Let me play devil’s advocate and take a position that conflicts with current Democratic Party thinking as well as that of my own organization. Although the U.S. has proven eager to spray the Colombian countryside with herbicides to prevent cocaine cultivation, it is unwilling to support a legitimate alternative to cocaine exportation. (“Colombia Goes Full Tilt to Return to Grace”, June 5th). The Democrats are taking a stand against PLAN Colombia and its anti-drug and counter-leftist insurgency program in order to register their unease over entering into a Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. In actuality, the Democrats in Congress are lacking the ability to make a judicious decision because they are not adequately aware of the social and economic origins of the forty-year-old war Colombia still is facing today. Uribe’s ties with the paramilitaries are, if anything accidental and not surprising, since many paramilitaries started off in the private security industry in order to protect both civilians and government officials from terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia ( FARC). Uribe’s involvement in private security matters much earlier in his career should not be mistaken for support of the paramilitaries .The Democrats are allowing themselves to be intimidated by the violence, assassinations and lethal threats back in Colombia. Reworking the failed Plan Colombia by emphasizing that the U.S. should only fund social justice issues and the war against drugs, not the war against the FARC which is Colombia’s not the U.S.’s conflict. This would provide a better solution and hopefully bring about the results Congressional Democrats demand, but it is unreasonable to demand results from a country without helping to provide the means to achieve them.
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