ACCESSION NUMBER:215760 FILE ID:AR-524 DATE:02/21/92 TITLE:(Spanish coming) (02/21/92) TEXT:*ARF524 02/21/92 (Spanish coming) U.S. OFFICIALS SAY ANDEAN STRATEGY WORKING, BUT NEEDS TIME (Aronson, Levitsky, Joulwan at Senate hearing) wsr (620) Wendy S. Ross USIA Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- The United States' Andean strategy, which was designed to combat the flow of illegal narcotics into the U.S. from Latin America, is beginning to work, but it will take time and sustained effort to succeed, according to administration officials. "You cannot win this (war) in a couple of years, but if you measure what countries have been able to do with our aid, it is very impressive," Assistant Secretary of State for inter-American Affairs Bernard Aronson told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Relations Feb. 20. The strategy -- a $2,200 million plan of military, economic and law enforcement assistance to Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru designed to show results over a five-year period -- went into effect in 1989. Also testifying were Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters, Melvyn Levitsky and General George A. Joulwan, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command. The hearing came just six days before the San Antonio, Texas, drug summit of seven hemispheric leaders is to take place. That meeting, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 26, is a follow-up to the Feb. 15, 1990, drug summit in Cartagena, Colombia. "The war against drug trafficking is fundamentally a war to defend democracy and to defend the natural environment," Aronson said. The world is facing a new kind of "multinational enemy" whose actions are "ravaging" the natural environment in countries where coca is grown and processed, he said. Aronson suggested that members of Congress reassess legislation that places conditions on aid to the Andean nations. "Denying aid or imposing conditions impossible to meet defeats the goal," he said. By constantly asking for quick results, he said, there is pressure on the administration to prove results rather than to spend time working on ways to solve the problem. The United States, he added, needs to persuade Europe and Japan to help "shoulder the burden," especially since drugs are becoming a worldwide problem. "We have made real progress, and this needs to be acknowledged," Levitsky said, but the struggle against the narcotraffickers will take "patience, stamina, (and) persistence." 1 He reminded the subcommittee members that many of the governments of the region face multiple problems of economic recession, underdevelopment, indigenous guerrilla subversion of democratic institutions, internal corruption and weak judicial and penal institutions. The $10 million cut in antidrug military aid to Peru, he said, "tied one hand behind our back," and prevents the United States "from being able to do the full job in Peru," which has the added problem of an alliance between the Shining Path insurgent group and the narcotraffickers. Viewing the drug problem as "a shared responsibility" among governments was the "essence" of the first drug summit and will be "the essence" of the upcoming one, Levitsky said. "The strategy is to try to engage with other countries" so we can solve the problem together. Supporting the war on drugs is the number one priority for the U.S. Southern Command, General Joulwan said. The United States is trying to help the Andean countries "get control of their sovereignty," he said, by providing intelligence and training to host government personnel. By law, U.S. military personnel are barred from combat activities in the Andean region, he said. Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, Joulwan said, are sharing information regarding the narcotraffickers in an "unprecedented" manner, which signifies growing "cooperation" among those governments. If governments remain in the fight "for the long haul," Joulwan said, victory against the narcotraffickers is possible "in this decade." NNNN .