Colombia Eligible for U.S. Military Aid.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has certified that Colombia is meeting congressional standards for protecting human rights, a State Department official said Friday.
The action ensures that Colombia will receive $34 million in aid for Colombian security forces, including airborne operations and a U.S.-trained counternarcotics brigade.
Powell issued the certification on Wednesday.
Jose Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch said Powell's action "suggests that the Bush administration sees the defense of human rights as a matter of paperwork, not concrete actions."
Eric Olson of Amnesty International USA said Powell's decision was "deeply disappointing."
He said the human rights group frequently raises specific cases of rights abuses in Colombia with the administration but often does not receive a response.
The State Department maintains that protection of human rights in Colombia is a priority for the Bush administration.
[Source: Associated Press y Yahoo, 27Jan04]
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