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.

Home
About Us
Publications
Press Room
Support our work with a tax-deductible donation.
Home
|
Analyses
|
Aid
|
U.S. Govt
|
Peace
|
News
|
Events
|
Links
|
Español
|
Staff
Last Updated:6/13/06
Speech by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), June 9, 2006

Mr. SKELTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I might point out, Mr. Chairman, that I take a back seat to no one regarding fighting the scourge of illegal drugs. And being a former prosecuting attorney, I know full well the scourge of that problem.

However, Mr. Chairman, the American taxpayers have spent over $4.7 billion on the Andean Counterdrug Initiative since the year 2000. Despite that commitment, the production in that country is higher now than ever. We need to ensure we are spending money wisely. We must ensure we are addressing the root causes of the drug problem in Colombia.

Let me point out that the committee provides $545 million for this program and we are diverting, by way of this amendment, a very good amendment, only $30 million, which, by the way, if you subtract carefully, still leaves more than the President recommended for this program.

I am glad that we have been able to support President Uribe and the Colombian military against guerrilla groups, but I still question the stability of our military efforts in that country. And I think we are also working our special operation forces very, very hard during this time of war elsewhere.

It has been a long time since the House Armed Services Committee has seriously focused any attention on the security changes in Latin America. We ought to take our congressional oversight role seriously. We should hold hearings, give full consideration to American policy in this critical part of the world. If we are not careful, the gathering storm in Latin America could come back to bite us in years to come.

This amendment, which I support, sends a clear message to Colombian and other Andean countries that while the American people will support their governments to a point, the financial assistance is not unlimited and should not go unchecked. Colombia must decrease coca production and better account for human rights concerns.

This amendment transfers $30 million out of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative account to humanitarian assistance in the Sudan and in Darfur, which is highly needed and necessary, in my opinion, and it still leaves more money than what the President recommended for this antidrug program in the Andean area.

As of June 13, 2006 this page was also available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r109:FLD001:H53648

Google
Search WWW Search ciponline.org

Asia
|
Colombia
|
Cuba
|
Financial Flows
|
National Security
|
Joint Projects

Center for International Policy
1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 232-3317 / fax (202) 232-3440
cip@ciponline.org