Bishops' Conference: Declaration of the Permanent Committee Concerning
the Reality of Plan Colombia, September 20, 2000
DECLARATION OF THE
PERMANENT COMMITTEE CONCERNING THE REALITY OF PLAN COLOMBIA
Many times before,
we the Bishops of Colombia have made known our prophetic voice in order
to denounce the seriousness and complexity of the drug trafficking problem,
which is not only our problem, but affects many other countries. Therefore,
the far-reaching impact of this problem requires that it be resolved through
the culmination of our combined effort.
in our country has become one of the main causes of social destruction,
of the conflict's financing, and of shame before the international community.
This is why we once more, clearly and emphatically, reject this evil in
all its phases: production, marketing and consumption.
We believe that it
is necessary to establish supportive structures so that those involved
in illicit cultivation may be able to substitute these crops and have
access to means of transportation and commercialization of alternative
products. This way, they may be able to lead dignified lives and become
integral parts of the country's system of economic productivity.
We believe that the
solution to the eradication of coca and poppy cultivations is not fumigation,
which clearly brings with it harmful effects , both for the environment
and human beings. We recommend instead eradication and the offer of new
possibilities for work.
There is a growing
awareness within Colombia of the importance of support from the international
community to the Colombian process. We believe this help is positive and
we feel that it should serve to ensure the development of initiatives
that generate employment, health, and education and support the administration
It is urgent that
these international contributions provide real social investment, which
would require the State's honest presence in all of its services to the
benefit of the campesinos and the poor. These policies should be applied
by trying to maintain equilibrium between military aid, on the one hand,
and humanitarian aid for development, on the other. Likewise, we consider
it urgent that all aid should be conditioned by the respect for Human
We hope that the
application of this Plan may transform itself into a healthy initiative
towards peace, reconciliation and a healthy coexistence between all Colombians.
Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo
Archbishop of Medellin
President of the Bishops´ Conference
September 20, 2000