NarcoNews: Del Castillo - US Soldiers in Colombia
Del Castillo: U.S. Soldiers in Colombia
April 20, 2005
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Two weeks ago we reported on the case of the five U.S. "narcosoldiers," troops participating in Plan Colombia operations that were caught transporting 16 kilos of cocaine back to the United States. In her column this week, Narco News Editorial Columnist Laura del Castillo revisits the case, focusing on the near immunity given these soldiers, and its context in past, similar cases.
In her "Letter to North Americans Who Want to Work in Plan Colombia," Del Castillo writes, from Bogotá, Colombia:
"...although the five U.S. nationals were arrested in Colombia, they were moved without hesitation to their own country, to be duly processed there according to their right to be tried in their country of origin. This was done in accordance with an agreement signed by the U.S. and Colombia in 1962, which provides privileges and immunity to U.S. citizens sent to the country on official business. This agreement – which shows the level of brotherhood, solidarity, and especially equality that exists between our two countries – is clear in pointing out that no U.S. government employee, soldier, or contractor here can be arrested or tried by the Colombian authorities. (Of course, the crime of drug trafficking is not mentioned in the agreement, but if there is one think that can be adapted to fit new circumstances it is the law.) What more could you ask for?
"And of course, you can be fully confident that this agreement will never be broken. Thanks to it, we must not forget, we now have Plan Colombia (your future and most profitable source of employment). Plan Colombia's passage in 2000, overseen by then-president Andres Pastrana, made possible your government's unforgettable charitable gesture of donating $1.7 million to begin this program to combat those two terrible Colombian afflictions of drug trafficking and guerrilla war – that it is to say, to guarantee the future of 'the business.'
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