by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), June 21, 2000
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
As of June 25, 2000, this document
was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S21JN0-228: