by Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Arizona), July 24, 2001
my time, Mr. Chairman, I think most of the points that need to be made about
the eradication, the fumigation, the spraying program in Colombia have been
made. There is only one that I would like to make before responding directly
to the question or the comments that were made by the gentleman from Michigan,
and that is that we have seen over and over again that unless we have this,
I do not like to use the word hammer, but unless we have this leverage of
this fumigation program, we have found that farmers do not sign up for the
alternative development programs.
I was down there.
Time and again we found this to be the case. Once you were serious and
showed that you were ready, prepared to fumigate, then the farmers were
ready to sign up for the alternative economic development. Without that,
you really do not have much leverage to get them involved in the program.
I think there is a good reason why we really need to have the fumigation
Having said that,
let me just say to the gentleman from Michigan that I am as concerned
as he is about the alternative economic assistance programs down there.
When we were there in the Putumayo region in Puerto Asis, we heard over
and over again from farmers that the fumigation is going on and they are
not getting the kind of economic assistance that had been promised to
The message that
we left with our USAID people down there and that we have conveyed to
them since we have been back here is that those programs must go apace,
they must go along with this. You cannot have the fumigation, you cannot
have the spraying if you do not give people some alternative of something
they can do. In response to the fumigation, as an alternative for it,
they need to have some kind of economic livelihood that they can pursue
in these regions.
So I would say to
the gentleman that I quite agree with him, that it is absolutely imperative,
absolutely important that the money that we have set aside, which is substantial
in this bill, half of the money is set aside for alternative economic
development in this region, that that money be set aside and that they
use that money, they contract with the contractors they have available
down there, they get this money into the region and that we do the alternative
economic assistance. It is absolutely imperative that we do that. Without
that, our credibility is nil. We may have sprayed the area, but we have
not given the people any basis on which they can rebuild an economic life
for themselves. I quite agree with the gentleman.
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)