US Marijuana Party

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Controversial bill gains U.S. support

Miami Herald

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has decided to support a controversial Colombian bill that has angered U.S. senators and human-rights groups who say it lets paramilitary killers and drug traffickers off the hook if they surrender.

The State Department and a key Republican lawmaker have now softened their initial misgivings and told the Colombian government that the bill is acceptable after all, The Herald was told Wednesday. The new support came as Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos and Foreign Minister Carolina Barco were in Washington to drum up U.S. support and perhaps funding for the demobilization effort, estimated to cost around $130 million.

Critics of the measure say it would be far too lenient with the paramilitaries' United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, accused of myriad atrocities and drug trafficking but now negotiating peace with President Alvaro Uribe.


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