back. They want to know whether or not we are going to join with them in that fight. That is all we are asking: Stand up and join them in that fight.

I am hopeful, again, before too many more weeks go by that we will respond. The admiration I have for the House for having done so is tremendous. My admiration for the President for calling on us to do it is tremendous.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Can I bring up another subject? One of the criticisms I have heard is we spend too much on this kind of activity already, and we need to spend more on demand. In fact, as we both know, there are provisions in this bill to meet the demand needs in our own country.

Mr. DODD. Right.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I was interested in finding out how much of our entire drug control budget is devoted to international drug control efforts. Does the Senator have an idea what that amount is?

Mr. DODD. I do. The total amount we spend--my colleague can correct me--is about $18.5 billion total--domestic and foreign, all the efforts. Of the $18.5 billion, if one excludes the Colombian plan money, it is about $1.5 billion out of the--three my colleague is about to say?

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. No, it is 3 percent.

Mr. DODD. Three percent.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Only 3 percent of that entire drug budget, which the Senator just accurately stated, goes to international narcotics control. Yet we know the drugs are coming in in 5-ton

lots. We know the one area of responsibility we have is to control the borders in international drug control. No local government can do that, most certainly, and yet only 3 percent of the budget goes for that.

Mr. DODD. My colleague says we spend about $2 billion on our borders, as she points out, and on the drug abuse programs, the efforts of local authorities, but it is a fraction. I am not suggesting and I do not think my colleague from California is suggesting we spend all of the money there or even a half of the money there. This is a multifaceted effort.

We have to spend it locally. We have to fight it at the local level. We have to have rehabilitation efforts, drug abuse efforts. We have to be fighting it at the borders of this country, but we also need to go to the source, and we are not going to the source.

Here is a country willing to fight back. Many times we find it difficult to get cooperation from governments. Here is the President of Colombia who was kidnaped and knows firsthand what it is to live under this kind of system, who is coming to us and saying: Look, we are going to put $4 billion of our own money into this effort. The Europeans are willing to step up. Can you help? The addicted nation, can you help?

Up to this point, this Chamber has said no.

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I will conclude with one additional comment. Colombia is the source country for 80 percent of the cocaine consumed in this Nation. It is the source country of 70 percent of the heroin consumed in this Nation. It is a country under siege. It is a country where one-third of the geographic area is controlled by narcoterrorists, and it happens to have a government that is willing to stand up and say: We want to do something about it. United States, help us in a multilateral effort do something about it.

This Senate is saying it does not have time to consider the request. It is in our national interest to consider the request. It is in our national interest to have debate on the request. It is in our national interest to appropriate the dollars for this request.

I end by summarizing something Mr. Friedman said in the New York Times:

If we give the Colombian majority the aid it needs to fight the drug Mafia, there is a chance--and it's no sure thing --that it will be able to forge a domestic peace. If we don't --and this is a sure thing--the problem will only get worse, it will spew instability across this region, and the only rain forest your kids will ever see is the Rainforest Cafe.

I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.


[Page: S2660]
Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Craig). The clerk will call the roll.

The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Frist). Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. KERREY. Mr. President, are we in morning business?

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate is in morning business until 2 o'clock.

END

As of April 14, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S13AP0-62:
Google
Search WWW Search ciponline.org

Asia
|
Colombia
|
|
Financial Flows
|
National Security
|

Center for International Policy
1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 232-3317 / fax (202) 232-3440
cip@ciponline.org