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Last Updated:10/05/01
Speech by Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-New York), July 24, 2001
Mr. Chairman, lest our friends on the other side of the aisle forget that the Plan Colombia concept was a Clinton administration proposal to help save Colombia from becoming a failed narco-state on the Clinton watch, we need to stay the course. We have not even delivered most of the equipment we promised to Plan Colombia, the helicopters that were provided for. In fact, they just started arriving this month. So how can we attest to the fact that this is a failure? It has not even started in full. Let us be fair and accurate in this debate.

With what we in the Congress previously gave to the Colombian National Police ahead of Plan Colombia, their antidrug units are already about to totally eliminate opium this year, the source of more than 70 percent of the heroin coming to the United States. We also eradicated 30,000 hectares of coca in southern Colombia with Plan Colombia, all since mid-December of 2000, far ahead of schedule.

All the above was accomplished in the year 2000 by the anti-narcotics police without one credible allegation of human rights abuse against its antidrug units. In April, 2000, the Institute for Defense Analysis, the IDA, reports that our efforts with the anti-narcotics police in Colombia, both in eradication as well as hitting labs and breaking up major trafficking organizations, have produced the lowest purity and the highest prices here for cocaine since early 1985, the lowest purity and the highest prices since 1985.

This low purity and high prices for cocaine in 15 years here at home means less and less young people are going to become addicted to cocaine, and they will not require the expensive treatment and incarceration in our Nation.

So I repeat, Mr. Chairman, less and less American kids are going to be addicted to cocaine because of what we are doing under Plan Colombia today, despite the uninformed critics, who offer no real workable alternatives.

So let us stay the course. Fighting drugs at their source is still the best and most cost-effective way, before they arrive on our shorelines, destroying our young people, increasing crime in our communities, and producing even more costs in treatment and incarceration.

Accordingly, I urge our colleagues to defeat the McGovern amendment and make certain that we are not going to surrender in this war on drugs.

As of October 3, 2001, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20010724)
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