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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Uribe Acts: Pelosi Allayed?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's main excuse for trying to kill the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is that Colombian President Álvaro Uribe winks at atrocities by his country's illegal paramilitary groups. The charge has always been false, and yesterday Mr. Uribe proved it by extraditing 14 "para" leaders to the U.S.

The 14 include major paramilitary leaders who have been engaged in a long struggle against FARC terrorists. Mr. Uribe has been fighting the FARC even as he has tried to reduce violence by the "paras," who have sometimes been complicit in killing trade unionists. The 14 have been serving time in Colombian prisons for various offenses and are wanted in the U.S. for drug trafficking. They had been arrested under a Justice and Peace law that allowed them to avoid extradition if they agreed to certain conditions.

But Mr. Uribe said yesterday that the 14 had failed to honor those commitments, which included compensating their victims. The popular two-term president said some of them were continuing to run criminal gangs from prison, and so they were put on Drug Enforcement Agency aircraft for the flight to face trial in the U.S.

The tone of the WSJ article as well as the Gateway Pundit piece that I found it through is quite cynical. Neither source expects anything to change regarding the free trade deal. I don't disagree. Pelosi's insistence that Colombia wasn't doing enough to confront its criminal element was always a trojan horse. Anyone that has been following the transformation in Colombia since Uribe has taken over knows full well that he will one day be their George Washington. What he has done in that country is truly remarkable and the stats speak for themselves. Anyone who has followed to evolution of this trade deal knows full well that Pelosi has sold out our biggest ally in the Western Hemisphere in order to pander to the unions. I welcome anyone to debate me on that issue if they think I am wrong.
I would rather focus on something nearly as important. The fourteen that have been extradited are really bad guys. They make their livings trafficking drugs that ultimately wind up killing lots of folks, and then use those profits to commit acts of terror both in Colombia and elsewhere. Now, they will face their day of justice in an American court.
Whether or not this will lead to the trade deal being consummated is one issue. The fact that these folks are heading toward justice is a good thing either way.

1 comment:

Nicolas said...

Speech by Nancy Pelosi (D-California), March 29, 2000
[Page: H1492]
Mr. MOAKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi).

Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his great leadership on human rights throughout this hemisphere and throughout the world.

Mr. Speaker, it is almost impossible to listen to the chairman of the Committee on Rules claim that this is an open rule. Perhaps the word `open' to him means open only to Republicans; Democrats need not apply with amendments.

This bill has been called an emergency because we have an emergency in the drug abuse situation in our country. Indeed, we do. Mr. Speaker, 5.5 million people in America are in need of substance abuse treatment, but this rule is closed to any consideration of those people. It allows 10 minutes for an amendment to consider military assistance to Colombia in order to eradicate the coca leaf which flies in the face of all of the research on how we reduce demand in the U.S.

But do not take my word for it.

As the distinguished ranking member referred to earlier, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), the Rand report, which was put together, the research was sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, by the U.S. Army, and the Rand's Drug Policy Research Center, this report says that for every dollar spent on treatment on demand is 23 times more effective than coca leaf eradication in the source country. What that means, Mr. Speaker, is that if one wants to reduce substance abuse in this country 1 percent, one would spend $34 million, $34 million on treatment on demand; and that 1 percent reduction in the source country would be $723 million for the same result.

Yes, we have an emergency in our country. Mr. Speaker, 5.5 million, as I said, Americans are in need of substance abuse treatment. Two million of them are receiving it, and 3.5 million people are in need.

My amendment for $600 million would have addressed the need of 5 percent of those people, 5 percent; and yet this rule closed us down to have these Members on both sides of the aisle recognize the need in our own country for treatment on demand and for prevention. It is a dollar better spent. Everyone agrees to that. It has a result that is documented, and yet we could not even have an amendment.

How can we have a drug bill on this floor that talks about the emergency of substance abuse in our country that does not allow $1 to be spent on prevention and treatment on demand? It simply does not make sense.

and then

The Gilman/Goss/Delahunt/Farr human rights condition amendment

Reps. Porter Goss (R-Naples, Florida), Benjamin Gilman (R-Middletown, New York), William Delahunt (D-Quincy, Massachusetts) and Sam Farr (D-Salinas, California) introduced an amendment that would have conditioned military assistance to Colombia on the following:

1. Agreement by the government of Colombia to a strategy to completely eliminate illicit drug cultivation by 2005;

LOL "porter goss" and "human rights" in the same sentence LOL