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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989

Statement on United States Emergency Antidrug Assistance for Colombia


At the request of President Barco and in order to support the Government of Colombia in its battle against narcotics traffickers, I have today decided to authorize a million emergency antidrug support package for the Colombian police and military. The package will include equipment for police and military personnel, with initial shipments to arrive as early as next week. In addition, it will include aircraft and helicopters to improve the mobility of Colombian forces engaged in the antidrug effort. The package was developed over the last few days, during which there was close consultation between President Barco and myself and among our key advisers.

No United States troops have been requested by the Colombian Government. We will provide only materiel support and training. The United States has complete confidence in the capability of the Colombian police and military to deal with this situation. The support package will be made available under the provisions of the 1986 Foreign Assistance Act, which enables the President to direct the Department of Defense to provide military equipment and services to a foreign country in the event of an emergency.

In addition to this emergency assistance and the funds being provided under the Justice Department's judicial protection program, I will authorize an expanded police and military assistance program for FY '90 which will provide an increased level of support for the Colombian Government's ongoing antidrug efforts.

The recent wave of assassinations and threats by the drug cartel against all Colombians who cooperate in President Barco's antidrug crackdown makes it clear that it is time for the United States and other countries of the world to stand with President Barco during his courageous challenge to these insidious forces that threaten the very fabric of Colombian society.

We intend to work closely with the Colombian Government to bring to justice those responsible for the scourge of drug trafficking and will continue in our efforts to assist the Colombian effort to provide protection for judges and other Colombian officials who are on the front line of the war against drugs. The Departments of State and Justice are working closely with their Colombian counterparts on extradition matters.

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