Published: July 7, 2005
New York Times
BOGOTÁ, Colombia, July 6 - Colombia's new law to demobilize paramilitary death squads suffered a serious blow this week when lawmakers in Washington threatened to block aid money President Álvaro Uribe's government needs to put the law into effect.
The powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, incensed that Colombia had approved a law its members see as highly beneficial for paramilitary commanders, said Congress would not finance a disarmament of paramilitary fighters unless Colombia guaranteed the group's complete dismantling while moving to extradite key commanders.
Those conditions, though, are unlikely to be met under the framework of the legislation, called the Justice and Peace Law, approved by Colombia's Congress on June 22. The law offers the paramilitaries loopholes that the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and some members of the United States Congress say will permit commanders to avoid extradition on drug trafficking charges, keep their ill-gotten gains and ensure that part of their army remains intact.