from transcript, nomination hearing of Secretary of State-Designate
Condoleezza Rice, January 18, 2005
NORM COLEMAN (R-MN): I also want to echo the comments of some
of my colleagues about Latin America. And we've talked about that
and we had a chance to visit -- need to increase American involvement.
I do want to make one comment about Venezuela. It's clear that
Chavez won an election. There are a number of us who want to engage;
we want to engage more. But I also think it's fair to say that
in our business, actions matter and words matter. And the rhetoric
from Chavez has to change.
COLEMAN: You can't be, you know, proclaiming sympathy with folks
who are killing Americans in Iraq. You can't be -- my colleague
and friend from Connecticut noted that Lula -- President Lula
had said some things, but he said them 20 years ago. Chavez said
them last week, last month.
DODD: It wasn't 20 years ago. I hear you, but I mean --
COLEMAN: But in any case, but there are -- and I think it's fair,
there are a number of us, we need to figure out a way to engage,
but there's got to be a two-way street here, and words matter,
question for you is about Colombia. After decades of terror, we're
seeing killings down. President Uribe is doing -- I think providing
outstanding leadership. Folks are actually able to travel on the
roads, which they weren't able to do before. The economy is responding
positively to some of the increased security.
Plan Colombia is working, but Plan Colombia expires at the end
of this fiscal year. Our president, I'm pleased that one of his
first trips right after election was to Latin America and visited
Colombia. I have two questions for you. One, if you can reflect
on the situation in Colombia and discuss the future of Plan Colombia;
where are we going? And then the second issue is that one of the
things Uribe is doing with the Colombian military is that they
are disarming -- one of the largest demilitarizations of a paramilitary
group probably in history. Because of limitations put on us in
the foreign operations bill, this is going on without the participation
of the U.S. government. And I would appreciate your reflections
on what you believe to be the proper role of the United States
in this effort to demilitarize a paramilitary group.
RICE: Well, thank you very much, Senator. First of all, on Colombia,
I think that Colombia has outstanding leadership in President
Uribe. And what he has done is to mobilize Colombian society,
the Colombian people, to take on the terrorism, the narcoterrorism
in a new and renewed fashion. And he went to the people in a democratic
way and he said here's what we have to do and here are the resources
that we have to put behind it. And he's starting to have a lot
of success. It's a very tough environment but he's also taking
very tough policies toward the FARC. And we have very good cooperation
on that piece of it.
think that many of the aspects of Plan Colombia that dealt with
alternative livelihoods, that dealt with dealing with the crop,
all of those have worked to improve the circumstances in Colombia
to the point that now it is possible for President Uribe to have
this very tough policy. And it's always a struggle, but it's beginning
to work. And we just need to support this democratically elected
president who went to his people and said we've got to defeat
the narcoterrorists, and he's doing it.
dismantlement or the disarming of militias, including the AUC,
is an important part of this revitalization of Colombia and dealing
with its past problems. Obviously, there are some things that
we can't do. We have gotten a little bit of flexibility to help
some in some of the efforts that he needed toward the FARC, and
that was much appreciated.
would like to -- we would like to be in a position to do whatever
we need to do to help h him and to have him tell us what that
I'm sure that in the demilitarization we could do more. But the
one thing that we've made clear is that while the AUC needs to
be demobilized, demilitarized, and while he's talked about reconciliation
with certain aspects, not with blood on their hands. And that's
been a very important admonition to this government. But Colombia
is becoming -- I won't declare yet, but is becoming a success
story because you've had very determined leadership, and I think
we've been a good partner for President Uribe.
COLEMAN: I mean, I think the challenge is the -- you can't do
what -- you can't give a free pass to folks with blood on their
hands. But we need to somehow have an ability to continue forward
RICE: That's right.
COLEMAN: -- with getting guns out of the hands of narcoterrorists.
RICE: It's the most important thing that they must do next.
COLEMAN: I would hope that we would be able to have a more assertive
role in that, and perhaps some guidance from State down the road.
to follow up in terms of what we can do to support President Uribe,
what do you see as the next phase? With the expiration, then,
of Plan Colombia, but with obviously still great needs, still
security concerns, what is our role in the next two, three, five
years for Colombia?
RICE: Well, I think there's no doubt that we are going to have
to explore with Colombia its economic development. It is a country
that has potential but has really been -- a lot of the potential
has been held back by the terrible security situation produced
by narcotrafficking. And as the narcotrafficking situation is
brought under control, we obviously will want to be a partner
with Colombia in how they build a vibrant democracy. Part of that
is that they have asked us to discuss with them what we might
be doing in the area of free trade. I think that's something that
we will want to explore with them. Obviously, it has to be seen
in the context of what we're trying to do with the Free Trade
Area of the Americas. But we've not been shy to go ahead and look
at what we might be able to do bilaterally in trade. And I know
that trade is an area that Colombia is extremely interested in.
COLEMAN: One of the areas where we've been successful is cutting
down on the hectares of cocaine -- coca that's being grown there,
and spraying has worked in Colombia.
COLEMAN: When we met with Allawi in -- excuse me, Karzai in Afghanistan,
I know in Afghanistan there are concerns about spraying. The good
news there is that we're hearing that their folks are actually
voluntarily stopping poppy growing. I -- we're still waiting to
get confirmation of that, but we've had a number of those -- of
COLEMAN: -- and I think the climate may be more fertile for other
things to grow there.
I would hope that we would at least give evidence to the Afghanis
(sic) about spraying and that it can be done with environmental
concerns being met and that it can be effective, if some of the
other things that they're doing don't work to the degree that
we think they should.
RICE: I agree, Senator. In fact, we asked the Colombians and they
agreed to talk to the Afghans about their experience.
Afghanistan -- we're exploring, or pursuing with Afghanistan a kind
of five-pillared approach to the counternarcotics problem, which
really is now, I think, in many ways the most urgent issue in Afghanistan:
first of all, to look at eradication -- to look at eradication both
aerial and manual. At this point manual is all that we can do, but
we'll see whether aerial is needed and what we can do in that regard.
We are working on alternative livelihoods. We're working on legal
reform and police training so that we can help with that. Prosecutions
of people need to take place. And then there's a very big public
made the point to us that he needed, after many years of no democratic
contact with the society, to de-legitimize in the eyes of the
people the growing of poppy and he has been very aggressive on
that. He has appointed a minister for counternarcotics. He went
to the people and said this is a stain on Afghanistan that we
have this. And so there's a lot of work to do, but I think we
have a government that's dedicated to the counternarcotics fight.
And we'll see what role aerial spraying has to play.
January 19, 2005, this document was also available online at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/18/politics/18TEXT-RICE2.html?pagewanted=print&position=