Last Updated:7/21/03
Letter from nine U.S. non-governmental organizations, July 21, 2003

July 21, 2003

Dear Member of Congress,

Three years ago many of us raised a variety of concerns about the high levels of aid to Colombia under consideration in Congress. Despite those concerns, in 2000 and every year since Congress has appropriated significant resources for assistance to Colombia. According to the General Accounting Office, the U.S. has provided over $2.5 billion in counternarcotics aid to Colombia in fiscal years 2000 - 2003. The vast majority of assistance has been for military and police programs.

This year, Congress has already approved approximately $105 million in aid to Colombia in the emergency supplemental appropriation. The White House request for the FY 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill includes over $424 million in military and police aid and $150 million in social and economic aid. The addition of an estimated $108 million through the Defense Department budget would bring FY 2004 appropriations for Colombia to approximately $683 million. Congress is weighing these budget requests at a time when the federal budget deficit is growing and is predicted by the Congressional Budget Office to exceed $400 billion this fiscal year.

After three years and $2.5 billion, we believe that Congress must thoroughly reevaluate U.S. policy towards Colombia, and reject the White House's request for a sustained military engagement in Colombia at the cost of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.


Paul J. Gessing
Director of Government Affairs
National Taxpayers Union

David E. Williams
Vice President for Policy
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Neil Jeffery
Executive Director
U.S. Office on Colombia

Kimberly Stanton
Deputy Director
Washington Office on Latin America

Alexandra Arriaga
Director for Government Relations
Amnesty International USA

Steve Ellis
Vice President of Programs
Taxpayers for Common Sense Action

Adam Isacson
Senior Associate
Center for International Policy

Brian R. Hinman
Associate Director for Public Policy
Church World Service

Sanho Tree
Director of Drug Policy Project
Institute for Policy Studies

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