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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 the balance of my time.

   Mr. Chairman, this amendment will not cripple our military support for Colombia. Currently, there is $332 million in the Andean Counterdrug Initiative for Colombia.


[Time: 18:15]

   This amendment reduces that amount by $100 million. There is an additional $152 million for alternative development, human rights, and rule of law programs for Colombia in the ACI. We are not touching that money. There is another $90 million in military aid for Colombia in the FMF account in this bill. We are not touching that money. In the defense appropriations bill that we passed just a few weeks ago, there was another $165 million in military aid for Colombia.

   And should this amendment prevail, I will be happy to work with the chairman, a gentleman I greatly admire, and the distinguished ranking member to ensure that the intent of this amendment is made clear in the final foreign operations conference report.

   Mr. Chairman, we have heard some talk today about the new law passed in Colombia last week to demobilize the paramilitary forces. Maybe we should call the law up here what they are calling it in Colombia: the Impunity and Immunity law. It fails to establish any mechanisms that will ensure the dismantling of the paramilitaries' organizational structures or financial structures. Commanders who are major narco-traffickers and have committed crimes against humanity will get off with very limited, if any, sentences, probably spent under house arrest at their local hacienda, profits in hand.

   Mr. Chairman, 6 years, over $4 billion. We are paying for Colombia's war. As I pointed out over and over in this debate, there are 42 million people who live in Colombia. Only 720,000 of them actually pay taxes. We are bankrolling this war. Maybe the elites in Colombia should put up some of their own money.

   We need to send a strong message: We are not Colombia's piggy-bank. We cannot just keep writing blank checks. This policy has failed. It has failed. The availability of cocaine on the streets of the United States of America has never been more plentiful. The price has never been lower. This policy has not made a difference to any of the people in this country.

   So I urge my colleagues to vote for the McGovern-McCollum-Moore amendment. Enough is enough.

   Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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