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USIS Washington File

20 October 1999

Texts: U.S. Senators Introduce Comprehensive Aid Plan for Colombia

(DeWine and Coverdell propose $1,600 million package)  (1860)
Senators Mike DeWine (Republican of Ohio) and Paul Coverdell
(Republican of Georgia) are sponsoring legislation that would provide
$1,600 million in aid to Colombia through fiscal year 2002.
Speaking at an October 20 news conference, DeWine and Coverdell
introduced their anti-drug legislation aimed at promoting peace and
stability in Colombia. The legislators described it as a comprehensive
regional strategy, entitled "The Anti-Drug Alliance with Colombia and
the Andean Region of 1999" or "The Alianza Act of 1999." While
primarily focusing on the southern region of Colombia, the bill also
encompasses Latin America as a whole.
The plan to assist Colombia would target new cultivation and mobilize
the military in fighting the war against illicit coca and opium poppy,
its authors said, noting that the bill calls for the Colombian
government to assist U.S. efforts in law enforcement. Under the
proposed legislation, the U.S. funding would be used to combat
violence and regional instability caused by drug trafficking in
Colombia, and to bolster that country's faltering democratic
institutions. The senators pointed out that the U.S. government has an
interest in ensuring that the narco-guerrilla threat in Colombia does
not cause similar outbreaks of violence and instability in neighboring
countries.
The package would include funds for alternative crop and economic
development efforts, along with counter-narcotics operations. This
agenda would assist other Latin American countries as well, such as
Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Panama, the senators
said.
Following are the texts of the DeWine and Coverdell press releases:
(Note: In the texts "billion" means 1,000 million)
(begin text of DeWine press release)
UNITED STATES SENATOR -- OHIO
Mike DeWine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 1999
CONTACT: Charles Boesel
         Amy Ricketts
         (202)) 224-2315
DEWINE/COVERDELL INTRODUCE ANTI-DRUG LEGISLATION
TO PROMOTE PEACE AND STABILITY IN COLOMBIA
U.S. Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Paul Coverdell (R-GA) today
introduced their comprehensive, strategic package to address the
violence and instability in Colombia. The Anti-Drug Alliance with
Colombia and the Andean Region of 1999 is designed to promote peace
and stability in Colombia and the Latin American region. The
comprehensive $1.6 billion package would support anti-drug efforts,
economic development, and human rights and 'rule of law' programs.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is an original co-sponsor of the
legislation.
"A guiding principle in American foreign policy this century has been
that peace and stability within our own hemisphere is a primary
concern," stated Senator DeWine. "More than a decade ago, the biggest
threat to stability from within our hemisphere was Communism. Today,
the Communists have been replaced by drug traffickers and the thugs
they hire to protect their lucrative industry. The result is violence,
regional instability, and the crumbling of democracy. To prevent this
volatile situation in our own backyard from escalating any further,
Senator Coverdell and I have designed a comprehensive, strategic plan
to counter the increasing drug threat and encourage government
accountability in the areas of human rights and judicial reform."
The Anti-Drug Alliance with Colombia and the Andean Region of 1999
would authorize up to $1.6 billion in spending in Fiscal Years
2000-2002 to support alternative crop and economic development, drug
interdiction programs, human rights and 'rule of law' programs, and
military and police counter-narcotics operations. Crop alternative
development programs and counter-narcotics assistance would also be
provided for other Latin American countries, including Bolivia,
Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
-- $540 million to support urgent new programs of the Colombian
government to attack the new cultivation and illicit coca and opium
poppy in southern Colombia. This would include funds for helicopters,
additional eradication aircraft, communications gear, and intelligence
and communications training and equipment.
-- $200 million to increase nationwide air interdiction programs.
Additional airborne and ground-based radar capacity would enhance
Colombian capability to detect suspicious aircraft; while new aerial
refueling aircraft, remote airfield construction, and fuel supplies
would enhance Colombian ability to intercept illicit flights.
-- $205 million to enhance nationwide law enforcement capabilities to
counter drug activities. This funding would provide for updated
equipment, parts, and aircraft for the Colombian National Police and
the Colombian Navy in their efforts to combat drug trafficking.
-- $100 million to bolster human rights and 'rule of law' programs in
Colombia, focusing on judicial assistance reform, such as the training
of Colombian prosecutors, judges and other judicial officials, and the
strengthening of existing human rights monitors within the ranks of
the military; monitoring assistance, providing that a certain
percentage of total U.S. military assistance to the Colombian military
under this act be used for monitoring purposes; displaced population
aid, providing humanitarian assistance, such as temporary
resettlement, food, and non-food aid, to the forcibly displaced
population of Colombia; and support for the Colombian Attorney
General's Office in their efforts to investigate and prosecute members
of Colombian Security Forces and irregular forces involved in drug
trafficking or human rights violations.
-- $505 million to enhance regional drug interdiction programs,
including $320 million for additional U.S. agency costs, $60 million
for the Drug Enforcement Administration, $40 million for regional
intelligence, and $85 million to improve interdiction programs in
Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Panama. The Act recognizes that the
narco-guerrilla threat in Colombia could cause dangerous instability
in neighboring countries.
-- $180 million for alternative development programs. Colombia would
receive $50 million, Bolivia $90 million, and Peru $40 million. The
Act recognizes that eradication and law enforcement efforts must be
complemented by programs to provide the desperate poor with other
means for survival than drug-trafficking.
"This is a cooperative effort to help Colombia begin to help itself,"
said Senator DeWine. "It is in our national interest to support
Colombia in its effort to restore peace and stability. Without a
strong Colombia, narco-traffickers will flourish, an abundant and
steady flow of illicit drugs will head for the United States, one of
our largest export markets in the Western Hemisphere will continue to
falter, and a neighboring democratic government will further erode.
This comprehensive package is a way for our two countries to work
together to eliminate drugs from our hemisphere and to begin to
restore democracy and the 'rule of law' in Colombia."
(end text of DeWine press release)
(begin text of Coverdell press release)
UNITES STATES SENATE
PAUL COVERDELL
United States Senator -- Georgia
For more information, contact:
Laura Cox/Donna King/Eryn Witcher; (202) 224-8049
THE ALLIANCE WITH COLOMBIA AND THE ANDEAN REGION
(ALIANZA) ACT OF 1999
A COMPREHENSIVE, REGIONAL STRATEGY: The Alianza Act of 1999 would
authorize up to $1.635 billion through the fiscal years 2000, 2001,
2002 to support anti-drug efforts, the rule of law, human rights,
economic development and the peace process in Colombia and "front
line" states.(1)
-- The sums and programs authorized by the Act reflect the
requirements expressed by the key U.S. government agencies and
governments in the region. These funds are in addition to the current
and expected level for existing U.S. anti-drug programs. Rather than
tie the President's hands, the Act would authorize broad categories of
spending on the condition that the Administration first presents a
comprehensive plan and notifies Congress before obligating funds.
TARGETING NEW CULTIVATION & MOBILIZING COLOMBIA'S MILITARY: The
Alianza Act of 1999 would authorize $540 million to support urgent new
programs by the Colombian government (including, the National Police,
Army, Navy, and Air Force) to attack the new cultivation of illicit
coca and opium poppy in southern Colombia. The Act would recognize
that the Colombian government has enlisted its military to support law
enforcement efforts against the wealthy and well-armed narco-guerrilla
groups that have spurned a year-long peace process.
-- The Act would authorize support for deploying the Colombian Army's
first counterdrug battalion in southern Colombia as well as training
and outfitting of two additional counterdrug battalions.
-- The Act would include funds for up to 15 Blackhawk or comparable
transport helicopters, communications gear, and intelligence and
communications training and equipment for the Army and Navy for
operations in southern Colombia.
-- Funds also would be authorized for additional eradication aircraft
for the Colombian National Police and to support the CNP's
groundbreaking joint operations with the military in southern
Colombia.
REINVIGORATING INTERDICTION: The Alianza Act of 1999 would authorize
$200 million to reinvigorate nationwide air interdiction programs,
recognizing that virtually all illicit drug shipments must exit
cultivation areas by air.
-- Additional airborne and ground-based radar capacity would enhance
the Colombians' capability to detect suspicious aircraft. New aerial
refueling aircraft, remote airfield construction, and fuel supplies
would enhance the ability of the Colombian Air Force to intercept
illicit flights.
ENHANCING POLICE AND NAVY LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES: The Alianza Act
of l999 would authorize $205 million to enhance nationwide law
enforcement capabilities of the Colombian National Police (CNP) and of
the Colombian Navy.
-- The CNP would receive a transport aircraft, spare engines and other
parts, additional Huey upgrade kits, and forward-look infrared radar
(FLIR) systems for U.S.-provided Hueys. Funds would also be provided
to establish CNP bases on the borders with Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and
Venezuela.
-- The Colombian Navy's nationwide riverine and coastal patrol
capability would be enhanced by 6 patrol planes, 4 helicopters, FLIR
systems, and 14 excess U.S. patrol craft (10 40-ft. and 4 82-ft.
boats).
BOLSTERING THE RULE OF LAW, HUMAN RIGHTS & PEACE: The Alianza Act of
1999 would seek to bolster the rule of law, human rights, and the
prospects for peace in Colombia, authorizing $100 million for related
activities.
-- The Act maintains the current Leahy amendments conditioning support
on human rights. The Act applies similar restrictions regarding
individuals found to have supported so-called paramilitary groups or
drug traffickers. It authorizes funds (up to one percent of the total
security assistance to the Colombian military) to monitor the use of
U.S. assistance by the Colombian armed forces.
-- The Act would include funds for the Colombian Attorney General's
Office; training of Colombian prosecutors, judges and other Colombian
judicial officials; witness protection programs; internationally
recognized human rights groups; U.S. Judge Advocate General training
for the Colombian military and for police investigative training;
police facilities; and to strengthen existing human rights monitors
within the ranks of the military.
-- The Act would authorize funds for international observers to
monitor compliance with any future peace accord as well as for
humanitarian assistance to the forcibly displaced population of
Colombia.
COUNTERING REGIONAL INSECURITY: The Alianza Act of 1999 will recognize
that the narco-guerrilla threat in Colombia could cause dangerous
instability in neighboring countries. The Act would authorize $410
million to enhance regional drug interdiction programs (including $325
million for additional U.S. agency costs and $85 million to improve
these programs in "front line states"). These funds include $50
million to help reinvigorate eradication and interdiction efforts in
Peru ($50 million).
DEVELOPING ALTERNATIVES TO THE DRUG TRADE: The Alianza Act of 1999
would recognize that eradication and law enforcement efforts must be
complemented by programs to provide the desperate poor with
alternative means for survival, and would authorize $180 million for
alternative development programs in Colombia ($50 million), Bolivia
($90 million), and Peru ($40 million).
(1) Front-line states include Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru,
and Venezuela.
(end text of Coverdell press release)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State)



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