cannabisnews.com: Cohen Says US is Determined To Boost Colombian Aid





Cohen Says US is Determined To Boost Colombian Aid
Posted by FoM on April 27, 2000 at 14:50:02 PT
By Robert Burns, Associated Press
Source: Boston Globe
New extortion demands by Colombian leftist rebels will not deter the United States from helping the Colombian government fight its drug war, Defense Secretary William Cohen said Thursday. The rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, announced Tuesday it will begin kidnapping Colombian millionaires and corporate executives who refuse to pay a tax to it. 
The rebels said their extortion policy was a counter to government aggression fueled in part by ''Yankee imperialism.'' ''These are not dewy-eyed romanticists that have in mind the welfare of the Colombian people,'' Cohen told reporters in a joint appearance with Luis Fernando Ramirez, Colombia's minister of national defense. ''To the extent that they are engaged and supported by narco-trafficking, that is clearly undermining Colombian society, and to the extent that that product is distributed and disseminated in the United States, it's certainly having a very negative impact upon our citizens as well.'' A $1.7 billion anti-narcotics aid package passed the House on March but has stalled in the Senate. Cohen predicted that the Senate would pass the aid package soon. ''The fact that we are determined to help Colombia, which wants to rid itself of narco-trafficking (means) we are prepared to continue that assistance,'' Cohen said. ''That is for our benefit as well as the people of Colombia.'' Ramirez said his government would not stand for more extortion demands by FARC. ''This is obviously an extortion,'' Ramirez said. ''The Colombian government cannot accept that someone who has not been legitimately elected, replace our congress and our authorities. And the Colombian military or police will continue to perform their constitutional mandate to pursue and prosecute those who are committing these acts against the law.'' Washington (AP)Published: April 27, 2000 Copyright 2000 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, Inc. Related Articles:Weave of Drugs and Strife in Colombiahttp://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread5487.shtmlLott Assures Colombian President on $1.6 Billion http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread5385.shtml
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