Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dealing with Colombia

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dealing with Colombia

Article excerpt

The United States is walking a fine line in Colombia, showing its disgust with that country's current leader but trying to maintain ties critical to combating the flow of narcotics.

The latest and harshest move against Colombian President Ernesto Samper Pizano came last week. The State Department revoked his visa, stating that no one who aided or abetted drug trafficking could visit the US.

Mr. Samper stands accused of accepting $6 million in campaign contributions from the Cali cocaine cartel and of backing policies favorable to the drug commerce.

Colombia's Congress cleared the president of the campaign charges in June, but that legislative verdict is colored by Samper's political closeness to many lawmakers and by their worries about being nailed on similar charges.

Suspicions concerning Samper have mounted for months. His former campaign manager came forward earlier this year to accuse him. A well-known drug trafficker reportedly ready to testify against Samper was murdered in February. …

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