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Last Updated:7/7/05
Speech by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), June 28, 2005

   Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte).

   Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) for yielding me this time. I rise in opposition to the McGovern amendment.

   This amendment would take valuable resources away from a program that is working to help keep drugs off our streets. The Andean Counterdrug Initiative was established to eliminate the cultivation and production of cocaine and opium, build Andean law enforcement infrastructure, arrest and prosecute traffickers, and seize their assets. The more we can disrupt the production of the drugs that are smuggled into our country, the safer our citizens will be.

   The Andean Counterdrug Initiative has provided resources necessary to fight the war on drugs where these drugs are grown and processed, and efforts to disrupt the drug trade are working.

   Aerial eradication efforts in Colombia have been impressive: 127,000 hectares were sprayed in 2003; 136,000 in 2004; and 95,000 hectares, or nearly 250,000 acres, have already been sprayed in this year alone.

   Efforts like these, which are supported by resources from the Andean Counterdrug Initiative, have reduced coca cultivation in Colombia by 33 percent. Opium poppy cultivation in Colombia dropped 52 percent in 2004, which represents the third straight year of decline.

   Due to these types of efforts, traffickers have been forced to decentralize their crops of coca, which has worked to decrease the total amount of coca cultivation. Efforts to seize drugs in Colombia have also seen impressive strides with the help of this important program.

   Mr. Chairman, 114 metric tons of cocaine were seized in 2003, 178 metric tons in 2004. Drugs seized in Colombia are drugs that do not make it to the United States. Now is not the time to reduce funding for such a successful program. I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

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