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Last Updated:6/25/00
Speech by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), June 21, 2000
Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I want to bring my colleagues attention to the importance of what we are trying to do with emergency aid to Colombia. Why is this aid important? And why is now an emergency?

Illegal drugs pose a direct, immediate threat to the health and safety of the citizens of the United States. Today, a majority of the cocaine and heroin consumed in the United States, is grown, processed, and smuggled from Colombia.

The Senate, today, has the opportunity to act. We have the opportunity to provide a needed boost to the Government of Colombia and their efforts to halt illegal drug production in their country. They have a plan, and they have asked the U.S. for support. We should provide it.

That said, I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking this is either the perfect or final assistance package that will come before the Senate for Colombia. However, it is a good start. It will strengthen the Colombian military while emphasizing the importance of human rights. It will provide additional resources for the Colombian National Police, and strengthen U.S. Colombian, and other nations in regional interdiction capabilities in and around Colombia. Personally, I would like to see more money for intelligence collection, and more emphasis on coordination of activities between the Military and National Police, and more assistance to Colombia to strengthen the rule of law. However, these are all things that can be addressed in future appropriations. We also need to address economic and trade issues to help the legal economies in the region. This package provides important assistance needed now to a government with the will and ability to act.

The drug problem is not going to be solved overnight. To confront this threat, we must work locally, as well as internationally. We must provide assistance so those who have been seduced by drug use can get help, but we also--and I would say this has to be our first focus--we also must keep people from becoming addicts in the first place. This means education and prevention. It means using the law to punish those who break it, providing the resources to help those who become addicted, and it also means focused programs to stop drugs at the source. That means that it is in both the moral and strategic interest of the United States to support the Government of Colombia in its efforts to rid the country of drug production. We should not squander this opportunity.

As of June 25, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S21JN0-228:
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