Illicit Drugs and TerrorismAmbassador Francis X. Taylor, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security
Remarks to Presidential Security Program Ceremony
April 28, 2003
Vice President Santos, Ambassador Patterson, distinguished guests. It is a pleasure to be here and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the warm hospitality I’ve enjoyed since my arrival.
We stand here today, Colombians and Americans, united in a common purpose, to defeat the twin evils of illicit drugs and terrorism. Colombia has suffered great losses at the hands of illegal armed groups, not just in human lives, but also in social and economic terms. But the Colombian Republic will never give up, and the Colombian people are working tirelessly to reach a better tomorrow.
Last August, President Uribe and Vice President Santos were elected into office with overwhelming support. Since then, the Uribe administration has moved quickly and efficiently to establish security, reform institutions, and stabilize the economy. The Colombia people, seeing their full determination and commitment, continue to lend them their support and confidence.
But there are those who will continue to sabotage the efforts of the Uribe administration and of all Colombians. Smugly masking their greed in stale ideology, they use terrorism to instill fear and undermine our confidence in the future of this country.
These acts are wide-ranging in methods and targets. They include bombs against innocent civilians, multiple assassination attempts against the President, extortion, and kidnapping. But when thousands of Colombians poured into the streets after the El Nogal bombing, their banners declared a great truth: “Colombia cries, but does not surrender.”
The Uribe administration is doing important work. Colombian law enforcement personnel are doing an outstanding job to ensure this continues. And the United States is helping.
Our Presidential Security Program aims to enhance the security of the President, the Vice President, and other key members of the administration. These armored vehicles are part of this effort, which also includes training to security staff and physical enhancements to the Presidential Palace and the Vice Presidential Compound.
Mr. Vice President, I am confident that our nations will defeat the threats we currently face. Your administration has already produced tangible and important results towards that goal. I believe that together, we will come to see a democratic Colombia that lives in peace, freedom, and prosperity. Thank you.
Released on April 28, 2003