On the same day that President Clinton used a White House press conference to
promote the $1.7 billion Colombian military aid package -- which Congress has
considered as part of the fiscal year 2000 supplemental appropriations bill --
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, took to the floor of the House to say, "No
Baldwin attacked the aid package as a misguided initiative that will not help
the peace process in Colombia. She's right.
The aid package pushed by Clinton and congressional Republicans would spend a
fortune to make everything in that Latin American country worse. It seeks to
direct U.S. money into Colombia's military, while failing to address fundamental
problems such as economic inequality, lack of economic development and a corrupt
Baldwin "Peace is what Colombia needs. Peace will allow democracy to
flourish; peace will permit law enforcement officials to combat the flow of
illicit drugs; and peace will create the conditions to address the income
inequalities, the problems of displaced persons and economic development issues
that will truly improve the lives of Colombian people,'' said Baldwin.
"Unfortunately, the aid package we are considering today will not help the
peace process,'' the Madison Democrat told the House. "In fact, it fails to
address the underlying issues that are needed to promote peace in Colombia.''
Baldwin, who visited Colombia in 1993 when she was a member of the Wisconsin
Assembly, has worked closely with the Madison-based Colombia Support Network to
educate other House members about the failure of the Colombian military to make
a serious effort to disband right-wing paramilitary groups. And she has long
questioned whether sending more U.S. weapons to the South American country will
result in a reduction of drug trafficking, as Clinton and his aides claim.
"Unfortunately, we seem to be playing a game of public relations when we
should be pursuing peace in the region,'' says Baldwin.
© 2000 The Capital Times