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  Clinton Vows To Get More Anti-Drug Aid to Colombia
Posted by FoM on November 10, 1999 at 19:48:36 PT
By George Gedda, Associated Press 
Source: Fox News 

Clinton The Clinton administration promised a major effort Wednesday to overcome budget obstacles in Congress to providing Colombia more aid for combating its skyrocketing cocaine production.

U.S. officials also offered a glowing account of Mexico's counter-narcotics program and its record hauls of confiscated marijuana and heroin over the past year.

President Clinton, seeking to reassure Colombian authorities who want $1.5 billion in U.S. funding as part of a $7.5 billion anti-drug plan, issued a statement saying that fighting the drug war is "very much in America's own national interest.''

His comments came after Colombia lost out in the Capitol Hill competition for scarce foreign assistance dollars during budget negotiations.

Both the administration and Republicans initially suggested more aid in fiscal 2000 for Colombia, which got $300 million in 1999. White House drug policy director Barry McCaffrey suggested as much as a $2 billion aid package and Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., introduced a $1.5 billion plan.

But the plan failed to go anywhere as Republicans accused Clinton of wanting to dip into Social Security to help finance foreign aid and the administration backed away.

Clinton said he hoped Congress would approve $78 million to help Colombian President Andres Pastrana fight drugs, and authorize spending $305 million to battle the narcotics trade worldwide. A pending foreign aid bill does not provide any special allocation for Colombia, and proposes $285 million overall.

The president said he anticipates providing more money to Colombia early next year by using so-called "draw down authority'' to tap into funds, although he didn't specify how much.

"I have asked my senior advisers to work with Congress, following completion of the budget process, to enhance our bilateral assistance for counter-drug efforts and for other programs to help President Pastrana deepen democracy and promote prosperity,'' Clinton said.

Mexico, meanwhile, has emerged as a bright spot in the administration's counterdrug efforts. McCaffrey, after two days of high-level discussions with Mexican officials, was effusive about Mexican drug interdiction efforts.

"The numbers are spectacular,'' he told reporters. "There has been enhanced vigilance and effectiveness by both Mexican and U.S. authorities to seize drugs from these criminal cartels.''

Mexican Attorney General Jorge Madrazo said record hauls of 1,235 tons of marijuana and 185 kilograms of heroin have been seized by Mexico over the past year. He said the 25.5 tons of confiscated cocaine was one of the highest totals in recent years.

Tensions between the United States and Mexico over drug trafficking have been palpable at times over the past decade but the public posture of both sides lately suggests an unusually high degree of mutual trust and confidence. In contrast to past years, criticism of Mexico in Congress has dropped off considerably.

"We have abandoned the old approach where we used to blame each other,'' said Mexican Foreign Secretary Rosario Green. "Now, we are adopting a policy where cooperation and joint work are the golden rule.''

Among U.S. government agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been a hotbed of ant-Mexican sentiment, particularly under the leadership of DEA's recently departed director, Thomas Constantine.

The DEA remains wary about the vulnerability of Mexican institutions to drug cartels.

Richard Fiano, DEA chief of operations, said in congressional testimony in September that "continuing reports of corruption and the rapidly growing power and influence of the major organized criminal groups in Mexico cause us great concern about the long-term prospects for success.''

MCaffrey admitted that the administration had hit a bump in the road in its bid to assist Colombia's efforts to curb drug trafficking, revive a faltering economy and negotiate a peace settlement with leftist guerrillas.

"It does not appear as if, in the short term, we will be able to achieve our stated purpose,'' he conceded.

November 10, 1999
comments@newsdigital.com
1999, News America Digital Publishing, Inc.

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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on November 11, 1999 at 18:50:09 PT
"A Splendid Little War!"
During the Spanish-American War, the Hearst Papers, always ready to dispense tripe and drivel (such as the mythos of 'Reefer Madness') wrote the above comment to signify the general *supposed* popularity of the conflict.

Well, the media doesn't seem to have learned a thing about foreign adventurism, despite their own enormous influence during the Vietnam Era. Once again, we are being prepared for entry into another conflict which only affects us for two reasons: American corporate holdings and the War on (Some) Drugs.

The former is just as blatant as the latter; Latin America is a market rich in natural resources... and desperate people eager to work for a pittance. The American corporations that work there have more wealth than many of those nations combined. And they intend to keep that wealth if it means that they must hire thugs to terrorize anyone that threatens their profit margins.

Very few of the industries down there are completely free from Yanqui influence...even coca (and now, heroin) production. Which fuels both the Left and Right, government and rebel. But it is the rebels that the multinationals are scared of. Rebels whose plans don't include putting on a corporate tie and working in an office as the local company mouthpiece; in fact they don't include the corporations *at all*.

Hence the propaganda campaign. "Marxist rebels control the countryside, slaughtering innocent civilians while trafficking in drugs." Perfect excuse for intervention by US forces. They can say they are killing two birds with one stone, simultaneously fighting the Wo(S)D and saving Columbian 'democracy' from Godless Communism. How efficient of them.

So, now, we are being prepped for another "Splendid Little War"... unless we remember how we slid sideways into Vietnamese quicksand and how painful it was to get out.

BTW, I am vet, and today is Veteran's Day, a time to reflect on the price of freedom and peace. I know of few vets so embittered that they wouldn't put their lives on the line, again, for their country.

Note, I said 'country', not government. And it is the forces corrupting government that get us into wars. Forces as represented by MISTER McCaffrey and his brethren, who for the supposedly best of reasons, do the worst of things.

Remember these words, when the first bodybags start coming into Dover AFB from Colombia.

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 10, 1999 at 20:01:15 PT:

Colombia Seeks U.S. Military Helicopters

Colombia Seeks U.S. Military Helicopters

November 10, 1999
Reuters
http://news.excite.com/international/

WASHINGTON

Colombia says it wants to buy 14 "Blackhawk" military helicopters from the United States for $221 million to beef up its forces in the war against Marxist guerrillas and drug cartels, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

The Defense Department said the deal was not final, but that the UH-60L helicopters, some armed with machine guns and rockets, would "improve the security of a friendly country which has been and continues to be an important force in the war on drugs."

Such a sale would be part of a renewed U.S. effort to help the South American country improve its military capability in the long war against drug cartels and the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Defense Department said the helicopters, made by United Technologies Corp., would help Colombian forces upgrade both day and night mission capability for the defense of government installations and provide close air support for ground forces.

The FARC is involved in protecting the production and shipment of drugs to help finance their long-running war to topple the state. It is also reported to have stepped up kidnappings and extortion rackets in Bogota over the last year in an effort to raise fresh finances.

At least 35,000 people have died in the last 10 years of fighting and FARC commanders pledged recently to target major urban centers in a bid to bring their three-decade-old uprising in from remote rural regions to Colombia's towns and cities.

Copyright 1995-1999 Excite Inc.

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