Bush Administration Poised to Escalate U.S. Involvement in Colombia's Civil War
Interview by Between The Lines' Scott Harris
According to news reports, the Bush administration is laying the groundwork to escalate significant U.S. involvement in Colombia's civil war. The White House is asking Congress to lift all restrictions currently in place on U.S. military aid to Colombia's government. Among the conditions that President Bush wants removed are limits which confine U.S. assistance to counter-narcotics operations; requiring Colombia's Army to abide by human rights standards and a cap on the number of U.S. military personnel allowed in the country. As part of "Plan Colombia," Congress allocated .3 billion to Bogota to fight the war on drugs in early 2000, during the Clinton administration.
After the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the Bush administration has consistently labeled Colombia's largest leftist rebel group The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, as a dangerous terrorist organization, generating increased support in Congress for an escalation of U.S. involvement. Since Colombia's president Andres Pastrana broke off talks with FARC in February, the conflict has intensified between the guerilla group, army and right-wing paramilitary units, all accused of gross human rights abuses and participation in the drug trade.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with investigative journalist Al Giordano, publisher of the online magazine Narco News, who takes a critical look at the Bush administration's plan for deeper involvement in Colombia's four-decade-long civil war(A RealAudio Version of this interview may be found at http://www.btlonline.org).
The online magazine, Narco News, can be found on the Internet at www.narconews.com http://www.narconews.com>
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