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
Colombian and Andean Region Counterdrug Efforts: The Road Ahead

February 15, 2000


All of us in the Office of National Drug Control Policy thank the
Committee for the opportunity to testify today about the drug
trafficking situation in Colombia and the Andean Region, and the
administration's proposed support package to address that situation.
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.

Latest Cocaine Production Data

The final 1999 coca cultivation and potential cocaine production
estimates for the Andean Region released by the CIA's Crime and
Narcotics Center show progress in attacking the cocaine trade. Overall
Andean net coca cultivation declined to 180,000 hectares in 1999, 4
percent less than the 1998 figure, and 15 percent less than in 1995.
Potential global cocaine production fell to 765 metric tons, a drop of
7 percent from the 1998 figure, and an 18 percent drop since 1995.

Although the overall coca cultivation trends are positive, this data
confirms that there has been a major shift of coca cultivation from
Peru and Bolivia to guerrilla-controlled territory in Colombia. The
new data illustrates the urgency for Congressional action in support
of the administration's $1.6 billion aid package to Colombia. Without
additional U.S. assistance Colombia is unlikely to experience the
dramatic progress in the drug fight experienced by its Andean

                             (Metric Tons)

               1995      1996      1997      1998      1999

Peru            460       435       325       240       175
Bolivia         240       215       200       150        70
Colombia        230       300       350       435       520

  Total         930       950       875       825       765

                         ANDEAN COCA CULTIVATION

               1995      1996      1997      1998      1999

Peru        115,300    94,400    68,800    51,000    38,700
Bolivia      48,600    48,100    45,800    38,000    21,800
Colombia     50,900    67,200    79,500   101,800   122,500

  Total     214,800   209,700   194,100   190,800   183,000

The Crisis in Colombia

President Pastrana and his reform-minded government took office in
August 1998. He has faced multiple challenges from the outset of his
administration. These ongoing multiple and inter-related crises in
Colombia threaten many U.S. national interests. Among these interests
are: stemming the flow of cocaine and heroin into the U.S., support
for democratic government and rule of law, respect for human rights,
promoting efforts to reach a negotiated settlement to Colombia's
long-running internal conflict, maintaining regional stability, and
promoting legitimate trade and investment. Without substantial
financial, technical, and political support from the United States,
these inter-related crises will not only negatively affect our nation,
but threaten to undermine democracy and stability in Colombia and the
region in the near term.

Rapidly expanding cocaine and heroin production in Colombia constitute
a threat to U.S. national security and the well-being of our citizens.
Ninety percent of the cocaine entering the United States originates in
or passes through Colombia. The cultivation of opium poppies in
Colombia has expanded from almost nothing in 1990 to over 6,000
hectares now, producing enough high purity heroin to meet over half of
the U.S. demand.

Over the last decade, drug production in Colombia has increased
dramatically. In spite of an aggressive aerial eradication campaign,
Colombian cultivation of coca, the raw material for cocaine, has more
than tripled since 1992. New information about the potency of
Colombian coca, the time required for crops to reach maturity, and
efficiency in the cocaine conversion process has led to a revision of
the estimates of Colombia's 1998 potential cocaine production from 165
metric tons to 435 metric tons.

The newly released 1999 figures indicate that both the number of
hectares of coca under cultivation in Colombia and the amount of
cocaine produced from those crops continue to skyrocket. Colombian
coca cultivation rose 20 percent to 122,500 hectares in 1999; there
was a corresponding 20 percent increase in potential cocaine
production to 520 metric tons. Left unchecked, these massive increases
in drug production and trafficking in Colombia will reverse gains
achieved over the last four years in Peru and Bolivia, and continued
expansion of drug production in Colombia will likely result in more
drugs being shipped to the United States.

US National Interests Threatened

The problems in Colombia affect the lives of Americans at home and
abroad. Illegal drugs cost our society 52,000 dead and nearly $110
billion dollars each year due to health costs, accidents, and lost
productivity. The U.S. has been successful in reducing the number of
cocaine users by over seventy percent since its peak in 1985. If left
unchecked, the rapid expansion of drug production in Colombia
threatens to significantly increase the global supply of cocaine and
heroin. Without effective supply reduction programs, cheap and
easily-obtainable drugs can undercut the effectiveness of our
successful demand reduction programs and increase the drug threat to
our communities. In Colombia, narco-funded terrorists kidnap and
murder U.S. citizens, and attack and extort U.S. companies doing
business there.

Changes in Drug Trafficking

In large part due to successful counterdrug programs in Peru and
Bolivia, the drug production problem in the Andean Region has changed
dramatically over the last decade. Until recently, most coca was grown
in Peru and Bolivia, and coca base was shipped to Colombia for
processing and distribution. Aggressive drug crop eradication,
interdiction operations, and a broad array of law enforcement
programs, in combination with alternative economic development
programs in Peru and Bolivia have reduced coca cultivation in those
countries 66% and 55%, respectively, since 1995.

Unfortunately, the traffickers found favorable conditions to move
production into Colombia, converting it into the world's largest
producer of coca. Domination of Colombia's vast coca growing regions
by guerrilla or paramilitary groups, another relatively recent
phenomenon, has greatly handicapped Colombian President Pastrana's
ability to reduce drug production or enforce Colombian national law.
These new circumstances require a change in strategy, policy, and
resources if we intend to protect our nation from becoming the target
of dramatically increased amounts of cocaine and heroin and avert
possible increases in drug addiction, violence and crime. It is in the
interest of both the United States and Colombia to curb the Colombian
drug trade and increase prospects for peace and stability in Colombia
and the Andean region as a whole.

The immense amounts of money generated by the drug trade are also
fueling violence, lawlessness, and Colombia's long internal conflict.
Colombia lacks the resources to dislodge the organized terrorists and
private armies that provide a safe haven for a drug-based economy.
These illegal armed groups have a dominant presence in about half of
Colombia's national territory and are the overwhelming source of the
human rights violations committed in Colombia. High levels of
violence, insecurity, and attacks on infrastructure are displacing
large numbers of rural inhabitants and discouraging both Colombian and
foreign investment, exacerbating Colombia's worst economic recession
since the 1930s. Narco- financing of the guerrilla groups has produced
a paradoxical situation in which the guerrillas are militarily strong
and politically weak. All of these factors are undermining the
Colombian government's good faith efforts to negotiate peace and bring
an end to the decades of violence.

Meanwhile, the Colombian economy is in its first recession in 25
years, and the deepest recession of the last 70 years. Real gross
domestic product is estimated to have fallen by 3.5 percent in 1999,
the result of external shocks, fiscal imbalances, and a further
weakening of confidence related to stepped up activity by insurgent
groups. Unemployment has rocketed from under 9 percent in 1995 to
about 20 percent in 1999, adding to the pool of unemployed workers who
can be drawn into the narcotics trade or into insurgent or
paramilitary groups. The deep recession has also sapped the Colombian
government of resources to address societal and political pressures,
fight the narcotics trade, or address systemic security requirements.

Plan Colombia

The Pastrana Government authored an integrated strategy, "Plan
Colombia," that recognizes that solving Colombia's inter-related
problems will require significant action on a variety of fronts. The
plan articulates a set of far-reaching, interlocking policies designed
to promote peace, strengthen democracy, combat drug trafficking,
improve the human rights climate, and revive the economy. The
Government of Colombia estimates that implementing Plan Colombia will
cost about $7.5 billion over the next three years, and Colombia has
committed to spending $4 billion of its own resources and
international financial institution loans to execute the plan. The
Pastrana Government is asking the international community to provide
the remaining $3.5 billion in bilateral foreign assistance. The
Administration proposal is responsive to the requirements identified
in Plan Colombia.

President Pastrana's plan focuses on five strategic issues:

1. The peace process;

2. The Colombian economy;

3. The counter-drug strategy;

4. The reform of the justice system and the protection of human

5. Democratization and social development;

These five planks respond comprehensively to Colombia's most severe
problems. At the core is the need to strengthen the democratic
institutions and their ability to rule. Repairing the economy will
make it easier for the Colombian people to provide for themselves and
will decrease the lure of the drug trade and other illicit activity.
Combating the drug trade will reduce corruption, allow for legitimate
economic development, remove the principal source of economic support
from the illegal armed groups who create havoc within Colombian
society, and make the negotiating table a more attractive setting than
the battlefield for resolving their problems. Decreasing the scale of
the internal conflict will facilitate the reform of the justice system
and lead to improvement in the human rights situation. Illegal armed
groups will no longer be in a position to control and abuse the
Colombian people, and the GOC will be able to focus on reforms within
the government rather than reacting to terrorist actions. True
democratization and social development will bring better governance to
the Colombian people.

President Pastrana has also placed his personal prestige behind the
decision made by Colombia's military leadership to improve the
military's human rights performance, end collusion with right-wing
violence, and punish those who violate these new policies. Under
current leadership, the Colombian military is also undergoing a
cultural transformation which, if sustained, bodes well for Colombia.
Defense Minister Ramirez and Armed Forces Commander Tapias have taken
dramatic steps to deal with the legacy of human rights abuses and
impunity that have clouded our bilateral relations in the past. The
forced retirements of Generals Millan and del Rio because of ties to
illegal paramilitary organizations and the arrests of General
Uscategui and Lt. Col. Sanchez Oviedo for alleged involvement in the
1997 Mapiripan massacre conducted by paramilitaries are particularly
significant. The U.S. State Department's annual human rights report
has also documented a steadily declining number of reported human
rights violations by the Colombian military. Clearly, these are only
steps toward a solution. Still, these good faith efforts demonstrate
the will to address the remaining human rights problems in the
Colombian military and to resolve the difficult challenges facing

The Assistance Package and the National Drug Control Strategy

The administration's proposed Colombia/Andean Region support package
is perfectly in line with our National Drug Control Strategy -- a
strategy that represents a comprehensive approach focusing on:
educating children about the dangers of drug use, decreasing the
addict population, breaking the cycle of drugs and crime, securing our
borders, and reducing the supply of drugs. Our effort to support Plan
Colombia directly supports goal five of the National Strategy: Break
foreign and domestic drug sources of supply. Funds used for overseas
supply reduction still represent a small percentage of our entire
National Drug Control budget. For example, including the
administration's Colombia/Andean Region counterdrug assistance
proposal, USG funding in Fiscal Year 2000 by counter-drug activity
would break down as follows:

-- Demand reduction activities (e.g., treatment, prevention, research)
accounts for 32.3% of the National Drug Control budget ($5.9 billion).

-- Domestic law enforcement accounts for 49% of that budget ($9

-- In contrast, our international efforts are only 8.4% of the budget
($1.5 billion), while interdiction activities account for the
remaining 10.4% ($1.9 billion).

To deal effectively with the overall drug problem, we need to deal
simultaneously with drug supply reduction, transportation,
distribution, and abuse issues that have a complex interrelation. The
proposed package will make an important addition to this effort.

Maintain Regional Support

Also critical to U.S. national interests is enhancement of counterdrug
support to the surrounding nations, especially Peru and Bolivia, to
ensure that the drug producers and traffickers can not respond to
increased counterdrug efforts in Colombia simply by moving their
operations to other countries. The current governments of Peru and
Bolivia have shown the political will to attack drug trafficking in
their nations within the framework of democracy and respect for human
rights. If we are to help implement a plan that will cripple
large-scale cocaine production in the Andes, we must continue to
support Bolivia and Peru.

The Administration Proposal

The administration developed a proposal for a two-year assistance
package to help implement Plan Colombia and bolster our counterdrug
support to other nations in the region. The proposal suggests a $954
million Fiscal Year 2000 supplemental appropriations package and a
supporting $318 million increase in the Fiscal Year 2001 budget. The
proposed assistance is a balanced, comprehensive package supporting
counterdrug activities, alternative economic development, rule of law,
human rights, good governance, and the resettlement of internally
displaced persons.

The proposed package is based on interlinked initiatives:

-- Counterdrug equipment, training, and technical assistance to help
the Colombian police and military to establish government control of
the vast coca growing regions in southern Colombia;

-- Major increases in Colombian alternative economic development
programs, including new job generation, to wean small farmers and
migrant workers off cultivating drug crops;

-- Strengthening governing capacity and human rights mechanisms;

-- Supporting Colombia's economic recovery;

-- Promoting progress in Colombia's peace process; and

-- Enhancing regional drug interdiction and alternative development
programs to support continued progress against drug trafficking and
avoid displacement of Colombia's drug trade to the surrounding

Push Into Southern Colombia

The Colombian National Police (CNP) will continue to be the primary
responsible agency for drug law enforcement operations including
eradication, lab destruction, chemical and drug shipment interdiction,
and dismantling trafficking organizations. The CNP's crop control
efforts are currently severely limited by the danger posed to
eradication aircraft and personnel by the efforts of the guerrillas
and paramilitary forces to protect the main source of their income.
Military support will be required to provide a sufficient level of
security for the CNP to perform their law enforcement mission. The
proposed assistance package would enable the Colombian Army to operate
jointly with the CNP as they move into the dangerous drug production
sanctuaries in southern Colombian by providing funds to stand up two
additional Army Counternarcotics Battalions. The first Army
Counternarcotics Battalion, which was trained and equipped by the
U.S., was brought on line in late 1999. The proposed assistance
package will also provide resources to increase intelligence for the
Colombian Joint Task Force -- South, based at Tres Esquinas, which
includes fully-vetted participants from all the military services and
the Colombian National Police.

Colombia's current drug producing sanctuaries exist in large part
because the illegal armed groups take advantage of Colombia's rugged
geography, lack of basic infrastructure, and poor road network. To be
effective, the Counternarcotics Battalions must have sufficient air
mobility to operate in the vast coca- growing areas. As a result, the
largest single component in the proposed package involves providing
the Counternarcotics Battalions with adequate lift capability -- 30
LTH-60 (BlackHawk) and 15 UH-IN helicopters; 18 UH-IN helicopters were
delivered to Colombia in November 1999 for this purpose.

Additional CNP Funding

The package also includes substantial additional support for the
Colombian National Police, including procuring additional spray
aircraft; upgrading existing helicopters and planes; providing
training, equipment, secure communications; building new bases and
enhancing security at existing bases. The $95 million proposed in this
assistance package for the CNP is in addition to the approximately
$158 million the CNP received from the FY 1999 counterdrug emergency
supplemental package, and the approximately $88 million FY 2000 and
$73 million request for FY 2001 in State/INL's budget. We believe the
total of these funds would provide the CNP with a robust capability to
carry out their counterdrug law enforcement responsibilities.

Intelligence Enhancements

The proposed assistance also includes resources to enhance both the
Colombian and U.S. governments' ability to collect, analyze, and
disseminate the intelligence necessary to support all aspects of
operational planning and execution. Though much progress has been made
over the past five years, we need to continue to build the top quality
intelligence support that is critical to effective implementation at
both the strategic and operational levels. A portion of the funding
goes toward improving the Colombian government's ability to field
effective intelligence programs in support of both police and military
operations. Other funds will be applied to U.S. programs that support
both Colombian and U.S. government efforts, including those being
carried out by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Interdiction Support

In addition to crop control efforts, the Government of Colombia needs
to wage a vigorous drug interdiction effort. The assessment of U.S.
and Colombian analysts is that the air transportation node that
services Colombian cocaine labs and growing areas is vulnerable to
interdiction. The goal is to cause a major disruption of the
traffickers' ability to move their product. A successful interdiction
campaign, similar to the Peruvian airbridge denial effort, is
required. The $82 million for Colombian air interdiction programs
contemplated in the package would establish Colombia's ability to
interdict drug air transit in southern Colombia, and improve upon
existing capability in northern Colombia through aircraft upgrades,
additional ground-based radars, and improvement of existing air bases
near the drug-producing regions. The package also includes $68 million
to fund radar upgrades to four U.S. Customs Airborne Early Warning
Radar equipped P-3 aircraft for increased detection and monitoring
missions in Colombia.

More than $30 million in additional funding would also be provided to
improve riverine, maritime, and overland interdiction efforts to

prevent the traffickers from finding alternative transportation routes
or methods.

Human Rights Policy

In accordance with U.S. law and policy, all assistance to the
Colombian police and armed forces is contingent upon human rights
screening. No USG assistance is being provided to any unit of the
Colombian police or military for which there is credible evidence of
gross human rights violations by its members. None will be provided to
such units, unless, as required by U.S. law, the Secretary of State
determines that the GOC is taking steps to bring those responsible for
gross human rights violations to justice. The Colombian military has
markedly improved its human rights performance in recent years.
Unfortunately, at the same time, the number of abuses committed by the
guerrillas and, particularly, by the paramilitaries has also
increased. We have urged the GOC to take effective steps to end abuses
and impunity within its security forces. We welcomed President
Pastrana's decisions in 1999 to retire four generals linked to
paramilitary groups, as mentioned above, and statements by President
Pastrana and top military officials that they would not tolerate
collaboration with the paramilitaries. It is important to acknowledge
that the Colombian military has one of the longest unbroken records of
support for democracy and civilian government in the hemisphere.

Bolstering Government Capacity and Alternative Development

The Government of Colombia will need to provide improved local
government services and licit economic alternatives to the illegal
drug trade in order to consolidate its authority in the drug-producing
regions and to ameliorate the effects on the population of increased
counterdrug efforts. The proposed assistance package contains a major
increase in US support for Colombian alternative development programs
and funds to improve the delivery of municipal government services in
the affected areas.

If the funding is approved, we would be committing $270 million over
the next two years to alternative development, enhancing good
governance, judicial reform, and human rights protection. This is in
addition to some $4 billion that the GOC is committing to Plan
Colombia from its own resources, including loans obtained from the
International Financial Institutions, which would be aimed primarily
at social, humanitarian, and infrastructure development, as well as
economic revitalization.

The expanded alternative development programs proposed in this package
would accelerate the damage done to the coca business while avoiding
violent confrontations with a displaced coca labor force. Alternative
development programs have been a key factor in recent, record-level
reductions in coca cultivation in Peru and Bolivia, once the major
producers of coca. Coca leaf prices rose in Peru in 1999 after many
years of steady decline. It is imperative to expand our efforts to
provide licit economic opportunities in all three of the coca source
countries to prevent farmers and laborers from returning to coca

Colombia's ability to enforce drug control laws is weakened by poorly
functioning courts, untrained or inexperienced judges and prosecutors,
threats and corruption. The Government of Colombia requires assistance
in strengthening its criminal justice capacity -- law enforcement, the
police and prosecutor investigative capabilities, increased prison
security -- to build long-term counterdrug capability, enhance the
rule of law, and increase public confidence in the justice system. The
proposed package contains a significant administration of justice
element to address these challenges.

The $88 million for justice-related programs illustrates that the USG
is committed to a comprehensive solution to the problems in Colombia
and to protecting human rights and the rule of law. Many of these
dramatic and inter-related challenges to the rule of law that Colombia
faces stem from the culture of violence bred by a long-standing
insurgency and weak governing institutions in the interior of
Colombia. The growing narcotics trade has spawned additional violence
and corruption. US assistance to the program includes increased
training for the police, prosecutors and judges in areas of human
rights, narcotics, maritime and border security corruption,
kidnapping, and money laundering/asset forfeiture cases. Funds will
also be used for security protections for witnesses, judges, and
prosecutors in the criminal justice system, as well as assistance in
prison design and administration. Additionally, U.S. support for Plan
Colombia will provide for procedural and legislative reforms to ensure
that the system functions fairly and effectively, with particular
emphasis on the transition to an accusatory system, including oral
trials. There must also be close coordination between civilian and
military justice systems to ensure that any member of the armed forces
implicated in human rights abuses is properly investigated and held
accountable for crimes.

Other proposed initiatives relating to increasing GOC governing
capacity are a substantial increase in U.S. assistance to
international organizations and Colombian non-governmental
organizations helping Colombians displaced by the internal conflict,
as well as funding for programs designed to protect human rights
workers, strengthen Colombian government and nongovernmental human
rights entities, and establish and train specialized units in the
National Police and Prosecutor General's Office to handle human rights

The remaining Colombia-specific programs in the proposed package are
designed to address the inter-related issues that exacerbate or
facilitate the drug trade in Colombia. The Government of Colombia
needs to create better conditions for a successful peace process, and
greater domestic and foreign investment. The U.S. would provide
technical assistance to initiatives relating to economic recovery. We
would also provide some training opportunities for Government of
Colombia negotiators and policy advisors to facilitate progress in the
peace process. We believe that to the extent that Plan Colombia
reinvigorates the Colombian economy, enhances GOC governing
capability, discourages human rights abuses, and reduces the money
available to guerrillas and paramilitaries from involvement in drug
trafficking, it will encourage the peace process.

Other International Support

The USG is seeking to ensure that other donor nations that are part of
the global cocaine consumption market assist Colombia to move forward
with Plan Colombia. With our strong support, the International
Monetary Fund has approved a $2.7 billion program for Colombia. In
addition, we are supporting the Colombian Government's request for
more than $3 billion in loans from the World Bank and the
Inter-American Development Bank. Efforts to build support among
potential bilateral donors in Europe and Asia are underway.

Regional Support Elements

In order to maximize the effectiveness of increased counterdrug
efforts in Colombia, we must reinforce counterdrug efforts in the
surrounding countries to capitalize on successful programs there and
to prevent the traffickers from simply moving their operations to
avoid law enforcement. Successful execution of source zone
interdiction programs is dependent upon U.S. interagency detection and
monitoring and intelligence support. The proposed package would
provide $38.6 million to establish Forward Operating Locations in the
region to enable the U.S. to continue its robust regional interdiction
initiatives now that the bases in Panama have closed.

The proposal also includes $46 million for programs that would adapt
air, land, and riverine interdiction efforts in Peru and Bolivia to
changes in trafficker routes and methods, and would provide modest
funding to support increased interdiction challenges in Venezuela,
Ecuador, and Brazil. Increased effectiveness of interdiction programs
will depress trafficker demand for coca leaf and base and reduce coca
farm-gate prices, which will, in turn, increase the allure and
effectiveness of alternative development programs. The proposed
package includes an additional $30 million above the baseline funding
for alternative development programs in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador to
handle the increase in demand for licit alternatives to coca

The Andean Region assistance package has been crafted in response to
the need for a strategy to eliminate coca production in the Andes
where it is most prevalent, and prevent its return to Peru and Bolivia
where so many coca growers have moved away from the drug trade into
licit activities. The proposed assistance package will be effective
only if it is implemented as a whole and is kept in place for the long
term. It offers the best hope for decisive, permanent action against
the flow of illegal drugs in the United States, and in favor of
democracy, peace, stability, and respect for human rights in our


Now is the time for a major effort to support the counterdrug efforts
of the governments in the Andean Region. There is strong political
will in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia to attack the drug trade, root out
corruption, end violence, and establish peace and security within the
framework of democracy and respect for human rights. There is also
strong will in the governments of Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil to
ensure that successful counterdrug efforts in the current drug source
countries do not displace the drug trade into their nations.

While Colombia has become the center of illegal drug production in our
hemisphere, the commitment of the Government of Colombia to attacking
drug production and trafficking is indisputable. The Government of
Colombia is now conducting a robust counterdrug effort including
eradication of drug crops; lab destruction; alternative development;
attacking drug mafias; and air, maritime, riverine, and land
interdiction operations to seize and destroy drugs and chemicals.
Hundreds of Colombian police and military personnel, judges,
prosecutors, government officials, and innocent civilians have lost
their lives as a result of drug trafficking and the violence it
generates. Just as we share with Colombia the threat to national
security and social well-being posed by illegal drugs, we share the
responsibility to act against them. It is imperative that the United
States Government do its fair share to fight drug production and
trafficking in Colombia and the region, and support our democratic

The Administration looks forward to working closely with Congress to
develop a package that will stem the tide of drugs flowing into the
United States from the Andean Region while providing the necessary
funding to help Colombia confront its current problems.