Pubdate: Sun, 28 Nov 2004
Source: Joplin Globe, The (MO)
Copyright: 2004 The Joplin Globe
Author: Jean A. Blackwood


During President Bush's visit to Colombia he vowed to renew Plan Colombia
for another five years.

This could mean another $3 billion in taxpayer funds going to fund an
inhumane counternarcotics effort and to prop up an abusive military.
U.S. assistance to Colombia has already totaled about $3.9 billion
from 2000 to 2005. Eighty percent - $3.14 billion of it - has gone to
Colombia's military, police and a drug crop-eradication program based
on aerial herbicide fumigation. Yet a recent DEA report found that
availability and purity of cocaine in the U.S. has remained stable.

Though cocoa production in Colombia has dropped, it has increased by
the same amount in Bolivia. Why continue a policy that doesn't work?

The Colombian military has a long history of human-rights abuses;
rather than insisting on reforms, the United States has rewarded the
military with more aid. We know that U.S. forces are stretched thin
and there is talk of sending 50,000 more troops to Iraq, yet Congress
recently approved a Bush administration proposal to double the number
of U.S. troops stationed in Colombia. If Plan Colombia is reauthorized
for another five years, we could see even greater levels of U.S.

The Congress told Mr. Bush "no" recently when he asked for more
funding to develop new nuclear weapons.

They should also say no to a renewed Plan Colombia.

Jean A. Blackwood

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