to Secretary of State Colin Powell from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, November
The Honorable Colin
U.S. Department of State
Dear Secretary Powell:
I am writing to urge
you to immediately decertify the Colombian Air Forces 1st Combat
Command so that wing of the Colombian military may no longer receive aid
from the United States. As you know, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Anne
Patterson has recommended this action as well.
Since 1998, I have
closely followed the Santo Domingo massacre. As you know, 18 civilians,
including several children were killed in the attack. I have raised this
subject with U.S. and Colombian officials at the highest levels and have
been urging the State Department to decertify all military units implicated.
Massacres are not
a unique phenomenon in Colombia. However, the Santo Domingo massacre is
one of the clearest cases of the misguided and ineffective policy the
United States is seeking to implement in Colombia. Moreover, this case
is even more troubling because two U.S. companies, Occidental Petroleum
and AirScan, Inc., are implicated. Members of the crew of the Colombian
aircraft that dropped the bomb on Santo Domingo have testified that they
were acting under guidance from U.S. citizens who were flying a surveillance
plane belonging to AirScan that was patrolling the battlefield. It is
my understanding that AirScan was under contract with the Colombian Air
Force to perform patrols in proximity to Santo Domingo. In addition to
immediately cutting off all aid to Colombias 1st Combat Command,
the United States should assist Colombia in locating the employees of
AirScan and Occidental that are implicated in this matter.
While long overdue,
aggressive and appropriate action by your Department on this case will
demonstrate at least some measure of commitment by the Bush Administration
toward upholding human rights conditions placed on U.S. aid to Colombia.
Thank you for your
consideration of this request. I look forward to your timely response.
Member of Congress
As of January 8,
2003, this document was also available online at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/il09_schakowsky/pr11_22_2002santodomingo.html