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.

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Last Updated:7/7/05
Speech by Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), June 28, 2005

   Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Latham), a distinguished member of the Committee on Appropriations.

   Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman for yielding me this time, and first of all, I want to commend him and the ranking member for bringing this bill to the floor and for all their hard work. It is a very difficult bill, as we can see by the debate here.

   Mr. Chairman, today I rise in strong opposition to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern). The Andean Counterdrug Initiative is an important antidrug effort that supports Colombia and the countries in the Andean region. After years of steady increases, cocaine and heroin production in the Andean Region is decreasing. For the third straight year, from 2002 to 2004, the ACI has helped reduce coca production by 33 percent in Colombia and 21 percent in the region. Opium poppy cultivation in Colombia dropped 52 percent in the year 2004 alone. The total land under coca cultivation in Colombia decreased 7 percent in 2004, the fourth consecutive annual decrease.

   The United States and our allies disrupted the transport of 248 metric tons of cocaine headed through the transit zone before it could reach U.S. shores in 2004 alone. The ACI has helped streamline extradition procedures resulting in over 250 extraditions to the U.S. since August of 2002, including FARC leader Simon Trinidad and ex-Cali cartel leaders.

   Over 60,000 families have received alternative crop development assistance, and almost 1,000 infrastructure projects have been built using ACI funds. Even as detractors cite individual instances of human rights' abuses, overall kidnappings dropped by almost 35 percent in 2004 and fell another 60 percent through May of this year. Homicides are down 14 percent in 2004 and dropped another 22 percent since May of this year.

   Mr. Chairman, I would urge the Members to strongly oppose this amendment which would very much harm our ability to fight this scourge in our country.

As of July 7, 2005 this page was also available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r109:FLD001:H05308

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