Pubdate: Wed, 03 Jul 2002
Source: Chapel Hill News (NC)
Copyright: 2002 Chapel Hill News
Author: Noreen Ordronneau


The recent visit of Colombia's President-elect, Alvaro Uribe, has garnered 
considerable media attention, and rightfully so. He won an unprecedented 
landslide victory in Colombia's presidential elections just a month ago. He 
was elected largely as a backlash to the failed policies of his predecessor 
Andres Pastrana to end their country's civil war. President-elect Uribe was 
expected to seek a shift in his country's strategies for ending their 
half-century old civil conflict. However, last week during his tour of 
Washington, Uribe simply clamored for more of the same. More guns, more 
helicopters, more freedom in how they can use them; in essence, more violence.

It's time we as U.S. taxpayers demand from Washington a new approach to 
Colombia and to the war on drugs. We would be hard-pressed to find a more 
colossal failure than our current policies towards our war-ravaged South 
American neighbor. We continue to commit the gross error of failing to 
address the true causes of the conflict. It is time to replace our failed 
"Drug War" policies that have only managed to hurt innocent Colombian 
farmers, bloat our jails, increase the availability of illicit drugs in the 
United States and waste our tax dollars all at the same time, for more 
sensible ones.

I can think of no better use of our money than to fund treatment-on-demand 
for the over one million United States citizens that are still waiting for 
one of the coveted spots in a drug rehabilitation clinic. Curbing our own 
drug habit would do more to help Colombia solve its internal conflict than 
all the military aid that Washington can muster. And this way we will be 
helping ourselves (and Colombia) rather than supporting a military with the 
worst human rights record in the hemisphere.

Noreen Ordronneau

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