Colombia: An eerie campaign silence

By Arianna Huffington

By Salon Staff
September 8, 2000 11:37PM (UTC)
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I suggest that Huffington visit Colombia for herself and gain a perspective beyond American politics. A nation and a people live without an effective sovereign government because of the power of the drug cartels. Homeless people wander the streets of Santa Marta because their villages have been burned by cartel-paid guerrillas to make space for poppy fields. Over half of the countryside is cartel-controlled territory where bus drivers (on a lucky day) pay fares to young thugs in military gear for passage.


An avowed dove, I would still advocate American military action in Colombia, not as part of a "war on drugs," but as a war for the rule of law in a region that lives in chaos. This would be a just war. The Clinton program is correct. A Latin American perspective moves beyond the moralisms of the American liberal/conservative debate.

-- Eric J. Thorson

I can't agree more with Arianna Huffington's point -- but I'd extend it further. We should be asking not only what we're getting into in Colombia but why we're getting into it the way we are. Has anybody bothered to ask what $1.3 billion could do to help the farmers and other Colombian civilians cultivate crops other than cocaine? Or what the effect $1.3 billion in aid could do to build a real, non-export-based economy for Colombia?


I thought not. That might sour the market for U.S. arms or, worse yet, lead to a viable economy that might compete with our own on some minuscule level.

This is truly an awful policy that will undoubtedly reap us a harvest of shame.

-- Sean Brennan

What a feeling of wealth and power it must be to hand out over $1 billion to a foreign country to fight drugs! But, Mr. President, we have a real drug problem right here in the U.S. and that money would go a long way in fighting our own drug war. Try spending that much in one of our large cities, providing better opportunities and lifestyles for down-and-out youth, thus creating an environment that would be less conducive to a need to use and/or traffic in hard drugs. Let us see some of our taxes at work in a positive way in our own country.


-- Louise Hickman

Salon Staff

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