Clinton To Unveil Aid Package For Colombia 

Clinton To Unveil Aid Package For Colombia 
Posted by FoM on January 10, 2000 at 18:08:24 PT
By George Gedda, The Associated Press
Source: Alabama Live
President Clinton is prepared to unveil a two-year, $1.2 billion aid program for Colombia to assist that country in its counter-narcotics effort as well as in economic development, judicial reform and other areas. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified. With Colombia embroiled in a nasty civil war and serving as the principal cocaine source in U.S. markets, the administration has made the country its No. 1 priority in Latin America. 
It already ranks third in overall U.S. military assistance, and the new program is expected to raise American involvement there to new heights. The overall aid package for the current fiscal year is about $300 million. Although details were sketchy Monday night, the bulk of the program is expected to be geared toward assisting Colombia's counter-narcotics program, with some funds earmarked for military forces assigned to protect anti-drug police units. Additional funds are will be used to encourage Colombian farmers to develop crops other than coca leaf and other narcotics plants. There also will be money for protection of human rights workers and the training of judges and prosecutors as part of an ambitious judicial reform program. Steps also will be taken to revitalize the country's moribund economy, now in its worst recession in decades. The new package reflects the cooperative relationship the administration has established with President Andres Pastrana since he assumed office 17 months ago. The administration had limited dealings with his predecessor, Ernesto Samper, accusing him of having links to narcotraffickers. U.S. officials welcomed a controversial decision by Colombian authorities late last year to resume the extradition of drug kingpins wanted in the United States. Pastrana came to Washington last September saying his country needed $3.5 billion in assistance over three years to supplement $4 billion in locally generated funds to attack the country's myriad problems. Limited funds were forthcoming in budget negotiations on Capitol Hill last fall but Clinton promised a major assistance effort to in early 2000. Details of the program, worked out by an inter-agency task force, were expected Tuesday afternoon. The administration is barred from assisting Colombia combat Marxist guerrillas and instead concentrates on assisting in the counter-narcotics effort. But the policy has led to some confusion because the guerrillas often work hand-in-hand with the narcotraffickers. Concern here over the situation in Colombia has become particularly acute over the past year as officials realized that an extensive coca eradication program was unable to prevent an explosion in coca production. The country is not only the world's leading producer and distributor of cocaine, it also is a major supplier of heroin and marijuana. Published: January 10, 2000Copyright 1999 Associated Press.Related Articles:U.S. to Give Colombia $1 Billion to Fight Drugs-1/07/2000 Feels Pain of Diminished Drug Income - 12/04/99 Statement on U.S. Support for Colombia - 11/15/99
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on January 11, 2000 at 06:25:06 PT
We never learn
3.5 Billion. How many schools could we build for 3.5 Billion? How many elderly people dependant on Social Security could breathe a little easier if that money could be rolled into making Social Security more solvent?Instead, as Chris and Mike said, we'll never see any of that money again.But we've sure bought a lot of bullets for right-wing vigilante groups to kill peasants with. Yep, business as usual.
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Comment #2 posted by Mike on January 11, 2000 at 05:04:39 PT:
Bye bye 
You'll never ever see that money again.
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Comment #1 posted by Chris Campbell on January 10, 2000 at 21:42:10 PT:
Kiss that money goodbye
The taxpayers can be assured that not a dime of that money is a solid investment.
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