Tomorrow a bill goes in front of the House Appropriations Committee that would divert U.S. aid from supporting the Colombian military to organizations working for community and social development. For the first time it looks like there’s a real opportunity to end the failed policies of the 9 year old Plan Colombia which has underwritten the Colombian military and paramilitary groups as they targeted the poor and marginal in Colombia in the name of the War on Drugs and later the War on Terror.
Take a look at this list of Appropriations Committee members and see if your representative is on it. CPTnet has a release with more details on taking action. I’d also highly recommend the article, Colombia’s Third Way which takes a look at some of the hope in Colombia these days and explains why this bill is so important to open the space for change.
Thanks Tim. Made my call, though South Dakota’s lone representative does not sit on the “Appropriate Committee” (does that mean she’s inappropriate?).
If what I’m told is correct, Ralph Regula has a lot of power among the Capitol Hill crowd. He’s the rep for my area.
Tomorrow, when it’s not 2 a.m., I’ll read the other links and decide what to do. I don’t think Mr. Regula would appreciate a call at home at this hour.
With the fairly conservative Republicans, such as Regula, it helps to point out that organizations such as Taxpayers for Common Sense have been opposed to Plan Colombia almost since its inception. (And I’d be happy to track down those letters if anyone wants to see them.) Apparently almost every country is going to get less funding than the Bush administration wanted because the money just isn’t there, but Colombia’s aid is likely to even out significantly between military funds and money for economic development, which is indeed great news.
The bill made it out of committee, so now everyone can call their representative to ask them to support the funding of Colombian economic and social assistance and protect them if anyone attempts to remove the funding. Here’s a second urgent action from CPT with details: