Pubdate: Sun, 15 Sep 2002
Source: Chapel Hill News (NC)
Copyright: 2002 Chapel Hill News
Author: Noreen Ordronneau
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


U.S. taxpayers are being asked to fund a war in Colombia. The $1.5 billion 
in aid to Colombia approved three years ago dramatically failed. It focused 
on killing coca plants with aerial defoliants -- according to the White 
House Office of National Drug Policy, the coca crop increased by 25 percent 
last year.

Now the Bush administration is requesting another $700 million in aid to 
Colombia and the Andean region, most of which is military aid. It would be 
used to support the 40-year civil war in Colombia.

Colombia's new president, Alvaro Uribe, has proposed that a million 
Colombians become informants for government security armed with radios and 
possibly guns. Who could control 1 million armed civilians?

When Uribe was governor of Antioquia, a similar program strengthened the 
illegal paramilitary groups in the region. This led to a growth in cases of 
torture, disappearances and massacres.

Sectors of the Colombian military continue to work closely with brutal 
paramilitary groups that commit the majority of politically motivated 
killings in Colombia each year, according to the State Department Human 
Rights Report.

Urge your senators and representatives to vote no on further military aid 
to Colombia. Do not support mission creep -- changing the focus of U.S. aid 
from counter-narcotics to counter-terrorism. It is time for the United 
States to support a negotiated end to the war in Colombia, aid for 
alternative development programs, judicial reform and support for drug 
treatment on demand here in this country.

Noreen Ordronneau, Carrboro
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