by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California),
April 13, 2000
COLOMBIA IN FIGHTING DRUG TRAFFICKING (Senate - April 13, 2000)
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
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]
(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
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.)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The
Senator from California is recognized.
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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