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. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), June 28, 2005

   Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 1/2 minutes.

   Mr. Chairman, let us look at the facts. The facts are that illegal drugs are cheaper today than they were 6 years ago and $4 billion ago when we began Plan Colombia. The facts are that the elites in Colombia want us to bankroll this war. It remains an embarrassing fact that only 740,000 Colombians pay income tax in a country of 42 million. They are relying on us to bankroll this war.

   Mr. Chairman, the other fact is that widespread impunity for human rights abusers is getting worse. It has been widely publicized in our newspapers about the new law that the Colombian Government has passed to grant immunity and to grant amnesty, for the most part, to individuals in the paramilitaries who are guilty of crimes again humanity, many of them involved in the drug trade, and they are doing that right before our eyes.

   The facts are that the human rights situation is so bad that our own State Department has yet to certify human rights progress in Colombia. We are being drawn into a quagmire. The legal limit on the number of military and contractor personnel had to be increased in 2004 from 400 to 800 military, from 400 to 600 contractors.

   Let us try to solve the problem of drug abuse, not just throw money at failing strategies. We need to invest in drug treatment and prevention here at home and in the Andes, in alternative development programs to help small farmers transition permanently from growing illicit drugs. But this policy has failed.

   Mr. Chairman, the question was raised before what are we for. I include for the RECORD a statement of what we are for.

   Rethinking Plan Colombia

   Low-cost: use U.S. leverage far more vigorously in support of human rights and the rule of law; support the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for Colombia; insist upon the complete dismantlement of paramilitary forces and structures, within an effective legal framework for justice, truth, and reparations; make trade consistent with sustainable drug policy and human rights; encourage negotiations with the guerrillas for a just and lasting peace; encourage Colombia's elite to use more of its own resources to improve governance.

   Fund by reducing security assistance: support a strong judiciary and an independent

[Page: H5315]

human rights sector; expand alternative development within a comprehensive rural development strategy, and end aerial spraying; encourage the strengthening of civilian governance in rural areas, including local peace-building initiatives; increase and improve humanitarian assistance, and expand protection, to displaced persons and refugees; reduce U.S. demand for drugs through evidence-based prevention strategies and improved access to high-quality treatment.

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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