News


DATE=5/26/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232774
TITLE=U-S FORCES COLOMBIA (S)
BYLINE=MIKE BOWMAN
DATELINE=SANTIAGO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  A SENIOR U-S DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS ELITE U-S TROOPS HAVE 
CONDUCTED TRAINING EXERCISES IN COLOMBIA WITH UNITS THAT BATTLE 
BOTH DRUG TRAFFICKERS AND LEFTIST GUERRILLAS.  V-O-A'S MICHAEL 
BOWMAN, TRAVELING WITH U-S DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN ON A 
TOUR OF SOUTH AMERICA, HAS MORE ON THIS STORY.

TEXT:  A SENIOR U-S OFFICIAL, WHO SPOKE WITH V-O-A ON THE 
CONDITION OF ANONYMITY, SAYS SPECIAL FORCES HAVE TRAINED IN 
COLOMBIA FOR MANY YEARS.  THE OFFICIAL SAYS ALL ACTIVITY 
CONCERNING THE PROGRAM HAS BEEN REPORTED TO MEMBERS OF U-S 
CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES THAT DEAL WITH DEFENSE MATTERS.

MONDAY, THE WASHINGTON POST NEWSPAPER REPORTED U-S SPECIAL FORCES
WERE OPERATING IN COLOMBIA UNDER LEGISLATION THAT EXEMPTS THEM 
FROM U-S POLICY RESTRICTING MILITARY AID, DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT 
HUMAN-RIGHTS ABUSES.   THE SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL TELLS V-O-A 
THE RESTRICTION ON U-S AID TO COLOMBIA DOES  NOT  COVER 
COUNTER-NARCOTICS EFFORTS, AND IS THEREFORE LEGAL. 

THE OFFICIAL SAYS U-S MILITARY ACTIVITY IN COLOMBIA HAS AN IMPACT
ON THE COUNTRY'S LEFTIST GUERRILLAS, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THE REBELS 
ARE FINANCING THEIR ACTIVITIES BY ENGAGING IN DRUG TRAFFICKING.  
(SIGNED)

NEB/MB/CB-T/WTW

26-May-98 1:25 AM EDT (0525 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.