NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Money For Colombian Drug War Not All It Seems

March 15, 2000

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a request by President Clinton to spend $1.7 billion to escalate the war on drugs in Colombia. Political observers say there is a lot more to this measure than meets the eye. A number of vested interests are working behind the scenes to make sure the money is appropriated.

  • The Colombians, themselves, have activated their well-placed lobbyists in Washington make sure the money is forthcoming.
  • Multinational corporations doing business in Colombia -- such as Occidental Petroleum, BP Amoco and Enron -- are lobbying Congress and the Administration to make sure the bucks flow in the interests of their businesses operations there.
  • Since more than $400 million of the aid would be spent on the purchase of 63 helicopters manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft and Bell Helicopter Textron, those companies and their lobbyists have gotten into the act.
  • The lion's share of the U.S. money will go to the Colombian army -- which has one of the worst human-rights records in the Western Hemisphere.

Senior defense officials fear that the expanding U.S. role in fighting Colombian drugs could draw us into another Vietnam.

Nevertheless, some companies and their well-placed lobbyists have found that fighting drugs is not only doing good, but doing well.

Source: Arianna Huffington, "Latest Priority in the Drug War," Washington Times, March 15, 2000.


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