U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposes three amendments on Colombia in the National Defense spending bill

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On September 16, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued this media release that highlights three amendments she has proposed in relation to Colombia and next week’s vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

1- Report on human rights

“First, she called on the Departments of Defense and State to produce a report on the status of human rights in Colombia within 180 days, given reports that as many as 63 people were killed this year during demonstrations against anti-working-class reforms.”

2- Prohibit sale of weapons

“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also submitted an amendment that would prohibit the sale of military aid, weaponry, and training to Colombia’s Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron, which was directly responsible for egregious abuses during the April 2021 protests.”

3- Prevent funds for aerial fumigation

“The Congresswoman reintroduced her amendment to prevent any U.S. funds from supporting aerial fumigation, which has been used in an attempt to decrease cocaine production; but instead has resulted in devastating health and environmental consequences for the Colombian people.”

The National Defense Authorization Act specifies the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense.

This past May, the Biden Administration submitted to Congress a budget request of $752.9 billion for national defense, $715 billion of which is for the Department of Defense.

Earlier this month, the House Armed Services Committee endorsed a plan to add $23.9 billion more than President Biden had requested. If approved, Department of Defense spending would increase to $740 billion in 2022.

The measures proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may also be of interest to Members of Parliament in Canada concerned about human rights in Colombia.

The Canadian government has approved the sale of armoured vehicles to both the Colombian Army and the National Police, and it provides about $40 million per year to Colombia in international assistance, including through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program that involves the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence.

The Canadian government has committed to expand its “national defence” budget from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27. On a cash basis, that would total military spending in Canada at $553 billion over a 20-year period.

The federal election in Canada will take place on September 20 and the House of Commons is scheduled to resume sitting on October 18.

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