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Last Updated:7/7/05
Speech by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana), June 28, 2005

   Mr. KIRK. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Burton), the distinguished chair of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

   Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Chairman, I have heard what they are against. What are you for?

   We have got a drug problem that we are trying to deal with. Plan Colombia, according to the statistical data that has been quoted time and time and time again by my colleagues, and I am quoting a little bit about that, shows that we are making progress. You are against it, but what are you for?

   I mean, we have got a war against drugs and you are standing here saying, okay, let us not do this, let us not do this, but the drug problem exists so what do you want to do about it?

   Unless you have got some constructive alternative, I think you ought to take a hard look at what has been talked about here today by the colleagues on our side of the aisle.

   Now, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Souder) sent out a ``Dear Colleague'' to my colleagues and I would like to read you a little bit about what is in his ``Dear Colleague.'' Aerial eradication has reduced coca cultivation by 33 percent. That is a plus. Reduced coca cultivation by 16 percent in the Andean region in 2003 and by an additional 5 percent in 2004. That is a plus.

   Opium poppy cultivation in Colombia dropped 52 percent in 2004, the third straight year of decline. That is a plus. They have got alternative development programs. Since 2000 we have supported and they have supported more than 63,000 hectares of legal crops, some substitutions. That is a plus. Resulted in the manual eradication of 23,200 hectares of illicit crops, coca and opium. That is a plus.

   Security. Police presence is extended to all 158 municipalities in Colombia that did not have any police protection before. That is a big plus.

   Colombia has extradited 271 Colombian citizens to the U.S. since August of 2002, mostly on narcotics-related cases. Another plus.

   Human rights. Kidnappings were down 34 percent in 2004 and a further 60.9 percent through May of this year. Another plus. Homicides are down 14.2 percent and another 22.3 percent through May of this year.

   There were 137,315 newly displaced persons in 2004. That is a drop of 67.5 percent. Those are all pluses. Those are things that are being accomplished.

   Yes, we still have problems. Yes, there are narcotics in America. Yes, they are coming into this country. But we are making progress. And what you folks want to do is stop the progress. So what is your alternative?

   I do not hear anything but complaints. This is the wrong time and it is the wrong message to send to our allies, President Uribe, who is making progress down there. It is also the wrong signal to send to the surrounding countries that have to deal with this drug problem and the drug cartel.

   I guess I am out of time, but I think the point has been made. Unless you have a constructive alternative, I suggest you do what the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Souder) has suggested. Read his ``Dear Colleague.''

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