The Miami Herald
February 16, 2000
Colombia needs anti-drug help, McCaffrey says

 States News Service

 WASHINGTON -- White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey warned a House panel
 Tuesday that Colombia is unlikely to advance in its fight against the drug trade
 unless it gets additional drug interdiction aid from the United States.

 McCaffrey lobbied for a $1.6 billion aid package to Colombia -- including $1.3
 billion in new funds -- before the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug
 Policy and Human Resources.

 Although drug cultivation in Bolivia and Peru has gone down, the business has
 shifted to Colombia in areas where leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary
 units prevent Colombian police from conducting anti-drug efforts, McCaffrey said.

 ``Continued expansion of drug production in Colombia will likely result in more
 drugs being shipped to the United States,'' McCaffrey said in testimony before the

 Colombia has seen the growing of coca -- which provides the raw material for
 cocaine -- jump from under 126,000 acres of land cultivated in 1995 to more than
 300,000 acres cultivated in 1999, McCaffrey said.

 Although potential cocaine production dropped in other Andean countries, in
 Colombia it jumped from 230 metric tons in 1995 to 520 metric tons in 1999.

 Heroin production in Colombia has also increased -- nearly 15,000 acres of that
 country are now cultivated with opium poppies, McCaffrey said.

 The administration's two-year aid package would finance a number of anti-drug
 measures, including training and equipment for two counterdrug battalions.

 It would also provide 30 UH-60 Black Hawk and 15 UH-1N Huey helicopters to the
 Colombian army to help move troops.

 Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., who chairs the House Government Reform Committee,
 worried that the plan heavily favors the Colombian military, who he sees as having
 a ``dubious'' human rights record.

                     Copyright 2000 Miami Herald