The administration's plan to provide $1.3 billion (including $600 million in counter-narcotics assistance) to Colombia raises deep concern [news story, Jan. 12]. So far our policy, which provides millions in assistance to the Colombian security forces, has not reduced coca cultivation or the flow of cocaine to this country.
Instead, the United States must strongly support diplomatic efforts to bolster the peace process and thereby create the conditions necessary for a more effective counter-narcotics strategy.
Additional assistance to the Colombian Armed Forces, with its long history of human rights violations and support for paramilitary groups, causes additional concern. Recent measures by Colombia's leaders to reform the military penal code and to criminalize torture, genocide and forced disappearance are important steps but are not final and do not adequately address other crimes against humanity or the lack of accountability of military tribunals.
If the United States provides assistance, it should be conditioned on rigorous application of the August 1997 ruling of Colombia's constitutional court, which requires that crimes against humanity allegedly committed by military personnel be investigated and tried in civilian courts. Neither the military nor the superior judicial council charged with resolving jurisdictional disputes has abided by this ruling.
JOAN W. DRAKE