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Columbia Bill-LAST MINUTE CALLS TO SENATE TO OPPOSE IT!

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    LAST MINUTE CALLS TO SENATE Date: 10/23/2001 8:24:31 PM Pacific Daylight Time From: pbonner@lausd.k12.ca.us (Patrick Bonner) Colombia Peace Project P.O. Box
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 24, 2001
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      LAST MINUTE CALLS TO SENATE
      Date: 10/23/2001 8:24:31 PM Pacific Daylight Time
      From: pbonner@... (Patrick Bonner)

      Colombia Peace Project
      P.O. Box 65
      South Gate CA 90280
      Tuesday, October 23, 2001

      URGENT LEGISLATIVE ALERT

      Apparently the Senate this evening began debating the Foreign Operations
      Appropriations Bill. Votes are expected tomorrow, Wednesday on the aid
      package for Colombia and surrounding countries.

      The Senate Offices are closed in Washington, DC. So our calls have to
      go to the local offices. We should ask the person we talk with how they
      will get our message to the senator before the vote.

      Numbers for the Los Angeles area:

      Senator Barbara Boxer
      Phone: (213) 894-5000
      Fax: (213) 894-5012

      Senator Dianne Feinstein
      Phone: (310) 914-7300
      Fax: (310) 914-7318

      If you can't call in the morning but have access to fax, a short fax
      message this evening could help:

      Sample fax: (This is the message I sent.)
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      "Please give strong support to amendments being offered by Senators
      Feingold and Wellstone to suspend fumigation in Colombia and to transfer
      $25 million from military assistance to refugee assistance. I have been
      told the votes are expected Wednesday, October 24."
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      The following more complete information comes from Witness For Peace and
      the Latin America Working Group.

      Thanks,
      Pat Bonner

      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      WE MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY!
      I know I've been predicting this vote for months, but the Senate just
      started debating the Andean Initiative as part of the Foreign Operations
      Appropriations Bill. They started a few minutes ago and they will
      probably vote tomorrow. The Senate has already cut the amount of
      military aid significantly from what Bush asked for (thanks in great
      part to your calls and pressure!) But now we must voice support for
      some amendments that will further cut military funding. For more
      information on the Andean Initiative see http://www.witnessforpeace.org
      or http://www.ciponline.org.

      ACTION
      Here's the tricky part. Senate offices in DC are still closed, so
      please call your Senators' district offices. If you are unsure how to
      do that, check online at www.senate.gov or call 202-224-3121 (most
      offices have messages giving you the district office number). Ask to
      talk to the aide in charge of foreign policy and explain your concerns
      with current US policy. Tell them to vote YES to the Feingold &
      Wellstone amendment on fumigation and alternative development and YES to
      the Wellstone amendment on displacement and refugee assistance. Ask how
      they
      will get the message to the Senator before the vote and ask for someone
      to write/call you back telling you how the Senator voted. PLEASE CALL
      BOTH YOUR SENATORS.

      TALKING POINTS:
      I have some serious concerns about the environment and human impacts of
      current US policies in Colombia. There are two very reasonable
      amendments being offered to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill
      today/tomorrow. It is very important for the Senator to support these
      amendments.

      Amendment 1: Feingold and Wellstone. Mandates that alternative
      development must be in place before aerial eradication of crops.
      · Fumigation should be a LAST resort: Plan Colombia is currently
      causing ecological destruction in the Amazon basin. The herbicide
      glyphosate, (known in the U.S. as Roundup) combined with non-regulated
      chemicals called "surfactants", is being widely used to eradicate opium
      poppy and coca plants, but is also destroying legal crops and
      contaminating water supplies. In addition to affecting the livelihood
      of legal farmers and leading innocent families to starvation, there is
      evidence that the herbicides they are using are making people and
      animals sick. We must give people real alternatives before spraying
      them!
      · Increased Coca Production!: A recent survey jointly
      commissioned by Colombia and the UN and conducted by satellite, found
      that the area devoted to growing coca increased 60% in the year ending
      December 2000. Again: spraying without alternatives just drives people
      into other areas, rather than stopping production of cocaine or heroin.
      (Source: Cambio magazine)

      Amendment 2: Wellstone. Takes $25million from military aid to Colombia
      and gives the money to displacement and refugee assistance.
      · Human Rights Violations: The Colombian military, which is
      receiving most of the U.S. aid, is widely documented as one of the most
      abusive militaries in all of the Americas. Paramilitary forces (with
      strong, documented links to the Colombian military) are responsible for
      the large majority of human rights abuses. September 10, these
      paramilitary organizations were put on the state department terrorist
      list.
      · Displacement: The conflict has already created a humanitarian
      crisis of staggering proportions. At least two million people have lost
      their homes and livelihoods. Relief agencies estimate that thousands
      more could be displaced as a direct result of the U.S. military aid
      package. This amendment will give money to the refugee crisis in
      Colombia as well as to refugees throughout the world. This should be
      our priority right now! An Intensified Civil War: Colombia has been
      fighting a brutal civil war for over 4 decades. Military aid will
      escalate rather than diminish the conflict. The Colombian conflict has a
      complicated history and real progress has been made in the past through
      negotiation. The US should support peace, not war.




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