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5 August 1999

Colombia Support Network's Statement on the Barry McCaffrey Proposal

The Colombia Support Network calls upon President Clinton and the U.S. Congress to reject the call of General Barry McCaffrey for increased military aid to Colombia. Drug policy czar McCaffrey couched his request for $1 billion in emergency assistance in terms of strengthening the Colombian government's efforts against drugs. General McCaffrey has in the past blurred the distinction between combatting drug traffickers and fighting a counterinsurgency war against Colombian guerrillas.

In practice, U.S. aid has assisted the Colombian military which has maintained links to paramilitary organizations led by Carlos Castaño and other persons known to be participants in drug-trafficking. These links were clearly revealed when the military, advised by a judge in the town of Mapiripán in the Meta Department that paramilitaries were engaged in carrying out a massacre of townspeople, did nothing to intervene - even though the Colombian government has classified these paramilitaries as illegal. In other words, U.S. aid to the Colombian military and police, in the name of the War on Drugs, helps them collaborate with drug trafficking paramilitaries to slaughter innocent civilians. The U.S. government should support the peace process and grass roots community organizations which seek peace with justice. More military aid will increase military action and make it even harder to achieve peace.

We call for the protection of innocent peasants, teachers, priests, human rights workers, labor leaders and all the others whose lives are threatened by militarism. The underlying cause of the war in Colombia is not drugs, but rather a very inequitable distribution of economic resources in that country. We call upon the U.S. government to support the grass roots organizations working to improve economic conditions for the great majority of Colombian people through community action. Examples of supportive community action are groups such as the Peace Community in Urabá and the civilian organizations in the Middle Magdalena region who renounce arms, oppose the guerrillas' strategies and tactics of assasinations and kidnapping, and have born the brunt of attacks from the paramilitary thugs.

Please write letters or send faxes of protest to the following individuals.

President William Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
fax: 202 456-2461

Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright
2201 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20520
fax: 202 647-1533

Secretary of Defense
William Cohen
1000 Defense, The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
fax: 703 697-9080

General Barry McCaffrey
Executive Office of the President
Washingtion, DC 20503
fax: 202 395-6640

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701
(608) 257-8753 fax (608) 255-6621