Home > 105th Congressional Bills > H.Res. 398 (ih) Urging the President to expeditiously procure and provide three UH-60L ...

H.Res. 398 (ih) Urging the President to expeditiously procure and provide three UH-60L ...

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H. Res. 398

                 In the House of Representatives, U.S.,

                                                        March 30, 1998.
Whereas Colombia is the leading illicit drug producing country in the Western 
Whereas 80 percent of the world's cocaine originates in Colombia;
Whereas based on the most recent data of the Drug Enforcement Administration 
        (DEA), more than 60 percent of the heroin seized in the United States 
        originates in Colombia;
Whereas the Colombian National Police is led by the legendary and incorruptible 
        Director General Jose Serrano, who has dedicated his life to fighting 
Whereas the elite anti-narcotics unit of the Colombian National Police 
        (``DANTI''), under the direction of Colonel Leonardo Gallego, is one of 
        the best and most effective anti-narcotics police forces in the region 
        and the world;
Whereas in the last 10 years more than 4,000 officers of the Colombian National 
        Police have died fighting the scourge of drugs;
Whereas in one recent year alone, according to data of the United States 
        Government, the United States had 141,000 new heroin users and the 
        United States faces historic levels of heroin use among teenagers 
        between the ages of 12 and 17;
Whereas once Colombian heroin is in the stream of commerce it is nearly 
        impossible to interdict because it is concealed and trafficked in very 
        small quantities;
Whereas heroin does not require the traditional large quantities of precursor 
        chemicals and large laboratories to produce and therefore there are 
        fewer opportunities to disrupt its production and distribution;
Whereas the best and most cost efficient method of preventing Colombian heroin 
        from entering the United States is to destroy the opium poppies in the 
        high Andes mountains where Colombian heroin is produced;
Whereas the elite anti-narcotics unit of the Colombian National Police has the 
        responsibility to eradicate both coca and opium in Colombia, including 
        the reduction and elimination of cocaine and heroin production, and they 
        have done a remarkably effective job with the limited and outdated 
        equipment at their disposal;
Whereas more than 40 percent of the anti-narcotics operations of the Colombian 
        National Police involve hostile ground fire from narco-terrorists and 90 
        percent of such operations involve the use of helicopters;
Whereas the need for better high performance helicopters by the Colombian 
        National Police, especially for use in the high Andes mountains, is 
        essential for more effective eradication of opium in Colombia;
Whereas on December 23, 1997, one of the antiquated Vietnam-era UH-1H Huey 
        helicopters used by the Colombian National Police in an opium 
        eradication mission crashed in the high Andes mountains due to high 
        winds and because it was flying above the safety level recommended by 
        the original manufacturer;
Whereas in the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs 
        Appropriations Act, 1998 (Public Law 105-118), amounts were appropriated 
        for the procurement by the United States for the Colombian National 
        Police of three UH-60L Blackhawk utility helicopters that can operate 
        safely and more effectively at the high altitudes of the Andes mountains 
        where Colombian opium grows at altitudes as high as 12,000 feet;
Whereas the Blackhawk helicopter is a high performance utility helicopter that 
        can perform at the high altitudes of the Andes mountains, as well as 
        survive crashes and sustain ground fire, much better than any other 
        utility helicopter now available to the Colombian National Police in the 
        war on drugs;
Whereas because the Vietnam-era Huey helicopters that the United States has 
        provided the Colombian National Police are outdated and have been 
        developing numerous stress cracks, a sufficient number should be 
        upgraded to Huey II's and the remainder should be phased-out as soon as 
Whereas these Huey helicopters are much older than most of the pilots who fly 
        them, do not have the range due to limited fuel capacity to reach many 
        of the expanding locations of the coca fields or cocaine labs in 
        southern Colombia, nor do they have the lift capacity to carry enough 
        armed officers to reach and secure the opium fields in the high Andes 
        mountains prior to eradication;
Whereas the elite anti-narcotics unit of the Colombian National Police has a 
        stellar record in promoting respect for human rights and has received 
        the seal of approval of a leading international human rights group in 
        their operations to reduce and eradicate illicit drugs in Colombia;
Whereas the Congress also would support assistance to the Colombian military if 
        the military demonstrates the will to fight effectively while respecting 
        civilian non-combatants in the same way the anti-narcotics unit of the 
        Colombian National Police has;
Whereas the narco-terrorists of Colombia have announced that they will now 
        target United States citizens, particularly those United States citizens 
        working with their Colombian counterparts in the fight against illicit 
        drugs in Colombia;
Whereas a leading commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia 
        (``FARC'') announced recently that the objective of these narco-
        terrorists, in light of recent successes, will be ``to defeat the 
Whereas United States Government personnel in Colombia occasionally fly in these 
        helicopters with the Colombian National Police on their missions are now 
        at even greater risk from these narco-terrorists and their drug 
        trafficking allies;
Whereas in the last six months four anti-narcotics helicopters of the Colombian 
        National Police have been downed in operations;
Whereas the Congress intends to provide the necessary support and assistance to 
        wage an effective war on illicit drugs in Colombia and provide the 
        equipment and assistance needed to protect all of the men and women of 
        the Colombian National Police as well as those Americans who work side 
        by side with the Colombian National Police in this common struggle 
        against illicit drugs;
Whereas the Administration, in a letter to the Miami Herald from the Office of 
        National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) concerning the issue of anti-
        narcotics assistance to Colombia, stated that the strategy of the 
        ``source country'', such as the strategy of Colombia, is the best and 
        most effective methods to fight the war on illicit drugs;
Whereas the new Government of Bolivia has made a commitment to eradicate coca/
        cocaine production in that country within 5 years;
Whereas the United States should support any country that is interested in 
        removing the scourge of drugs from its citizens;
Whereas Bolivia has succeeded in reducing acreage used to produce coca, which is 
        the basis for cocaine production; and
Whereas United States assistance has been a crucial element of this success: 
        Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That--
            (1) the House of Representatives urges the President to 
        expeditiously procure and provide to the Colombian National Police three 
        UH-60L Blackhawk utility helicopters solely for the purpose of assisting 
        the Colombian National Police to perform their responsibilities to 
        reduce and eliminate the production of illicit drugs in Colombia and the 
        trafficking of such illicit drugs, including the trafficking of drugs 
        such as heroin and cocaine to the United States;
            (2) if the President determines that the procurement and transfer to 
        the Colombian National Police of three UH-60L Blackhawk utility 
        helicopters is not an adequate number of such helicopters to maintain 
        operational feasibility and effectiveness of the Colombian National 
        Police, then the President should promptly inform the Congress as to the 
        appropriate number of additional UH-60L Blackhawk utility helicopters 
        for the Colombian National Police so that amounts can be authorized for 
        the procurement and transfer of such additional helicopters; and
            (3) the House of Representatives supports maintaining assistance for 
        Bolivia at least at the level assumed in the fiscal year 1998 budget 
        submission of the President and directs the Administration to act 


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