Your help is urgently needed to prevent a looming humanitarian crisis of the first order. Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress approved a $1.3 billion Colombia spending package consisting primarily of funds and equipment for the Colombian military to fight the drug war.
The human rights community and the Colombian peace movement overwhelmingly opposed this package, which most serious observers of drug and international policy believe will escalate the long-running civil war, derail the fragile but promising peace negotiations and worsen the Colombian military's already dismal human rights record. It has long been claimed, and recently definitely proven by human rights organizations that Colombia's army works hand in hand with illegal paramilitary groups that operate death squads that torture and murder political dissidents, villagers and other uninvolved bystanders. DRCNet has opposed the Colombia package using a write-to-Congress web site at http://www.drcnet.org/stopthehelicopters/.
A major selling point that the Clinton administration and Republican supporters of this package used to get it through Congress is a set of human rights vetting provisions that must be fulfilled before the Colombian military can receive the aid. But on August 23rd, 2000, President Clinton signed an Executive Order waiving the human rights requirement and allowing the aid package to move forward.
Waiving the human rights requirement, in the face of all the evidence presented by human rights and peace organizations, is an affront to basic morality and will make U.S. taxpayers complicit in murders and tortures that they may never hear of but which are no less important thereby. And the mere prospect of the aid, including high-tech helicopters lobbied for extensively by their manufacturers, has already provoked an escalation in the fighting in Colombia's civil war.
Please call President Clinton at (202) 456-1111 and demand he reverse his order and stop the Colombia drug war military package, and please visit http://www.drcnet.org/stopthehelicopters/ to send a free e-mail or fax to your Representative and your two Senators, asking them to ask Clinton the same. (Skip the White House comment line's survey and leave your opinion with a live operator.) Please also call your Senators and Representative via the Congressional Switchboard, (202) 224-3121, or write down their numbers when they appear on the web site, http://www.drcnet.org/stopthehelicopters/.
While you are there, please use the "tell-a-friend" form to let more people know about this urgent action alert, or forward this message to them directly. This web site is a project of the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet). If you are not already receiving DRCNet bulletins, please visit http://www.stopthedrugwar.org to check out DRCNet and sign up for more alerts and a weekly newsletter.
(This week's issue of The Week Online with DRCNet will include special Colombia coverage and will come out early next week. We will return to our usual weekly Friday morning publication schedule starting the week of 9/10.)
Please take action today before the nation of Colombia, long wracked by violence, suffers further harm due to immoral, misguided U.S. drug policies.
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