Local News
Eyewitness Sports
Medical Coverage
Call For Action
More Details
What's On WPRI
What's On Fox
2 Minute Test Drive
Experts Online
Online Store
Chopper 12
Station Info

MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 18, 2005
Education | House & Home | Money | Pets | Recipes | Relationships | What's Next | More Topics...
Bush under heavy protection in drug-infested Colombia, promises US aid
Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version  

CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) -- Under a security web of warplanes, ships and 15,000 troops, President Bush praised Colombia�s battle against drugs and Marxist guerrillas Monday and pledged to keep U.S. aid flowing so �this courageous nation can win its war against narcoterrorists.�

In a country that is the world�s largest producer of cocaine and a major supplier of heroin, Bush said President Alvaro Uribe is achieving results with a massive aerial fumigation program against coca�the main ingredient in cocaine�and an aggressive military buildup against insurgents, who fund themselves through drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.

�The number of acres under cultivation are down significantly,� Bush said, standing with Uribe in shirt sleeves at seaside lecterns. �The number of arrests are up. The number of murders is down. In other words, this man�s plan is working.�

Uribe said Colombia is winning the fight, but has not yet won.  ďż˝We have made progress but the serpent is still alive,ďż˝ Uribe said.

Bushďż˝s pledge reaffirms U.S. commitments to a $3.3 billion, five-year military aid program known as Plan Colombia. Bush said the plan launched in August 2000 enjoys widespread support in Congress and that he would work with lawmakers to keep it funded.  Without mentioning a specific figure, Bush said he would seek enough funds to make the plan effective.

Bush left Cartagena for his Texas ranch to spend the Thanksgiving holiday, arriving in early evening. At Uribe�s urging, he stopped off in this Caribbean seaport city after attending a summit in Chile of 21 Pacific Rim leaders. Security was tight.

U.S. Navy commandoes, toting assault rifles and peering through binoculars, patrolled the Caribbean in rubber boats where submarines and ships already plied the waters. Warplanes and helicopters provided air cover while 15,000 Colombian security forces were deployed around the city for Bush�s brief stay.

Bush was here to strengthen relations in Latin America, but he also responded to news from Iran, which claimed it had frozen all uranium enrichment activities. The United States believes Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

Sounding skeptical about Iran�s claim, Bush said, �Well, let�s say I hope it�s true.�

But unwilling to take Iran�s word, Bush said, Iran must allow for verification of its claims. �I think the definition of truth is the willingness for the Iranian regime to allow for verification,� the president said.

Since Uribe came to power two years ago, Plan Colombia has helped jail scores of traffickers and reduce the coca crop by 20 percent for two years in a row, according to the White House.

And the battle against rebel groups�the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym FARC, and the National Liberation Army, known as the ELN�is being expanded from the capital of Bogota to more rural areas. Still, the efforts have still failed to visibly reduce cocaine production or keep it off U.S. streets. And the 40-year-old insurgency continues to claim an estimated 3,500 lives every year.

Bush said the outcome of the battle was critical to security in both nations.

�The drug traffickers who practice violence and intimidation in this country send their addictive and deadly products to the United States,� Bush said. �Defeating them is vital to the safety of our peoples and to the stability of this hemisphere.�

While in Cartagena, Bush met with Orlando Cabrera, a Colombian native who plays for the world champion Boston Red Sox, and shook hands with more than a dozen elementary school-aged baseball players.

One of the youngsters presented Bush with jersey emblazoned with Cabrera�s No. 44.

�He just missed it by one number,� joked Bush, the 43rd president of the United States.


Local News
We uncover expired drugs on store shelves
Bitter cold temperatures settle over region
Eyewitness News RSS Feeds
Try the very latest way to read Eyewitness News headlines. Never miss an important story!
Survivor winner charged with filing false tax return
Jury Selection Begins in Shanley Case
Reporter Faces Court Battle with a Judge
British Soldier Arrested in Rhode Island
Good jobs, good schools are themes of Carcieri speech
High court hears arguments on health care contract
Verizon customer service center to bring new jobs to Providence
National News  more» 
House chairman says Congress should consider sweeping changes in Social Security
NASA rover finds meteorite on surface of Mars
Iranian defense minister: No country can attack us
Iraqi Artifacts
New Jersey doctor's receptionist charged with injecting abortion drugs
High folate intake linked to reduced risk of high blood pressure
Martha Stewart Bacanovic
Gay rights group targets inaugural audience for anti-Bush ads
California governor denies clemency for killer as high court rejects last appeals
Survivor winner agreed to plead guilty in tax case

Valentine's Day
Gifts, recipes, date ideas & more.
What's a Good Credit Score?
It's your right to know what credit scoring agencies are saying about you. Learn what's considered a "good" score.
Back and Neck Pain?
Suffering from lower back pain? Try our spine wizard!
Send questions and comments about this website to the .
All content © Copyright 2003-2005 WorldNow, WPRI, WNAC and Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.