Pubdate: Thu, 30 Mar 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Contact:  Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-4712
Note: Headline modified for clarity by editor

Proposed Aid To Colombia (2 LTE's)

Your March 27 editorial, "Congress Must Act on Colombia," advocates
another act of aggression by the U.S government on a Third World
country, this time in the name of fighting drugs. The $1.3 billion in
military aid to Colombia would benefit Occidental Petroleum and the
U.S military corporations that are lobbying steadily in Washington.
The $1.3 billion in American tax dollars could be used for drug
treatment and other programs to fight drug use.

Human rights organizations have found links between the Colombian
military and paramilitary death squads and the massacre of
noncombatants, including members of religious communities. Indigenous
people were forced out of their lands for the purpose of oil drilling
by corporations. A look at the history of U.S. interventions in Latin
America should give us pause rather than reason to plunge into
violence against innocent people. Basta!

Shaee Khatapoush
Los Angeles

* * *

Your editorial offers great support to our country's misguided drug
war but little support for solutions to Colombia's problems. The U.S.
drug war is a failure. Interdiction is a failed policy. Destroying the
source of the drugs is a failed policy. You mention nothing about the
helicopters that the $1.3 billion will provide for the Colombian
government to keep its opposition under control.

The use of $1.3 billion toward education and treatment of drug
addiction in this country would be more of a solution. And the real
solution is to finally learn from our lessons of the Prohibition
era--that making alcohol illegal increased the cost and the
desirability of booze and created a plethora of criminal activities in
our country and abroad. It would be helpful if The Times would cease
pandering to this hopeless government policy.

Ralph Long
Newport Beach
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