U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that the continued partnership between the United States and Colombia against extremists and drug traffickers through programs such as Plan Colombia is essential to strengthening peace and stability in the region. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"With help from the United States through programs such as Plan Colombia, the people and government of Colombia have made tremendous strides against the violent extremists and drug traffickers which once threatened to plunge the country into total disarray.
"Instability and lawlessness in Colombia used to jeopardize regional stability. However, Colombia has since become a stable democracy and a vital ally of the United States which helps us to promote peace and security in a region increasingly plagued by outlaws and dictators.
"I have long been a strong supporter of Plan Colombia, and I am pleased that the House just passed legislation that will ensure continued support for this crucial program. It is important that we continue to support Plan Colombia, and that other partnerships between the U.S. and Colombia, such as the free trade agreement, are advanced, so that our strong alliance will continue to flourish."