Pubdate: Mon, 17 Apr 2000
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: Alejandro Mojica


As a native of Colombia, I feel compelled to point some facts that
Barry McCaffrey omitted in his March 27 column about international
involvement in Colombia and the $1.6 billion assistance package:

* Most of the money will be spent in military equipment and

* Fumigation will not only have catastrophic long-term effects on the
environment but will also kill the crops that very few peasants have
reluctantly agreed to substitute.

* According to Amnesty International, the "national democratic forces
trying to defend an elected government" are largely responsible for
the violation of human rights.

* The recrudescence of the conflict that this injection of money will
result in 200,000 more displaced civilians, many of whom will
eventually end up joining either the guerrilla or the paramilitary

Colombia needs international assistance to build social stability, not
to exacerbate the level of violence. The best assistance that the U.S.
Senate could give to my beleaguered country would be to reject the
package as it is proposed.

Alejandro Mojica
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