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
|
Analyses
|
Aid
|
|
|
News
|
|
|
|
Last Updated:6/21/00
Speech by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), June 20, 2000
Mr. LEAHY. … Finally, I want to address the emergency funding for Colombia, which was attached to this bill in the committee. I want to help Colombia, which is facing threats from left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug traffickers allied with both.

I also have a lot of respect for Colombia's President Pastrana. We are already giving hundreds of millions of dollars to Colombia.

But I cannot endorse a proposal that would vastly increase our military involvement in Colombia that is so poorly thought out and suffers from so many unanswered questions.

Although the administration does not like to talk about it, this is only the first billion-dollar installment of a multiyear, open-ended commitment of many more billions of dollars.

Nobody can say what they expect this to cost, what we can expect to achieve, in what period of time, how intensifying a war that cannot be won will lead to peace, or what the risks are to hundreds of American military and civilian personnel in Colombia or to Colombian civilians. I have asked the Administration these questions, but their answers are vague at best.

Even the goal is vague. If it is to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, that is wishful thinking. If it is to defeat the guerrillas, this is not the way to do it. I think the American people deserve better answers before we spend billions of their tax dollars on another civil war in South America.

Having said that, I very much appreciate Chairman McConnell's willingness to include a number of conditions on the aid, which have strong bipartisan support. If this Colombia aid passes, these human rights conditions and reporting requirements are essential to ensure that the aid is not misused and that human rights are protected.

As of June 21, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S20JN0-389:

Google
Search WWW Search ciponline.org

Asia
|
Colombia
|
|
Financial Flows
|
National Security
|

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