Drug War Claims Two More
April 23, 2001
Washington DC- Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney expressed dismay regarding the death of two Americans killed in Peru last Friday. A U.S. radar plane operated by a private military company gave Peru's air force the location of a plane carrying American missionaries, which Peru shot down. The attack on the seaplane by a Peruvian fighter Friday killed Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter.
"The CIA, Pentagon, and State Department are all blaming each other and an American baby and mother are dead. When the Soviets shot down KAL 007, the US called it an unconscionable attack on a commercial plane. Now that the US has been caught doing the same thing its response is much more timid," McKinney said.
The United States began providing radar-tracking information to Peru and Colombia in 1990. The program was suspended in 1994 due to concerns that innocent civilians could be accidentally killed. But President Bill Clinton, under strong pressure from his administration and from members of Congress who accused him of lacking a tough anti-drug policy, worked to reinstate the agreements
"Reports indicate that 100 planes have been shot down in the area. Shooting before asking questions seems the tried and true policing method exported by the US. It is morally reprehensible that the US would serve as the judge, jury, and executioner of suspected drug runners. The tragic deaths of Veronica Bowers and her 7-month old daughter, Charity, amount to extrajudicial killings sanctioned by US drug policy in Latin America," McKinney said.
Despite tens of years and billions of dollars spent on eradicating drugs at their source in Latin America, illegal substances have never been cheaper or easier to obtain in the US.
"How many more innocent people must die before we realize the only rational way to deal with the drug problem is to focus on rehabilitation, education, and treatment in our own country and crop substitution and economic development projects abroad. At the very least, Americans could sleep well knowing their tax dollars were being spent in their own communities, and to help other communities, rather than on military campaigns and toxic spraying that lead to the senseless deaths and internal displacement of innocent men, women, and children," McKinney concluded.