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Washington, DC; Amb. Robert White/
Subject: Washington, DC; Amb. Robert White/ Burma/ Working "with" Columbia :
Re. Robert E. White, President, Center for International Policy (former
Ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay)
For those who might not know or remember, Robert White was one of the
very few of the USG establishment in the late 70s and 80s to stand up
against US intervention in central america, in support of dictatorships
there. It is good to see him speaking out again.
He should be a friend of Free Burma. And our Washington people should
see to it.
Roger Bunn wrote:
> < <^> <^> >
> < / \ >
> ^ ^
> Follow the plea by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and the appreciations
> of HH the Dalai Lama, the Shan Democratic Union, film maker John
> Pilger, the Free Burma Coalition, author Alan Clements, Dennis
> Skinner MP, Tony Benn MP, Ann Clwyd MP, Congress-woman
> Maxine Waters, Socialist Workers' Party, Dr and Welsh rugby
> star JPR Williams, Hendrix bassist Noel Redding, S African jazz
> pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, All Burma Students Democratic
> Organisation, All Burma Students Democratic Front, Tasmanian
> Trades & Labour Council, SACP (South African Communist Party),
> COSATU, Tim Gopsill, editor. The.Journalist@xxxxxxxxxx, and
> numerous others.
> Supporting a Genuine war upon drugs and human rights abuse.
> Sydney 2000 : Burma Out!
> U.S. Steps Up Drug War in Colombia
> By Karl Penhaul
> CARLISLE, Pa. (Reuters) - The United States is due to begin training two
> new Colombian army anti-drug battalions next spring in a move political
> analysts said on Saturday could give Washington a more direct role in
> the long-running war against drugs and Marxist rebels
> I believe that they will FAIL to get the Colombian Drug war
> much bigger than it already is.
> Three weeks ago, there was a nation-wide protest against the
> Drug War in Colombia- at least 5.2 million people marched
> nationwide in this country of 40 million. Police said two million
> protested in the capital.
> the times, they are a'changin.....
> Latin Leaders Call Drug War a Failure
> This Wednesday (11/3), an open letter to the drug czars of the Western
> Hemispheres was released, calling on policy makers to "admit that after two
> decades the U.S. war on drugs -- both in Latin America and in the United
> States -- is a failure." The letter, which was signed by former presidents
> of Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, a former dean of the Harvard School
> of Public Health and Harry Belafonte, among others, was presented at a well
> attended press conference in Washington, DC this morning, aired on C-Span
> and covered by the Associated Press as well as numerous Latin American
> The letter, and drug czars summit to which it was addressed, come at a time
> when U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey is lobbying a hawkish Congress to pour
> more billions of dollars in the Andean drug war quagmire, including major
> new funding to the Colombian military, an institution which has been tied to
> massacres and other human rights abuses and which is embroiled in a
> protracted, unpopular civil war.
> The press conference was organized by the Criminal Justice Policy
> Foundation, with organizations including the Washington Office on Latin
> America and Institute for Policy Studies.
> Robert White, former ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay and President of
> the Center for International Policy, responded to drug czar McCaffrey and
> Congress' casting of the Colombia issue in terms of "narcoguerrillas,"
> saying, "The idea that you can target one group of people, in this case the
> guerrillas, and say that they are responsible, is naive and self-serving."
> Michael Gelacek, former vice-chairman of the United States Sentencing
> Commission, offered words of caution for the drug policy officials gathered
> in Washington: "If you say we're winning the war on drugs, you're doing
> yourself and your citizens a tremendous disservice. We lost the war on drugs
> a long time ago," adding, "You're going to have to deal with the
> consequences of our policies, if you adopt them."
> Rev. Bernard Keels, of the United Methodist Church in Baltimore, said, "The
> crisis of drug abuse needs real material solutions in America's cities...
> and a spiritual confrontation that does not attempt to blame others -- such
> as peasants in South America -- for our failings as individuals and as a
> The final speakers may have been the most dramatic. Leonilda Vurita Vargas
> and Margarita Terun Gonzales, representatives of the coca growers union in
> the Chapare region of Bolivia, described the tragic consequences of drug war
> militarization and eradication programs on their community. Since April,
> said Vargas, 13 of them have been killed, including one small child who died
> from inhaling gases. The forces that are supposed to only eradicate coca
> have burned down 15 of their houses, as well as 8 hectares of pineapple, one
> of the alternative crops to coca. Vargas explained that while Bolivian
> officials come to the United States and claim to be making crop substitution
> work, it hasn't worked because they have no markets for the alternative
> Speaking at the drug czars summit, Pino Arlacchi, Director of the United
> Nations Drug Control Program, predicted drug production in Latin America
> will end in five years -- despite an increase Caribbean drug trafficking in
> the Caribbean and an estimated 15% increase in cocaine production in
> Colombia this year (see http://www.unfoundation.org/unwire/unwire.cfm#22).
> Arlacchi's chosen them at last year's UN Drug Summit was similarly utopian:
> "Drug Free in Ten -- We Can Do It!"
> In related news, Human Rights Watch reported on Wednesday that two soldiers
> whom government investigators say murdered a Colombian senator in 1994
> remain on the army payroll, despite overwhelming evidence against them.
> The text of the open letter follows:
> A Message to the Hemisphere's Drug Policy Makers:
> As you meet to develop a hemispheric drug strategy, it is time to admit that
> after two decades the U.S. war on drugs -- both in Latin America and in the
> United States -- is a failure. Despite a 17-fold increase in U.S. drug war
> spending since 1980, record seizures, arrests, and incarcerations at home,
> and destruction abroad of hundreds of drug labs and coca and poppy crops,
> today in the U.S., illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and more easily
> available than two decades ago.
> Under the banner of fighting drugs, U.S. military aid to Colombia has
> skyrocketed: today Colombia is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military
> aid in the hemisphere -- and the third largest in the world after Israel and
> Egypt. Yet, over the last decade, total drug production in Colombia has
> risen 260 percent. The escalation of a militarized drug war in Colombia and
> elsewhere in the Americas threatens regional stability, undermines efforts
> towards demilitarization and democracy, and has put U.S. arms and money into
> the hands of corrupt officials and military, police and intelligence units
> involved in human rights abuses.
> Before escalating the war on drugs even further, an honest evaluation of the
> strategy is needed. Drug problems have not been solved because the approach
> taken -- prohibition enforced by a militarized drug war -- is fundamentally
> U.S. drug policy disproportionately targets peasant farmers and fails to
> address the poverty and inequality, widespread throughout the Americas,
> which are at the root of drug cultivation.
> The U.N. estimates that at least 75% of international drug shipments would
> need to be intercepted to substantially reduce the profitability of drug
> trafficking. Yet interdiction efforts intercept only 10-15% of the heroin
> and 30% of the cocaine, according to the most optimistic estimates.
> Continued demand in the U.S. ensures that even if drug cultivation,
> processing and shipment are controlled in one area, they emerge in another.
> U.S. prisons are overflowing with more than 400,000 drug offenders. The vast
> majority of those behind bars are low level dealers; for example, only 5
> percent of those jailed for crack are high level dealers.
> Current drug strategy can never work given the magnitude of profits from
> illicit drugs -- according to the U.S. government $57 billion annually in
> the U.S. alone. According to the United Nations, drug trafficking is a $400
> billion per year industry, equaling 8% of the world's trade.
> Has the policy of doing more of the same produced a better result? Clearly
> the answer is no.
> The problem is not insufficient funds, firepower or prisons. Rather, a
> totally new approach is needed. To be effective, U.S. drug control strategy
> must shift from militarized eradication and interdiction in Latin America
> and a law-enforcement dominated approach at home. As you meet to discuss the
> future direction of drug control, we urge you to consider the following
> When it comes to reducing cocaine consumption, drug treatment is 7 times
> more cost effective than domestic law enforcement, 10 times more effective
> than interdiction and 23 times more effective than eradication, according to
> a RAND Corporation study.
> Expanding the U.S. drug war to other countries will merely further expand
> the failure of drug control throughout the hemisphere while escalating
> killings and environmental destruction.
> Emphasis should be placed on public health, economic development, protecting
> human rights and pragmatic approaches to reducing drug-related problems.
> A long-term solution to the drug market needs to be developed by engaging in
> a dialogue with the countries and non-governmental organizations in this
> hemisphere that examines all options to the drug war.
> Antonio Aranibar, Former Foreign Minister of Bolivia
> Oscar Arias, Former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
> Harry Belafonte, Entertainer and Activist
> Belisario Betancur, Former President of Colombia
> Jorge Castaneda, Professor of Politics, New York University
> Violeta Chamorro, Former President of Nicaragua
> Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Argentine Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
> Shirley Fingerhood, Former Justice of the New York State Supreme Court
> James P. Gray, Judge of the Superior Court, Orange County, California
> Dr. Howard Hiatt, Former Dean, Harvard School of Public Health
> Cruz Reynoso, Former Justice of the California State Supreme Court
> Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian writer and Politician
> Robert E. White, President, Center for International Policy (former
> Ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay)