Bush Eyes More Military Aid for Bogota; House Backs Action on Terrorism
Byline: Nicholas Kralev, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Bush administration said yesterday it would ask Congress to expand military aid for Colombia to help the South American country battle Marxist guerrillas. Current U.S. assistance is limited to drug-fighting efforts.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in testimony on Capitol Hill, said the administration is reviewing U.S. policy, which restricts the use of aid to Colombia's campaign against the production and trafficking of narcotics.
"It may be necessary for us to give the government of Colombia additional support that is outside the counternarcotics basket, in order that they are able to deal with this threat to their survival as a nation, this threat to their economic well-being," Mr. Powell said.
"Colombia is fighting for its democracy, it's fighting for its right to have a legitimate, democratic form of government," he told the commerce, justice, state and the judiciary subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
Hours after the secretary's statement, the full House approved a resolution calling on President Bush to help Colombia "protect its democracy from U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations and the scourge of illicit narcotics."
Late last month, two days after Colombian President Andres Pastrana officially ended the three-year peace process on Feb. …