by Rep. John L. Mica (R-Florida), July 24, 2001
Chairman, this amendment really is not about allocation of child survival
and health programs funding. Because if you just take a moment to look at
the history here, we have $1.4 billion, nearly $1.5 billion allocated this
year. Some 4 years ago, it was half the amount. It took a Republican Congress
to increase this program, and it is an important program, and it is a targeted
program which will aid in child survival worldwide.
But that is not the
debate here. The debate is to really declare war on Plan Colombia. Some
of the same opponents, Mr. Chairman, that we had toward giving any assistance
to the Colombian military are the same opponents that we have here today.
We have heard that
this is a purely military solution. Mr. Chairman, we have not had the
military involved in Colombia really until this Plan Colombia came about.
The Clinton administration blocked all of the military assistance to Colombia.
Time and time again the Congress appropriated funds for helicopters. What
do we need helicopters and transport vehicles to get to the Colombian
military for? To get to the violence and get to the drugs. It does not
take rocket science to figure this out. The drugs, the heroin, the cocaine
are in the hills and distant lands in Colombia; and you need a way to
Just a few minutes
ago we dedicated a moment of silence to two Capitol police officers to
whom as Members we will always be indebted because they sacrificed their
lives to protect us. Do you know how many Colombian police have died to
date? Over 5,000. There will be no moment of silence for those 5,000 Colombian
We have been to Colombia,
many times. The Speaker helped develop this program. The administration
for years blocked military assistance, and we got a huge increase in the
production of heroin. From zero in 1993 to 70 percent of all the heroin
coming into the United States is now coming in from Colombia because they
blocked the military from stopping it.
Yes, there is violence
out on the right side. You hear them talk about the military and how they
are committing crimes. They did not tell you about the left wing, the
FARC. They did not tell you about the ELN who cut people's throats, who
use people in the most abusive ways you can ever imagine in human rights
violations; and the terror is equally divided on both sides.
But they do not tell
you that in order to stop the violence, to even get the police there without
being slaughtered in Colombia, that you need some way to get them there.
The key to that is our military assistance, the military, which we are
training three battalions, providing helicopters and assistance to get
them there. They encircle an area, and the police come in, arrest the
terrorists and drug dealers, all of whom are financing the terrorism that
has killed 35,000 people.
Do you want to care
about human rights? Then allow Plan Colombia to at least go forward for
1 year. The aid is not even there. The helicopters that we begged and
pleaded with the Congress and this administration to send there 3 and
4 years ago, are still not there. The last time I was there, they had
four helicopters that were operating part of the time, and one was being
cannibalized for parts. Now, how do you run an effective anti-illegal
narcotics campaign like that?
Over one-half of
the package is for assistance. If the assistance is not there, then get
after the Department of State to get the assistance for alternative crop
development and other programs to help people. But you will not build
roads, you will not build schools, you will not save people's lives in
Colombia until you have a comprehensive plan to make it all work.
So do not pull the
guts out of the plan. Do not destroy a well-balanced plan that has protections
against human rights abuses, that has a targeted approach and balance
between a small amount of military delivering troops who are trained to
an area to protect police.
You have heard about
sacrifice of U.S. values. Well, the U.S. values our freedom.
Mr. Chairman, sacrifice
of U.S. values, I heard that. Freedom and human rights. Well, there will
not be freedom in Colombia while they are killing each other.
It is in the United
States' interests, it is in our interests as a neighbor not to let our
friends continue killing our friends, just as it was in any other country
in South America or around the world where we sent our assistance. But,
in this case, there are no troops involved, only training and assistance
and close supervision.
Mr. McGOVERN. Mr.
Chairman, I just wanted to respond to the points the gentleman made that
we are trying to take the guts out of this package. Let me remind the
gentleman that $152 million in police aid is in this package; $72 million
in police aid is in the pipeline, and an estimated $80 million in military
Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman,
reclaiming my time, you can take that police aid and dump it in the Potomac
River, because the police will never be effective unless they are protected
to go in there. You will have another 5,000 police lose their lives in
As of October 3, 2001,
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