Statement by General Barry R. McCaffrey,
Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Before the House Committee on Government Reform,
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources
The Evolving Drug Threat in Colombia
And other South American Source Zone Nations
August 6, 1999


All of us in the Office of National Drug Control Policy thank the
Committee for the opportunity to testify today about the evolving drug
threat in Colombia and other South American source-zone nations.
Chairman Mica, Representative Mink, distinguished members of the
subcommittee, your interest in all aspects of drug control policy and
your commitment to bipartisan support of a comprehensive response to
the nation's drug abuse problem are much appreciated. We welcome this
opportunity to review the comprehensive initiatives that are being
conducted in support of Goal 5 of the National Drug Control Strategy:
Break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply.

Emerging drug-control challenges in Colombia and the Andean Ridge
threaten regional supply-reduction efforts and larger U.S. security
interests. Our collective efforts to implement the source-zone
strategy laid out in Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 14 have
reduced global potential cocaine production by 29 percent over the
past three years. It now appears that these important drug-control
gains are eroding. CIA global crop estimates for this year (calendar
year 1999) may show a large increase in cocaine production potential.
The continued explosion of coca cultivation and increases in opium
poppy cultivation in Colombia undermine the U.S. source-zone strategy
and Colombian democratic institutions. This increase will continue to
promote cocaine addiction the world over. Colombia's ability to
respond to this emerging drug threat is compromised by interlocking
economic, political, and social problems. Meanwhile, U.S. Government
efforts to negotiate long-term agreements, to replace expiring interim
agreements with Ecuador and Aruba/Curacao, continue. The existing
interim agreements allow the U.S. to operate Forward Operation
Locations (FOL) to conduct essential multinational anti-drug air
operations following the closure of Howard Air Force Base in Panama.

Part I of this testimony provides an overview of current trends in
cocaine and heroin cultivation, production, and trafficking with the
"source zone" nations of South America -- Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador,
Colombia, and Venezuela. Part II addresses the current situation in
Colombia. Part III summarizes U.S. Government drug-control programs in
South America. Part IV presents U.S. challenges in Colombia and the
source zone, and Part V summarizes key issues to be addressed when
designing a comprehensive regional strategy for controlling the supply
of drugs that enter the United States.

I.  Overview of Source Zone Trends


Coca, the raw material for cocaine, is grown in the South American
countries of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. Regional efforts to
eradicate this crop have been quite successful in the past three
years. Coca cultivation in Peru plummeted by 56 percent from 115,300
hectares in 1995 to 5 1,000 hectares in 1998. Potential cocaine
production declined from 460 metric tons to 240 metric tons over the
same period in Peru while in Bolivia potential production declined
from 255 metric tons in 1994 to 150 metric tons in 1998. These
successes have been attributed to many factors, including: political
will in both countries to confront the illegal drug trade, the
regional air interdiction campaign that targeted drug-laden aircraft
flying between coca-growing regions of Peru and processing
laboratories in Colombia, control of precursor chemicals, diminished
strength of insurgent forces in Peru, and alternate crop programs.
International drug control successes and shifting markets have forced
change on the illicit cocaine industry in Latin America -- a
large-scale shift in coca cultivation to Colombia.

Throughout this decade, traffickers have moved over half of U.S.-bound
cocaine though Mexico, while Caribbean routes handle about one third
of the traffic. Traffickers continue to rapidly shift flow among
several Caribbean and eastern Pacific routes in response to successful
law enforcement interdiction operations. For example, law enforcement
surge operations blocking routes into Puerto Rico have shifted the
illicit drug flow to more western routes into Haiti and the Dominican
Republic. Transit zone maritime trafficking -- primarily conducted via
fishing vessels and multi-engined boats known as "go-fasts" -- remains
the predominant means to transport cocaine. The use of non-commercial
aircraft for smuggling drugs has decreased over the past few year, but
it has remained an important method of shipping cocaine to the
Bahamas, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

The disruptions of the Colombian Cali drug trafficking organizations
in 1995 and 1996 and the earlier dismantlement of the Medellin cartel
have created greater opportunities for other trafficking organizations
to develop their businesses. The days of highly integrated cartels
with centralized control over production, shipment, distribution, and
marketing functions are most likely gone, replaced by shifting,
temporary agreements and coalitions.


Heroin is produced for the world market in nine countries in three
regions of the world. Burma and Afghanistan are responsible for ninety
percent of the world's opium production, which has almost doubled
since 1986. An estimated 3,461 metric tons of opium was produced
worldwide in 1998, a 16 percent decline in production between 1997 and
1998 due principally to drought and eradication in Southeast Asia. The
Latin American component of this global production has historically
accounted for 4 percent or less of worldwide totals.

While only a small portion of the world's heroin supply comes from
Latin America, hemispheric production accounts for a disproportionate
share of the heroin seized in the United States, according to the DEA
Heroin Signature Program (HSP)- HSP is based primarily on federal
seizures made at U.S. Ports of Entry. For calendar year 1997, DEA
reports indicate that Latin American heroin comprised 75 percent of
the heroin seized in the United States. Law enforcement
investigations, along with various indicator data reflect that the
nation's largest heroin markets of New York, Boston, Newark,
Baltimore, and Philadelphia are now dominated by the six tons of
Colombian heroin produced each year. Mexico produces about 6 metric
tons of heroin per year, most of which is sent to the United States
and consumed primarily in the western part of our country.

II.  Colombia: An Emergency Situation

The changing face of drug trafficking

The drug trade in Colombia has changed significantly over the past few
years. Coca cultivation has increased dramatically in response to
regional airbridge interdiction efforts that curtailed the flow of
coca products from Peru to Colombia. The cocaine trafficking industry
fragmented following the arrests of the Cali drug kingpins in the mid-
I 990s and is now characterized by smaller groups specializing in
limited segments of the drug trade. These groups are more difficult to
detect; dismantling any one of them has less impact on the overall
trade. A strategic decision by Colombian drug organizations to enter
the heroin production/trafficking business has resulted in the
proliferation of Colombian heroin within the United States.

Virtually all of the drug-crop cultivation in Colombia is in remote,
underdeveloped regions outside the government's control and often
under the armed control of guerrilla or paramilitary forces. This
makes eradication and interdiction enormously dangerous to security
forces. Moreover, without greater protection by the Police and Army in
the countryside, the government cannot deliver adequate alternative
development programs to provide licit income to growers who abandon
coca cultivation.

As opposed to the situation ten years ago when small airplanes were
the preferred method of transporting drugs out of Colombia, the
majority of drugs today leave Colombia via maritime means, either in
containerized cargo or by fast boat. Riverine transport of precursor
chemicals into processing regions and of finished drugs coming out has
also increased substantially.

Exploding cocaine production

U.S. Government Crop Experts from the Department of Agriculture, Drug
Enforcement Administration and Director of Central Intelligence's
Crime and Narcotics Center believe Colombian cocaine production may be
poised for a dramatic increase in 1999.' Higher yielding coca is being
cultivated in Colombia. This has yet to be reflected in annual
estimates of potential cocaine production because of the two-year
maturation time for the higher yielding variety of coca (erythroxylum
coca var. coca) to become fully productive. Much of the increase in
cultivation in Putumayo and western Caqueta -- where the higher
yielding variety of coca is most likely being grown -- took place in
1996-97 and those fields are only now becoming fully productive.
Colombian Cocaine production this year could reach 250 metric tons
even if the amount of coca under cultivation does not increase.

Colombian penetration of U.S. heroin market

Colombian drug organizations made a strategic decision at the
beginning of this decade to expand into opium cultivation and heroin
production and trafficking. As a result, net opium cultivation in
Colombia went from essentially zero hectares to more than 6,000
hectares by 1995, and has remained essentially stable since. Opium
cultivation is concentrated in the Huila-Tolima area and has a
potential yield of six metric tons a year. Unlike Asia, where there is
a distinct growing season, cultivation is year round, resulting in
multiple crops. Colombian heroin trafficking is reportedly controlled
by relatively autonomous groups that have developed their own
smuggling systems. The predominant mode of transportation is
commercial air, with human courier mules swallowing balloons filled
with heroin or hiding it in body cavities.

The nexus between drugs and Colombia's civil conflict

Insurgent and paramilitary organizations are profiting enormously from
the drug trade and using drug revenues to finance operations against
the democratic government. The growth of drug cultivation, production,
and trafficking has added substantially to the war chests of the
guerrilla and paramilitary groups, which protect and/or control
various aspects of the drug industry. Colombian defense experts have
estimated that the two major insurgent groups (the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) gain
50 percent or more of their revenues -- from their involvement in drug
trafficking. Estimates vary widely for the amount of money that the
two major insurgent groups (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) earn annually from the
drug trade -- from a low of $100 million or less to a high of $500
million. What is clear is that their revenues from the drug trade
equal or exceed their other major income sources -- kidnapping,
extortion, and bank robberies. The FARC, which controls or influences
much of southern Colombia, earns revenues by providing protection for
or directly participating in activities related to coca cultivation,
drug processing facilities, and clandestine airstrips. The FARC also
"taxes" the campesinos and drug traffickers at each stage of drug
cultivation, production, and transport in areas under their control.
The FARC, through attacks on military and Colombian National Police
(CNP) logistical bases and outposts, have negatively affected the
GOC's aerial eradication efforts. CNP and U.S.-owned aircraft on
eradication missions were hit by ground fire in guerrilla-controlled
areas 48 times last year.

A society under brutal attack

In Colombia, the melding of guerrilla movements, or in some cases,
paramilitary groups, and international drug trafficking organizations
has created an unprecedented threat to the rule of law, democratic
institutions, and the very fabric of society. More than 35,000
Colombians have been killed over the past decade in Latin America's
longest-running internal conflict. There are an estimated 20,000
guerrillas contesting democratic governance. In recent years,
paramilitary organizations have evolved from their origins as
self-defense organizations required in the absence of effective law
enforcement and the rule of law. Today, they are competing with
insurgent organizations and government forces for personnel and
control of territory. They are also implicated in an increasing number
of politically motivated killings and other gross violations of human
rights. In addition to the involvement in the drug industry by
guerrilla and paramilitary groups, the acceleration of the deadly
spiral of violence in Colombia can be attributed to the 1980s boom in
the cocaine industry and the extensive investments in all aspects of
Colombia's economy by fabulously wealthy drug traffickers who were
seeking to reinvest their fortunes, expand drug cultivation and
production, and legitimize their social standing.'

Colombia's ability to respond to the exploding drug threat is hindered
by interlocking economic, political, social, and security challenges.
The national economy is shrinking for the first time in three decades
-- GDP shrank by more than 5 percent in the first six months of 1999.
Unemployment exceeds 20 percent. Institutions such as the criminal
justice system are incapable of ensuring justice will be done, and
have lost the public's confidence. The populace, especially in the
rural areas, is turning to the guerrillas, paramilitaries, and
narcotraffickers for paying jobs. Guerrilla recruits are reportedly
paid more than twice as much as Army conscripts. Colombians are
emigrating in increasing numbers. Over half a million Colombians left
for good in the last two years.

Colombian security forces are presently incapable of conducting
counterdrug operations in the Putumayo and find it difficult to
conduct operations in the Caqueta growing regions, source of
two-thirds of Colombian coca, because of the dangers posed by the
guerillas. Narcoguerrillas have achieved dominance of these regions
because of serious shortfalls in training, force structure,
leadership, intelligence, mobility, and communications for the armed
forces and Police. The series of tactical battlefield defeats suffered
by the Armed Forces over the past year caused them to attempt some
fundamental reforms. The Armed Forces and Police have had a few recent
encouraging successes against the FARC in 1999.

The Colombian Army is now creating a special Counternarcotics
Battalion with US Army assistance that will work in support of or in
coordination with the CNP in their efforts to move counterdrug
operations into the Putumayo region. The members of this unit have
been carefully selected, fully vetted, and are being trained and
equipped with US support. The GoC has also reinvested in the isolated
base at Tres Esquinas in southern Colombia to provide a center of
counterdrug operations in the heart of the coca-growing region.
Colombia's Joint Task Force -- South is located there. Tres Esquinas
will also soon be the site of the Joint Intelligence Center which will
bring together the counterdrug efforts of all the Colombian military
forces and the CNP. Once the runway extension at Tres Esquinas has
been completed to handle more types of aircraft, the Colombian Air
Force will be able to station additional aircraft there as required in
support of police and military counterdrug operations.

Such interservice cooperation is absolutely key to creating security
conditions that will make it possible for Colombia's drug eradication,
alternative development and law enforcement counterdrug programs to be
successful. The 2,500 people who comprise the CNP's Anti-Narcotics
Division nationwide are brave and professional, but they are no match
for some 17,000 FARC and ELN guerrillas, 6,000 paramilitary members,
and hundreds of violent drug traffickers operating in much of
Colombia. Tres Esquinas will also serve as a point of departure for
counterdrug operations, air interdiction of trafficker flights, and
riverine patrolling. Unless the GOC can contest guerrilla dominance in
drug-producing regions, cultivation and production will continue to
expand, and the guerrilla movement will continue to strengthen as a
result of the enormous cash flow to these terrorist organizations.

The Administration is fully supportive of President Pastrana's desire
to negotiate with the FARC and the ELN, but his peace initiative has
yet to yield any results. Negotiations, scheduled to begin July 7,
were postponed by the FARC who launched a nationwide offensive on July
8, from the so-called DMZ again, making a mockery of their commitment
to negotiated peace. FARC, ELN, and Paramilitary guerrilla forces
continue committing acts of violence against the government and the
civilian population, including widespread kidnapping. Among the
victims of the violence have been three American civil rights
representatives murdered by the FARC while working for the rights of
indigenous peoples. Violence, including mass kidnappings in churches
and on airline flights, continues at a level that undermines democracy
and the rule of law. There are now more than one million displaced
people in Colombia.

Deteriorating Regional Situation

Colombia is now clearly the new center of gravity for the cocaine
industry. Negative trends also appear to be emerging elsewhere in the
region, in some cases perhaps as a result of spillover from Colombia's

In Peru, the drug control situation is deteriorating. Traffickers have
adjusted routes and methods to reduce the effectiveness of law
enforcement and interdiction operations. Peruvian coca prices have
been rising since March 1998, making alternative development and
eradication more difficult. Some farmers are returning to abandoned
fields and the central growing areas are rejuvenating. Clearly,
rebounding cultivation in Peru would be a setback to U.S. interests.

In Bolivia, continued reductions in cultivation are expected but there
is cause for long term concern. The cocaine industry is still intact
and prices remain high. Coca growers have instigated many acts of
violence. Progress continues to depend on the will of the Banzer
Administration to incur considerable political risk to achieve
long-term coca reductions and on the availability of sufficient
alternative development funds to provide coca farmers with licit
income alternatives.

The withdrawal of U.S. counterdrug operations forces from Panama by
December 3 1, 1999, will challenge our ability to maintain adequate
levels of support to the hemispheric drug control effort. DoD and DoS
must establish a new structure to support forward-based, source zone,
counterdrug operations to replace access to Panama facilities. USG
efforts to establish Forward Operating Locations for counterdrug air
interdiction operations are complicated by the lack to date of US
congressional support to secure the required Overseas Military
Construction budget and authority. We also still lack long-term access
agreements with the Governments of the Netherlands (for Aruba and
Curacao) and Ecuador (for Manta).

Guerrilla units have found sanctuary in Panama's Dan en Province and
cross the Colombia-Panama border nearly at will. Guerrillas have also
been militarily active across the border to Brazil, Ecuador,
Venezuela, and Peru. An insurgency that once was mostly an internal
Colombian problem is now fueled by enormous drug wealth and is gaining
regional security significance.

III.  The U.S. Source Zone Strategy

The imperative for supply reduction

The rule of law, human rights, and democratic institutions are
threatened by drug trafficking and consumption. International supply
reduction programs not only reduce the volume of illegal drugs
reaching our shores; they also attack international criminal
organizations, strengthen democratic institutions, and honor our
international drug-control commitments. The U.S. supply-reduction
strategy seeks to:

(1) eliminate illegal drug cultivation and production;

(2) destroy drug-trafficking organizations;

(3) interdict drug shipments;

(4) encourage international cooperation; and

(5) safeguard democracy, human rights, and respect for the rule of

A source zone focus

The United States continues to focus priority international
drug-control efforts on source countries. International
drug-trafficking organizations and their production and trafficking
infrastructures are most concentrated, detectable, and vulnerable to
effective law enforcement action in source countries. In addition, the
cultivation of coca and opium poppy -- and the production of cocaine
and heroin are labor intensive. For these reasons, cultivation and
processing are relatively easier to disrupt than other downstream
aspects of the trade. The international drug control strategy seeks to
bolster source country resources, capabilities, and political will to
reduce cultivation, attack production, interdict drug shipments, and
disrupt and dismantle trafficking organizations, including their
command and control structure and financial underpinnings.'

The international context in which we operate

The era in which hemispheric anti-drug efforts were characterized by
bilateral initiatives between the United States and selected Latin
American and Caribbean nations is gradually giving way to growing
multilateral initiatives. The 34 democratic nations in the Americas
and the Santiago Summit of The Americas have recognized that the lines
demarcating source, transit, and consuming nations have become blurred
as drug abuse and drug-production become a shared problem. The growing
trend toward greater cooperation in the Western Hemisphere has created
unprecedented drug-control opportunities.

The counterdrug institutions required for successful hemispheric
cooperation beginning to be established. Many of the requisite
multi-national mechanisms and processes are also in place or under
development. The anti-drug action agenda signed during the 1994 Miami
Summit of the Americas is being implemented. All members of the
Organization of American States endorsed the 1995 Buenos Aires
Communiqu6 on Money Laundering and the 1996 Hemispheric Anti-Drug
Strategy. The hemisphere's thirty-four democratically elected heads of
states agreed during the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Santiago,
Chile to a Hemispheric Alliance Against Drugs. All nations agreed to
broaden drug prevention efforts; cooperate in data collection and
analysis, prosecutions, and extradition; establish or strengthen
anti-money laundering units; and prevent the illicit diversion of
chemical precursors. The centerpiece of the agreement is a commitment
to create a multilateral evaluation mechanism (MEM) -- essentially, a
hemispheric system of performance measurement. Substantial progress
was made by the Organization of American States' Inter-American Drug
Abuse Control Commission this past year in developing this evaluation
system. Specific performance indicators have been accepted, including
requirements for comprehensive national strategies; national laws to
combat illegal chemicals, money laundering, and firearms; central
coordination government bodies; development of drug- use prevalence
surveys; and inventories of prevention and treatment programs.

The Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act

Last year 1998, Congress enacted the Western Hemisphere Drug
Elimination Act (VHDEA) which authorized $2.7 billion for use by drug
control agencies in illicit drug supply reduction activities. The
WHDEA included $565 million in new authority for source country and
regional programs and over $2.1 billion in new authority for the
improvement of U.S. transit zone interdiction capabilities. In ONDCP's
view, the priorities outlined in the WHDEA generally did not best
support the National Drug Control Strategy. Some provisions of the Act
required investments that exceeded well-articulated agency contingency
funding plans. To support the WHDEA, congress appropriated $844
million for this fiscal year for counterdrug activities.

IV.  U.S. Challenges in Colombia and the Source Zone

Provide adequate and responsive counterdrug support to the Government
of Colombia

The United States is committed to work with the Government of Colombia
to develop a comprehensive response to the enormously increased
threats. We are determined to help reestablish the rule of law and
allow the development of legitimate economic alternatives to the drug
trade, Such support will be limited to counterdrug training,
resources, equipment, intelligence, and regional political support
operations, as U.S. policy is absolutely to not intervene militarily
in Colombia's internal struggle.

Colombia must find a way to: increase its capabilities to conduct
counterdrug operations in the Putumayo, Caqueta, and poppy growing
areas; improve infrastructure supporting eradication, interdiction,
chemical control, and other Colombian counterdrug operations;
strengthen the Colombian Joint Task Force-South and its
military-police Joint Intelligence Center at Tres Esquinas, increase
operational tempo of counterdrug maritime and riverine missions, help
develop an effective criminal investigation, prosecution and
incarceration capability; improve the economy and provide alternative
economic development and negotiate an end to the FARC/ELN Paramilitary

Prevent a reversal of counterdrug gains in Bolivia and Peru

We face the very real possibility of reversal of the dramatic
reductions made against the coca industry in Peru. We have seen
indications that trafficking organizations are adjusting to the
disruptions we've achieved since 1995. Certainly, the increased number
of multi-ton seizures in commercial maritime conveyances suggest that
this mode of trafficking may be more important than before.

Restructure the theater interdiction architecture: establishing
forward operating locations

Over the past decade, the majority of Department of Defense support to
the cocaine source country effort was provided from U.S. military
facilities in Panama. Over two thousand counterdrug flights per year
originated from Howard Air Force Base. This vital facility supported
-- operationally and logistically -- interagency detection,
monitoring, and tracking operations from the Customs Service, Defense
Department, Coast Guard, CIA, and DEA conducted by P-3 Airborne Early
Warning (AEW) aircraft, P-3 Counterdrug Upgrade (CDU) aircraft, E-3
AWACs, E-2 early warning aircraft, F-16 fighters, C-550 Citation
trackers, and various other aircraft. The U.S. military presence in
Panama also supported transit zone interdiction operations, provided
facilities for pier-side boarding and destructive searches, supported
training in small boat operations and maintenance, and provided jungle
operations training for small counterdrug units. The counterdrug
capabilities resident in Panama provided significant support to the
efforts of the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Drug
Enforcement Administration, and our many regional partners.

The completed closure of Howard Air Force Base on May 1, 1999 -- as
part of the drawdown of U.S. forces in Panama required to be completed
by December 31, 1999 -- has caused a serious interruption of
source-zone counterdrug air operations. The departments of Defense and
State are working to establish Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) in
Manta, Ecuador and Aruba/The Netherlands Antilles (Curagao).
Thankfully temporary interim agreements have been reached with Ecuador
and The Netherlands. Negotiations are underway for long-term
agreements that will allow significant infrastructure improvements to
facilitate around-the-c lock operations at both locations.

The timely replacement of Howard Air Force Base's counterdrug
capabilities is dependent upon a number of key steps that are already
either in progress or under coordination. The restoration of full air
and sea interdiction coverage will require significant Overseas
Military Construction, especially in Ecuador, to improve FOL
facilities. Additional legislative authority will be required to
obligate FOL upgrade funds. Budget estimates for the establishment of
FOLs may be revised after detailed site surveys are completed. The
interim agreements with Ecuador and Aruba/Curagao are scheduled to
expire within one year's time. Long-term agreements are still being

A concerted U.S. government effort is required over the next eighteen
months to ensure that we maintain full support to the National Drug
Control Strategy as we reestablish our regional counterdrug support
infrastructure. This interagency effort must include: long-term
agreements with host nations, overseas military construction authority
and budgets, and commitment from interagency force providers to
maintain an uninterrupted level of effort. The Secretaries of State
and Defense have indicated full commitment to ensuring that the
necessary steps are taken to bring the FOLs to full operational
status. We now need to ensure that all of the other affected elements
of the U.S. government are similarly prepared to support this FOL
plan. We cannot afford a long-term degradation of detection and
monitoring capabilities over the Andean Ridge, Caribbean and Eastern
Pacific trafficking routes.

V.  Personal Observations

It is so important to clearly understand what is happening in the
principal coca producing and transit countries. I traveled to
Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela -- as well as Curacao and Aruba last
week. My mission was to share U.S. ideas on regional drug cooperation
and gauge the capacity and the will of the Andean countries to act
decisively against the widening threat. President Pastrana of
Colombia, President Mahuad of Ecuador, President Chavez of Venezuela,
Prime Minister Camelia-Romer of Curacao, and Prime Minister Eman of
Aruba all received me. They do understand the seriousness of the
threat posed by drug traffickers, guerrilla/terrorists and
paramilitary/terrorist gangs. These nations face the direct tragedy of
displaced persons, violent death, kidnapping and other abuses. All of
the drug producing and transit countries also face economic disruption
brought on by lack of confidence and the erosion of government
institutions through corruption.

The will to cooperate against the illegal drug industry is strong.
However, the police, military, judicial and intelligence capacity to
act in a meaningful way is weak. The Andean emergency is
multi-dimensional. In my judgement its solution will require regional
cooperation for political, economic, law enforcement, and military
action. The crisis will not be solved by a solely military response.

Colombia's President Pastrana and Commander of the Armed Forces,
General Tapias, told me of their plans to move aggressively to control
coca and cocaine production in Colombia's southern departments of
Putumayo and Caqueta. There is presently only minimal coca eradication
taking place in the south because it is too dangerous. The region is
largely under control of various fronts of the FARC, which is solidly
in control of drug production and movement.

Colombia is preparing the kind of military counterdrug force it needs
to move into the southern coca-growing areas to provide security for
the National Police. I had the privilege of visiting the young
soldiers who are training with the Colombian Army's new counterdrug
battalion in Tolemaida. By the Spring they will be based at Tres
Esquinas, the stepping off point for operations into the heart of
coca-growing territory. These soldiers are learning the skills they
need to take and secure an area for the police. They also are getting
thorough training in respect for human rights. They are taught how to
behave lawfully in realistic combat situations when they will need to
make rapid judgments under considerable pressure. We believe this
training will payoff in combat. The Colombian military has
substantially improved its human rights record. The FARC, ELN, and
paramilitaries continue to commit atrocities. The FARC continues its
habit of enforcing its orders at gunpoint and carrying out summary
executions in the civilian population.

Defense Minister Ramirez stated that Colombia is building the type of
army it needs. They intend to develop more soldiers of the same
quality as are being trained for the counterdrug battalion. General
Tapias told us that to be effective in Tres Esquinas, Colombia
desperately needs air mobility. The FARC operates in a huge geographic
area. It is clear that a point defense system is nearly useless. The
U.S. strategy must be to support the peace process with our Colombian
partners by providing appropriate training, equipment, intelligence,
and resources (to include alternative economic development).


Experience teaches that countries which enjoy political, economic, and
social stability derived from effective democratic institutions are
most capable of mounting coherent policies to reduce drug cultivation,
production, trafficking and money laundering. U.S. international
counterdrug assistance must continue to be carefully coordinated by
our Ambassadors to ensure that drug-policy objectives support U.S.
foreign policy goals of promoting democracy and protecting human
rights. In many instances, such U.S. assistance must take the form of
building military social and political institutions that further
democratic governance while confronting the drug trade.

The recent operational loss of a U.S. Army reconnaissance aircraft in
Colombia -- and the death of five U.S. Army crew members and two
Colombian Air Force riders -- is a reminder of the real dangers
inherent in confronting criminal international drug organizations. The
men and women in the Department of Defense, Coast Guard, Customs
Service and DEA who risk their lives for our national security. We
appreciate their efforts. In August 1994 we also mourned the loss of
five DEA special agents who were killed in a plane crash during a
reconnaissance mission near Santa Lucia, Peru.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Mink we thank you, the rest of the
Committee, and the Congress as a whole for the bipartisan support you
have provided our drug-control efforts in the Western Hemisphere. Your
support has been essential to the progress we achieved over the past
three years in reducing coca cultivation and cocaine production in
Bolivia and Peru. With your continued support we can stand by
courageous and dedicated Colombians who at great personal risk share
our commitment to confronting criminal drug organizations and the
devastation they cause to the international community.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.