Latin America and the Caribbean: Legislative Issues in 2001-2002

Report for Congress
Latin America and the Caribbean:
Legislative Issues in 2001-2002
Updated December 6, 2002
K. Larry Storrs, Coordinator
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
J.F. Hornbeck, Nina M. Serafino,
Mark P. Sullivan, and Maureen Taft-Morales
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Latin America and the Caribbean:
Legislative Issues in 2001-2002
This report provides an overview of the major legislative issues Congress dealt
with in 2001 and 2002 relating to Latin America and the Caribbean. Organized by
the regions and subregions of the Western Hemisphere, the report provides reference
and linkages to other reports covering the issues in more detail. The importance of
the region to the United States has been emphasized by President Bush’s trips to
Mexico in February 2001 and March 2002 and his trips to Peru and El Salvador in
March 2002, and by a number of congressional trips to the region.
At the hemispheric level, the major legislative issues included action to
implement the Declaration and Action Plan of hemispheric leaders at Summit of the
Americas III in Quebec City, Canada, in April 2001. This included action to
conclude negotiation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by January
2005, to promote democracy throughout the hemisphere, to strengthen multilateral
mechanisms for counter-narcotics activity, and to further sustainable development
and environmental protection in the region. The hemispheric response to the
September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States is also included.
With neighbor Mexico in North America, the major bilateral issues for the
United States have been related to trade, drug trafficking, and migration, as President
George W. Bush sought to advance friendly relations with President Vicente Fox, the
first President of Mexico from an opposition party in over 70 years.
With regard to Central America, the major issues were disaster relief and
reconstruction, the proposed Central America-U.S. free trade agreement, earthquakes
in El Salvador, implementation of the peace accords in Guatemala, and the new
government in Nicaragua. With regard to the Caribbean, President Bush announced
a “Third Border Initiative” to strengthen the development of the smaller Caribbean
countries, and the President and Congress have been seeking ways to advance
democracy in Cuba and Haiti.
In the Andean region, the major issues were President Bush’s requests for new
assistance and additional authorities under the Andean Regional Initiative for
Colombia and regional neighbors, the extension of the Andean Trade Preference Act
(ATPA), dealing with the new Toledo government in Peru, and seeking ways to
engage the “maverick” government in Venezuela following the ouster and return of
President Chavez.
In the region encompassing Brazil and the Southern Cone countries of South
America, the major issues were managing trade and economic issues with Brazil as
the country selected a new president, dealing with a serious economic crisis in
Argentina, and completing negotiations for a U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement with
This report will not be updated. For more recent information, see CRS Report
RL31726, Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 108th Congress.

I. Hemispheric Issues..............................................1
Summit of the Americas III......................................1
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)...........................1
Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean......................3
Hemispheric Response to September 2001 Terrorist Attacks............4
Drug Certification Process.......................................5
Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection...............6
II. Mexico........................................................6
Fox Administration in Mexico....................................6
Mexico-U.S. Bilateral Issues ....................................7
III. Central America and the Caribbean.................................9
Disaster Relief and Reconstruction................................9
Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement........................9
Earthquakes in El Salvador.....................................10
Guatemala and the Peace Accords................................11
Nicaragua ...................................................11
Caribbean “Third Border Initiative”..............................14
Cuba .......................................................15
Haiti .......................................................17
IV. Andean Region...............................................19
Andean Regional Initiative (ARI)................................19
Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA)............................21
Colombia ...................................................22
Peru .......................................................25
Venezuela ...................................................29
V. Brazil and the Southern Cone....................................31
Brazil ......................................................31
Argentina ...................................................32
Chile .......................................................34

Latin America and the Caribbean:
Legislative Issues in 2001-2002
I. Hemispheric Issues
Summit of the Americas III
Summit of the Americas III was held in Quebec City, Canada, on April 20-22,
2001, with 34 democratically elected Presidents and Prime Ministers from the
Western Hemisphere in attendance, including George W. Bush from the United
States. The hemispheric leaders dealt with three major themes: (1) Strengthening
Democracy, where they agreed to a democracy clause that specified that democratic
government was an essential condition for participation in the summit process; (2)
Creating Prosperity, where they agreed to advance toward the conclusion of the
agreement on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by January 2005; and (3)
Realizing Human Potential, where they agreed to initiatives to promote education,
health, and greater equity for women, youth, and indigenous peoples.
For more information, see CRS Report RL30936, Summit of the Americas III,
Quebec City, Canada, April 20-22, 2001: Background, Objectives, and Results, by
K. Larry Storrs and M. Angeles Villarreal.
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
The proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is a regional trade
agreement that would include 34 nations of the Western Hemisphere. Ideally, it
would promote economic integration by creating a comprehensive (presumably
WTO-plus) framework for reducing tariff and nontariff barriers to trade and
investment. The FTAA held center stage in discussions at the Third Summit of the
Americas that convened in Quebec on April 20-22, 2001, and despite protests from
various interest groups, all countries except Venezuela signed the Declaration of
Quebec City. The first draft text of the FTAA was adopted, renewing the

1 For information on legislative issues in 2000, see CRS Report RS20474, Latin America:
Overview of Legislative Issues for Congress in 2000, coordinated by Mark P. Sullivan. The
current report, organized by regions, is entitled Latin America and the Caribbean to include
the English-speaking countries in the Caribbean area. The term “Latin America” is a
cultural rather than a geographical term, and includes all countries where Latin-based
languages are spoken. “Latin America” includes Mexico in North America and most
countries in Central America and South America. It also includes Cuba and the Dominican
Republic in the Caribbean where Spanish is spoken, Haiti in the Caribbean where French
is spoken, and Brazil in South America where Portuguese is spoken.

commitment to complete the FTAA by January 2005, with the agreement’s entry into
force to occur no later than the end of the same year.
The Seventh Trade Ministerial occurred on November 1, 2002 in Quito,
Ecuador. Five major achievements stand out: (1) Brazil and the United States
became co-chairs of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), which will guide the
overall negotiation process for the final phase scheduled to be completed by January
2005; (2) a new Hemisphere Cooperation Program (HCP) was established to develop
resources to help small countries “strengthen their capacity to implement and
participate fully in the FTAA;” (3) a second draft of the FTAA agreement was
released; (4) a time line was established for the critical market access negotiations;
and (5) the final rotation of chairs for the various negotiating groups was completed.
The TNC is scheduled to meet three times in 2003, with the next meeting set for
April 2003 in Trinidad and Tobago. At that time, negotiating group meeting
schedules will be determined for the coming year. Milestones have been set by the
TNC for developing negotiating group revised drafts of the agreements. The eighth
FTAA ministerial meeting will convene in Miami, Florida sometime in the fourth
quarter of 2003, and the ninth is scheduled to take place in Brazil in the following
Special instructions were provided in the areas of market access at the Quito
Ministerial. Market access negotiations involve five separate negotiating groups:
market access, agriculture, services, investment, and government procurement.
Specific instructions were given for the negotiating groups on agriculture and market
access to coordinate their efforts in developing guidelines and chapter revisions.
Firms dates have been set for market access negotiations, with final revised offers
due by July 15, 2003. It was also formally recognized that discussions on agriculture,
critical and sensitive for all negotiating members, will have to be done with an eye
on parallel discussions being undertaken by the WTO. The WTO deadline for
agriculture negotiations is also set for January 2005. Most of the second draft text
of the FTAA agreement contains bracketed text, denoting the general and still
evolving nature of the agreement.
Much attention is focused on how Brazil and the United States will undertake
their duties as co-Chairs of the TNC, both as leaders of the negotiating process and
as the two largest economies with significant differences of opinion on many issues,
including difficult topics such as treatment of steel and agricultural products. In
neither country is there a consensus on the FTAA, and despite some statements by
public sector officials in support of the agreement, private sector discussions still
reflect an ongoing tension between the two countries. Additional complications to
completing an FTAA include challenges to economic and social progress in Latin
America, such as the financial crisis in Argentina, the recent large IMF package for
Brazil, and deteriorating political conditions in Venezuela and Colombia. Setbacks
in these areas raise the potential for eroding stability and the spirit of cooperation that
launched the FTAA negotiations in 1998. The U.S.-Chile bilateral agreement and
a new U.S. overture toward a U.S.-Central American free trade agreement may also
raise questions in Latin America over the U.S. commitment to a regional approach
to trade liberalization in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information, see CRS Report RS20864, A Free Trade Area of the
Americas: Status of Negotiations and Major Policy Issues, by J. F. Hornbeck; CRS
Issue Brief IB95017, Trade and the Americas, by Raymond J. Ahearn; and CRS
Report RL30935, Agricultural Trade in the Free Trade Area of the Americas, by
Remy Jurenas.
Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America has made enormous strides in recent years in the development
of democracy, with all countries but Cuba led by democratically-elected heads of
state. Nonetheless, many government institutions in the region have proven ill-
equipped to deal with challenges to their further development, such as strong, often
autocratic presidents; violent guerrilla conflicts; militaries still not comfortable with
civilian rule; and narcotics trafficking and related crime and corruption.
The Organization of American States (OAS) has also made progress in efforts
to promote democracy in the hemisphere by establishing procedures for collective
action when democracy is interrupted, beginning with the Santiago Commitment to
Democracy in 1991, and following most recently with the adoption of the Inter-
American Democratic Charter in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, the same day
as the terrorist attacks on the United States. Since then, the Inter-American
Democracy Charter has been used to some extent to deal with the situations in
Venezuela and Haiti.
Regarding Venezuela, on April 13, 2002, the OAS Permanent Council, with
support from the United States, condemned the alteration of constitutional order in
Venezuela when President Hugo Chavez was temporarily ousted. The Council sent
an OAS Mission headed by OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria to Venezuela to
gather facts and undertake good offices, and it convoked a special session of the
General Assembly to deal with the situation in accordance with the Inter-American
Democratic Charter. In August 2002, the Council reiterated the Organization’s
readiness to offer support, and in September 2002 a joint mission of the OAS, the
United Nations Development Programme, and the Carter Center sought to facilitate
dialogue between the government and the opposition. Secretary General Gaviria has
continued to monitor the situation and to encourage talks between the two sides.
Regarding Haiti, the OAS passed two resolutions in 2002 encouraging the
democratic process in Haiti. Resolution 806, adopted in January, established an OAS
Mission in Haiti and called on the Haitian government to “restore a climate of
security” necessary for resuming negotiations with the opposition and holding free
and fair elections. On September 4, invoking the Inter-American Democratic
Charter, the OAS passed Resolution 822, which strengthened the mission, supported
normalization of Haiti’s relations with international financial institutions, freed the
government to hold elections in 2003 without a prior agreement with the opposition,
and called on Haiti to comply fully with previous OAS resolutions and government
For more information, see CRS Report 98-684, Latin America and the
Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections, by Mark P. Sullivan, as well as

references cited above on Summit of the Americas III and cited below on Haiti, Peru,
and Venezuela.
Hemispheric Response to September 2001 Terrorist Attacks
Latin American nations strongly condemned the September 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. and took action through the
Organization of American States (OAS) and the Rio Treaty to strengthen hemispheric
cooperation against terrorism. The OAS, which happened to be meeting in Peru at
the time, swiftly condemned the attacks, reiterated the need to strengthen hemispheric
cooperation to combat terrorism, and expressed full solidarity with the United States.
At a special session on September 19, 2001, OAS members invoked the 1947 Inter-
American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, which
obligates signatories to the treaty to come to one another’s defense in case of outside
attack. Another resolution approved on September 21, 2001, called on Rio Treaty
signatories to “use all legally available measures to pursue, capture, extradite, and
punish those individuals” involved in the attacks and to “render additional assistance
and support to the United States, as appropriate, to address the September 11 attacks,
and also to prevent future terrorist acts.”
In another resolution, the OAS called on the Inter-American Committee on
Terrorism (CICTE) to identify urgent actions aimed at strengthening inter-American
cooperation in order to combat and eliminate terrorism in the hemisphere. The
CICTE was reinvigorated in the aftermath of September 11, and has cooperated on
border security mechanisms, controls to prevent funding of terrorist organizations,
and law enforcement and counterterrorism intelligence and information.
On June 3, 2002, OAS members meeting in Barbados for the OAS General
Assembly signed a newly completed Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism.
Signing the treaty for the United States, Secretary of State Powell said that the OAS
had “produced the first new international treaty since September 11 targeted at
improving our ability to combat terrorism.”2 Secretary Powell also noted that the
OAS should continue its work of reviewing hemispheric security policy, with the
goal of developing an inter-American declaration that would focus on cooperative
security efforts and ways to identify, prevent, and remedy potential threats.
The Convention, among other measures, would improve regional cooperation
against terrorism, commit parties to sign and ratify U.N. anti-terrorism instruments,
commit parties to take actions against the financing of terrorism, and deny safe haven
to suspected terrorists.3 President Bush submitted the convention to the Senate on
November 12, 2002, for its advice and consent, and the treaty was referred to the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee. An OAS meeting to discuss the scope of the
Convention and the anti-terrorism approach for the hemisphere is scheduled for
January 22-24, 2003, in El Salvador.

2 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, “Transcript: Powell Stresses
Security at OAS General Assembly,” Washington File, June 3, 2002.
3 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, “Fact Sheet: Inter-
American Convention Against Terrorism,” Washington File, June 3, 2002.

For background information, see CRS Report RS21049, Latin America:
Terrorism Issues, by Mark P. Sullivan; and “The Americas’ Response to Terrorism,”
on the OAS web site at [].
Drug Certification Process
From the mid-1980s to the beginning of FY2001, Congress required the
President to certify that drug producing and drug-transit countries were cooperating
fully with the United States in counter-narcotics efforts in order to avoid a series of
sanctions, including suspension of U.S. foreign assistance and financing, and
opposition to loans in the multilateral development banks. Congress closely
monitored these certification decisions and submitted resolutions of disapproval in
some years. Under the legislation, the sanctions would also apply if Congress, within
30 calendar days, passed a joint resolution of disapproval to overturn the presidential
certification, although any resolution would be subject to veto.
Over the years, spokesmen from many countries complained about the
unilateral and non-cooperative nature of the drug certification requirements, and
urged the United States to end the process and to rely upon various multilateral
methods of evaluation developed recently.4 Mexico, often the focus of congressional
debate, particularly expressed dissatisfaction with the process, even though it was
regularly certified as being a fully cooperative country. Following the July 2000
election of opposition candidate Vicente Fox as President of Mexico, a number of
legislative measures were introduced to modify the drug certification requirements,
and these initiatives were mentioned when President Bush met with President Fox
in Mexico in mid-February 2001, and in the United States in early September 2001.
In 2001, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported out two measures (S.
219 and S. 1401) that would have modified the certification requirements for three
years. By the end of the year, the only measure that passed was the Foreign
Operations Appropriations for FY2002 (H.R. 2506/P.L. 107-115) that waived the
drug certification requirements for FY2002 only, but required the President, with
some waiver authority, to designate and withhold assistance from the worst offending
countries that had failed demonstrably to adhere to international counter-narcotics
In 2002, both houses passed the Foreign Relations Authorization for FY2003
(H.R. 1646/P.L. 107-228) that permanently modified the drug certification
requirements. Section 706 requires the President, with some waiver authority, to

4 One of the multilateral mechanisms most frequently mentioned is the Multilateral
Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) developed by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control
Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS). Under the MEM, all
hemispheric countries are evaluated on the basis of 61 common criteria. Representatives
of each country evaluate all countries except their own. Hemispheric leaders at Summit of
the Americas III noted with satisfaction the first set of evaluations and recommendations
under the MEM procedures and called for strengthening the MEM process and for
strengthening hemispheric counter-narcotics cooperation. In late January 2002, CICAD
reported that hemispheric countries had made significant progress in implementing
CICAD’s initial recommendations.

designate and withhold assistance from the worst offending countries that have
“failed demonstrably” to make substantial counter-narcotics efforts. At the same
time, it permits the President to use his discretion to withhold assistance and apply
previous sanctions against countries that are failing to cooperate fully with the United
States in counter-narcotics efforts whenever he determines that such actions would
be helpful.
For more information, see CRS Report RL30892, Drug Certification
Requirements and Congressional Modifications in 2001-2002, by K. Larry Storrs.
Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection
Roughly 50% of the world’s tropical forests, 40% of its biological diversity, and
extensive freshwater and marine resources are located in the Latin American and
Caribbean region. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has
devoted about $65 million per year to environment programs in the region in recent
years, supporting sustainable forestry, improved hillside agriculture, conservation of
biological diversity, prevention of industrial pollution, and better water management.
In Brazil, for example, USAID, working with other bilateral and multilateral donors
and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), supports programs to conserve the
Brazilian rainforest. The programs’ goals are to suppress fires, and to develop and
train leaders for sustainable development activities that will reduce the extensive
burning/clearing of tropical forests in Brazil’s vast Amazon region which allegedly
contributes to the loss of biological diversity and increased global warming.
For further information, see CRS Report RL30121, Brazil under Cardoso:
Politics, Economics, and Relations with the United States, by K. Larry Storrs; CRS
Report 97-291, NAFTA: Related Environmental Issues and Initiatives, by Mary E.
Tiemann; and CRS Electronic Briefing Book on “Global Climate Change” on the
CRS web site, [] as well as
references to Summit of the Americas III above. See also the explanation of
USAID’s environment programs in Latin America and the Caribbean at USAID’s
web site [].
II. Mexico
Fox Administration in Mexico
Vicente Fox of the conservative Alliance for Change was inaugurated as
President of Mexico on December 1, 2000, for a 6-year term, promising to promote
free market policies, to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, to fight corruption
and crime, and to end the conflictive situation in the state of Chiapas. Fox’s
inauguration ended 71 years of presidential control by the long dominant party in
Mexico. With no party having a majority in Congress, President Fox has been unable
to advance many aspects of his program. Congress passed a modified version of the
proposed indigenous rights legislation, prompting the Zapatista rebels in the state of
Chiapas to withdraw from dialogue with the government. Congress also passed a
patchwork version of the tax and fiscal reforms, significantly reducing the anticipated

resources to be devoted to health and education. With legislative elections
approaching in July 2003 and with each of the major parties having selected new
party leaders in February and March 2002, observers doubt that Fox will be able to
obtain approval of major legislation, including a proposed energy reform that would
permit greater private participation in the hydrocarbon and electricity sectors. The
President’s relations with the long dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
have been strained to some extent by official investigations of the alleged illegal
channeling of funds from the state oil monopoly to the PRI in the 2000 election and
of other corrupt practices and human rights abuses in the past.
Following economic growth averaging over 5% in 1996-1999 and growth of 7%
in 2000, President Fox had to confront the economic slowdown in the United States,
lower oil prices, and the fallout from the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the first
years of his presidency. With an economy in which more than 80% of Mexico’s
exports go to the United States, Mexico’s economy contracted 0.8% in 2001 and is
projected to grow modestly (1.4%) in 2002, dependent upon recovery in the United
S t at es. 5
President Fox has indicated that Mexico will pursue a more activist and
diversified foreign policy, with greater involvement in UN activities, and stronger
ties to Latin America and Europe. He has also indicated that it will be more
aggressive in defending the interests of Mexicans living in foreign countries,
particularly those in the United States. On various occasions, President Fox has
indicated that he expects to have warm and friendly relations with the United States,
and he has called for greater cooperation under NAFTA and for a bilateral migration
agreement that would more adequately deal with safety and labor needs.
Congress has closely followed political and economic developments in Mexico
and is interested in President Fox’s efforts to advance democracy, promote free
market reforms, and resolve the conflictive situation in Chiapas because of the effects
of these developments on bilateral relations and because of the threat of possible
instability on the southern border.
For more information, see CRS Issue Brief IB10070, Mexico-U.S. Relations:
Issues for the 107th Congress, by K. Larry Storrs.
Mexico-U.S. Bilateral Issues
The United States and Mexico have a special relationship under the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which removes trade and investment
barriers between the countries. The friendly relationship was strengthened in 2001
by President Bush’s meetings with President Fox in mid-February in Mexico, in mid-
April in Canada, and in early May, early September, and early October in the United
States. President Bush traveled to Monterrey, Mexico on March 22, 2002, to attend
the International Conference on Financing for Development and to meet with
President Fox to discuss key areas in the bilateral relationship.

5 “Mexico: Economic Forecast,” Economist Intelligence Unit, February 12, 2002.

In the bilateral meeting, Presidents Bush and Fox announced a number of
initiatives, including (1) a U.S.-Mexico Border Partnership Action Plan with greater
cooperation and technological enhancements at the border, (2) a “Partnership for
Prosperity” Action Plan with public-private initiatives to promote domestic and
foreign investment in less developed areas of Mexico with high migration rates, (3)
agreement to seek legislative support to expand the mandate of the North American
Development Bank (NADBank) and the Border Environmental Cooperation
Commission (BECC) to finance environmental infrastructure along the border, and
(4) agreement to continue the cabinet-level talks to achieve safe, legal, and orderly
migration flows between the countries.
During the cabinet-level Binational Commission meetings in Mexico City, on
November 25-26, 2002, Secretary of State Powell and Foreign Secretary Castaneda
reaffirmed the importance of the relationship between the countries and indicated the
intention to continue talks toward a migration agreement. They also announced other
agreements, including reforms of the NADBank and BECC, an amendment to a tax
treaty that will reduce taxes on cross-border dividend payments, and a $25 million
fund to facilitate and strengthen border crossing controls. Mexico indicated concern
with the impending reduction of tariffs on sensitive agricultural products, and the
United States indicated concern about Mexico’s continuing failure to provide water
in South Texas as required by the 1944 treaty. On November 27, 2002, with safety
inspectors and procedures in place, the Administration announced that it would begin
the process that will open U.S. highways to Mexican truckers and buses.
Congress has acted on various measures relating to border security and U.S.-
Mexico relations. In May 2002, Congress passed and the President signed the
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 (H.R. 3525/P.L. 107-
173) to increase INS investigators and inspectors, require interagency information
sharing, mandate machine-readable visas containing biometric identifiers, strengthen
terrorist lookout systems, and provide better monitoring of foreign students. In
September 2002, Congress passed and the President signed the Foreign Relations
Authorization for FY2003 (H.R. 1646/P.L. 107-228) that permanently modified the
drug certification requirements and requires the President, with some waiver
authority, to designate and withhold assistance from the worst offending countries
that have “failed demonstrably” to make substantial counter-narcotics efforts. (See
discussion above on Drug Certification Process). In November 2002, Congress
finally passed and the President signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (H.R.
5005/P.L. 107-296), which incorporated the INS/Border Patrol and Customs and
other agencies into the new Department of Homeland Security.
For more information on congressional action on bilateral issues, including
trade, drug trafficking, and migration issues, see CRS Issue Brief IB10070, Mexico-
U.S. Relations: Issues for the 107th Congress; and CRS Report RL31412, Mexico’s
Counter-Narcotics Efforts under Fox, December 2000 to April 2002, by K. Larry
Storrs; as well as CRS Report RL30852, Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers:
Policy, Trends and Legislative Issues, by Ruth Ellen Wasem and Geoffrey K.
Collver; the section on Border Security in the CRS Electronic Briefing book on
Terrorism, by Lisa Seghetti and William Krouse, which is available online at
[], and the section on NAFTA in

the CRS Electronic Briefing Book on Trade, by J.F. Hornbeck, also available online
[] .
III. Central America and the Caribbean
Disaster Relief and Reconstruction
Following the destruction caused by Hurricane George in the Caribbean and
Hurricane Mitch in Central America in late 1998, the United States responded with
$312 million in emergency relief, and an additional $621 million in grant assistance
through AID and other agencies, funded through the 1999 Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations Act. Donors and country officials pledged to be better prepared for
disasters, and to “build back better” in reconstruction efforts, including work to
reduce poor conservation and land use practices that often contributed to the severity
of the disaster damage in the countries. Congress was interested in oversight over
this major project in Central America and the Caribbean, with expenditure of the
designated funding continuing until the end of 2001. As evidence of continuing
concern, the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for FY2002 (H.R. 2506/P.L.
107-115), approved in late 2001, provided in Section 582 that in addition to the $100
million in assistance for El Salvador, not less than $35 million of the funds managed
by the United States Agency for International Development should be made available
for mitigation of the drought and rural food shortages elsewhere in Central America.
For background, see CRS Report 98-1030, Central America: Reconstruction
after Hurricane Mitch, coordinated by Lois McHugh. For current status, see
USAID’s web site []. Also see CRS Report RS21103,
Honduras: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations, by Mark P.
Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
On January 16, 2002, President Bush announced that the United States would
explore a free trade agreement with the five nations composing the Central American
Common Market (CACM) – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and
Nicaragua. The first round of negotiations is scheduled to begin January 21, 2003
in San Jose, Costa Rica, and both sides have expressed optimism that an agreement
can be concluded by year end. The Central America Free Trade Agreement, referred
to as CAFTA, presents a new challenge in bilateral negotiations because the five
republics must first negotiate among themselves in order to bring a single position
on any given issue to the negotiating table with the United States.
Integration in Central America has been a historically important theme for the
region, although in practice it has experienced setbacks along the way since the
CACM was created in 1960. Nonetheless, these five nations have banded together
in realization that it is in their best interest to work collectively in negotiating trade
agreements and that the United States, as their largest export market, is the logical
priority. Although the Central American countries currently qualify as beneficiary
countries under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, an FTA with the United States would

potentially allow for further reduction in trade barriers, make permanent benefits
provisionally guaranteed in legislation requiring periodic reauthorization, and provide
an environment even more conducive for U.S. foreign investment.
For the United States, proponents of the agreement see it supporting U.S.
exports and providing less expensive imports, advancing the movement toward a
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and solidifying deeper regional political
and economic reforms that strengthen democracy and promote stability. Given the
Central American countries’ efforts to conclude FTAs with other countries, including
the Canada-Central America FTA that went into force on November 1, 2002, U.S.
businesses working in the isthmus see a U.S. FTA as an important step toward
rationalizing trade rules in the region. FTAs have also been a way for the United
States to encourage developing countries to make progress in areas such as
intellectual property rights and services, where the United States has substantial
economic strengths.
For more information online, see the State Department’s web site at
[ onal/ar/trade/02082302.htm] .
Earthquakes in El Salvador
El Salvador experienced several major earthquakes in January and February

2001 that killed over one thousand people, and displaced nearly two million people.

The United States and other countries have responded with emergency and relief
assistance. U.S. emergency assistance totaled nearly $10 million by mid-February
2001, with $6.1 million provided in response to the mid-January earthquake, and $3.3
million in response to the mid-February earthquake. When President Bush met with
Salvadoran President Francisco Flores in early March 2001, he said that the United
States had provided over $16 million in emergency relief assistance, and he pledged
to provide $52 million in reconstruction assistance in FY2001, and an equal or
greater amount in FY2002. He also notified the Salvadoran President of the U.S.
Attorney General’s decision to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to
Salvadoran immigrants in the United States for a period of 18 months. The
Salvadoran government had expressed concern about the additional strain that
returned immigrants would place on already stretched resources. The Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act for FY2002 (H.R. 2506/P.L. 107-115), approved in
late 2001, provides in Section 582 that not less than $100 million in rehabilitation
and reconstruction assistance will be provided to El Salvador.
When President Bush visited El Salvador on March 24, 2002, he discussed with
President Flores the country’s efforts to strengthen democracy, modernize the
economy, and deal with earthquake reconstruction.
For background, see CRS Report 98-1030, Central America: Reconstruction
after Hurricane Mitch, coordinated by Lois McHugh. For current status, see
USAID’s updates on the earthquake in El Salvador, available online at

Guatemala and the Peace Accords
Guatemala is beginning the sixth year of implementation of the historic peace
accords signed in December 1996, which called for programs to transform Guatemala
into a more participatory and equitable society. The United States is the single
largest bilateral donor in this area, having offered $260 million in support over the
four-year period from 1997 to 2000. Additional support was pledged through
FY2003, although multilateral institutions are making larger contributions. The Bush
Administration allocated $27.6 million in development assistance and $10 million
in Economic Support Funds in FY2002 assistance and is requesting $26.7 million in
Development Assistance and $7.5 million in Economic Support Funds for FY2003,
largely to support the peace process. U.S. assistance helps the Guatemalan
government to implement its social reform program, modernize the justice sector,
carry out land bank and titling programs, and encourage participation from marginal
The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for FY2002 (H.R. 2506/P.L. 107-

115), approved in late 2001, provides in Section 577 for U.S. agencies to collect,

expeditiously declassify, and to make public any information on the murders of U.S.
citizens in Guatemala since December 1999. The section in the Act on International
Military Education and Training (IMET) stipulates that funds for Guatemala may
only be provided for expanded IMET, or training for civilians, and only through
regular notification procedures to the Committees on Appropriations. The House
version (H.R. 5410) of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for FY2003 would
limit IMET assistance to Guatemala to expanded IMET under notification
procedures, while report language in the Senate version of the bill (S. 2779)
expresses concern about unsolved murders of Americans in Guatemala. In the past
year, the State Department and human rights groups have expressed concern over
increased violations of human rights in Guatemala.
For background, see CRS Report 98-1030, Central America: Reconstruction
after Hurricane Mitch, coordinated by Lois McHugh. For current status, see
USAID’s reports on Guatemala [].
Ongoing congressional concerns regarding Nicaragua include resolution of
property claims, U.S. assistance to Nicaragua, human rights conditions, and
democratization issues such as elections and anti-corruption efforts. Resolution of
property claims by U.S. citizens regarding expropriations carried out by the
Sandinista government in the 1980s remains the most contentious area in U.S.-
Nicaraguan relations. After a 3-year freeze in property-related lawsuits, new property
tribunals began hearing cases in July 2000. According to the State Department’s
most recent Human Rights Report (released March 4, 2002), 317 cases had been
filed, 184 passed through the mediation process, and 40 cases (22%) were settled as
of July 2001. Those cases not mediated move on to arbitration, or are returned to
district courts for expedited trials. U.S. technical assistance is aimed at improving
the mechanism for settling property disputes.

The Bush Administration requested $35.9 million for Nicaragua in FY2002 and
$37.6 million in FY2003, including about $10 million in food aid for each year. U.S.
law prohibits aid to countries that have confiscated assets of U.S. citizens, but U.S.
administrations have granted annual waivers to allow Nicaragua to receive aid.
Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in the hemisphere. Its population of 5 million
has a per capita income of only $430 per year. About half the population lives in
poverty, with 17% living in extreme poverty. The fall in world coffee prices has left
many growers and pickers without money to buy food or crop seeds. Nicaraguans
have begun dying of malnutrition, according to Nicaraguan human rights officials,
who predicted that more Nicaraguans would starve to death unless immediate food
aid was made available.6 USAID responded by providing $2 million additional
funding for its Food for Work program, expanding the emergency program to provide
jobs and food to 15,000 heads of families through November 2003. USAID also
created a $5 million loan fund to stimulate private investment to increase production,
exports, and jobs.
The government of Nicaragua “generally respected many of its citizens’ human
rights,”according to the State Department Human Rights Report, but serious
problems remain, such as extrajudicial killings by security forces. A certain amount
of impunity persists, although the government has effectively punished some human
rights offenders.
In the first session of the 107th Congress, an additional concern was the fairness
and outcome of national elections held on November 4, 2001. The top two
presidential candidates were former President Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista
National Liberation Front (FSLN) and Enrique Bolaños of the incumbent Liberal
Constitutional party. Bush Administration officials made it clear they were
concerned about an Ortega victory because from 1979 to1990, Ortega headed
Sandinista governments that were socialist and pro-Soviet and fought a civil war
against U.S.-backed “contras.” Bolaños, a businessman whose property was
confiscated during the Sandinista era, won the election, which was widely regarded
as free and fair, and he was inaugurated January 10, 2002.
Under Nicaraguan law, Ortega retains a seat in the National Assembly as the
runner-up presidential candidate. Also in the legislature is former President Arnoldo
Aleman, who negotiated an automatic seat for outgoing presidents – and therefore for
himself – at his term’s end. As perceptions of corruption in the Aleman
Administration rose during the campaign, Bolaños, his former Vice President,
distanced himself from the then-President, denouncing the January 2000 agreement
between Aleman and Ortega on constitutional changes that have been criticized as
helping the latter two maintain a hold on power.
Following through on his pledge to attack corruption, Bolaños’ administration
filed charges in April 2002 against former President Aleman and seven other officials
for alleged misuse of $1.3 million in state funds and in August for laundering of $10
million. Nicaragua’s Attorney General has accused Aleman of laundering and
misusing about $96 million in government funds while he was in office, an amount

6 “Nicaragua Fears More Starvation from Coffee Crisis,” Reuters, August 28, 2002.

equal to 4% of Nicaragua’s GDP, or an entire year’s national health budget.7
Aleman’s seat in the legislature brings with it immunity from prosecution, which he
has said he will not voluntarily relinquish. President Bolaños publicly called on the
legislature to strip Aleman of his parliamentary immunity. In September, Aleman
was removed as head of the Assembly but still wielded much power within the
Liberal party. An attempt in November to strip him of his immunity failed.
Aleman, in apparent retaliation for the corruption campaign against him, used
his position while leader of the legislature, with control of a narrow majority, to
paralyze the government for much of 2002. He blocked congressional approval of
the budget and tax reforms needed to qualify for an IMF loan the Bolaños
Administration had hoped to secure this summer. Some analysts fear this could lead
to Nicaragua defaulting on its foreign debt. Aleman also blocked an earlier attempt
to lift his immunity.
The Bush Administration called Bolaños’ anti-corruption drive “the most
important fight in Nicaragua today and one that has the full support of the U.S.
government.” Assistant Secretary Reich visited Nicaragua in August, signing an
agreement to provide an additional $1.8 million in U.S. assistance, $800,000 of
which supports current anti-corruption efforts. Then-U.S. Ambassador Oliver Garza
reportedly said the United States was investigating Aleman’s international accounts
and money flows and could charge Aleman with money laundering in U.S. courts.8
Sandinista party leader Daniel Ortega joined Bolaños’ call for removal of
Aleman’s immunity, though he resisted earlier efforts to have his own immunity
lifted. Zoilamerica Narvaez, Ortega’s stepdaughter, first charged in 1998 that Ortega
raped her repeatedly over several years, beginning when she was 11 years old, about
the time the Sandinistas took power in 1979. The case was dropped because the
legislature refused to form a committee to decide whether to strip Ortega of his
parliamentary immunity. Ortega gave up his immunity in 2001, after the statute of
limitations had expired, and the case was dismissed on that basis. After an appeals
court upheld that decision, Narvaez filed an appeal before the Supreme Court on both
rulings. In the wake of Bolaños’ attack against corruption, Narvaez asked again in

2002 that the government investigate her charges that the former President raped her.

In a separate process, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that
the Nicaraguan government had denied Narvaez her right to justice.
Bolaños and the other Central American Presidents met with President Bush in
March 2002 to discuss establishing a Central American-U.S. free trade agreement.
Bolaños made a private working visit to Washington in early April 2002, meeting
with Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Otto Reich and
Inter-American Development Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials.

7 “Waiting for the Fat Man to Sing - A Corruption Case Against Nicaragua’s Former
President,” The Economist, August 24, 2002.
8 Rupert Widdicombe, “Ex-President of Nicaragua Could be Tried in U.S.”. The Guardian,
August 17, 2002. Also, “U.S. Government Provides Additional $1.7 million to Nicaragua,”
at [].

Bolaños outlined education and health as his administration’s top priorities for his
poverty-stricken nation, one of the poorest in the hemisphere.
Reich also urged Nicaragua and Honduras to resolve their border dispute, which
began in 1999 when Honduras ratified a sea border treaty with Colombia that ignored
Nicaraguan claims to over 50,000 square miles of Caribbean territorial waters.
Honduran President Ricardo Maduro said the two countries could not find an
international mediator to help resolve the dispute.
For further information, see CRS Report RS20983, Nicaragua: Country Brief,
by Maureen Taft-Morales.
Caribbean “Third Border Initiative”
At the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec, Canada, President Bush
announced the “Third Border Initiative” for the Caribbean region. According to the
Administration, the initiative aims to deepen U.S. commitment to fighting the spread
of HIV/AIDS, to respond to natural disasters, and to make sure the benefits of
globalization are felt in even the smallest economies, particularly those in the
Caribbean, which can be seen as a “third border” of the United States. The initiatives
in the “Third Border Initiative” include $20 million in FY2002 HIV/AIDS funding,
establishment of a teacher training “Center for Excellence,” increased funding for
Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation, assistance to improve regional civil aviation
oversight, and additional funding for anti-corruption and anti-money laundering law
enforcement efforts.
The AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean – where the infection rates in several
countries are among the highest outside of sub-Saharan Africa – has already begun
to have negative consequences for economic and social development in the region.
The countries in the Caribbean with the highest infection rates are Haiti and the
Bahamas, with adult infection rates over 4%; Guyana, with an infection rate of about

3%; and the Dominican Republic and Belize, with infection rates over 2%. The U.S.

Agency for International Development (USAID) has been the main U.S. agency
providing support for a variety of regional and bilateral programs to combat AIDS
throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Overall USAID funding to combat
HIV/AIDS in the Latin America and Caribbean region rose from $15.8 million in
FY2000 to $33.2 million in FY2002. For these two years, funding for Caribbean
nations rose from $5.8 million in FY2000 to $15.8 million in FY2002. In June 2002,
President Bush announced a new program targeted at reducing mother-to-child
transmission of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and Africa. In the Caribbean, the new
program will include bilateral efforts in Guyana and Haiti and regional efforts
through the Caribbean Regional Epidemiological Center.9
In addition to USAID, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
has a number of programs to help combat HIV/AIDS in developing countries. In

9 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, “Transcript: Bush
Announces New HIV/AIDS Program for Africa, Caribbean,” Washington File, June 19,


April 2002, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson signed a “Pan-Caribbean Partnership
Agreement” in Guyana intended to expand the reach of HHS cooperative programs
for the Caribbean.10
For more information on the “Third Border Initiative,” see the U.S. Department
of State, Washington File, Fact Sheet: Caribbean “Third Border Initiative” on the
State Department Web site [].
Also see CRS Report RS21166, AIDS in the Caribbean and Central America, by
Mark P. Sullivan.
Cuba, a hard-line communist state with a poor record on human rights, has been
led by Fidel Castro since the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Since the early 1960s, U.S.
policy toward Cuba has consisted largely of isolating the island nation through
comprehensive economic sanctions. These were made stronger with the Cuban
Democracy Act (CDA) in 1992 and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act
in 1996, often referred to as the Helms/Burton legislation. Another component of
U.S. policy consists of support measures for the Cuban people, including private
humanitarian donations and U.S.-sponsored radio and television broadcasting to
Under U.S. sanctions, commercial medical and food exports to Cuba are
allowed but with numerous restrictions and licensing requirements. The 106th
Congress passed the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000
(P.L. 106-387, Title IX) that allows for one-year export licenses for shipping food
and medicine to Cuba, although no U.S. government assistance, foreign assistance,
export assistance, credits, or credit guarantees are available to finance such exports.
The law, furthermore, denies exporters access to U.S. private commercial financing
or credit; all transactions must be conducted in cash in advance or with financing
from third countries. Since November 2001, Cuba has purchased over $100 million
in agricultural products from U.S. companies; in addition, a September 2002 U.S.
food and agribusiness exhibition in Havana reportedly yielded almost $100 in
additional contracts for U.S. exports to Cuba.11
Although President Bush has announced stronger measures to enforce the
embargo, he also has continued in the same vein as the Clinton Administration by
suspending implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton legislation. On July 13,
2001, President Bush asked the Treasury Department to enhance and expand the
enforcement capabilities of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The President
noted the importance of upholding and enforcing the law in order to prevent
“unlicensed and excessive travel,” enforce limits on remittances, and ensure that
humanitarian and cultural exchanges actually reach pro-democracy activists in Cuba.
Just three days later, on July 16, 2001, President Bush decided to continue to suspend

10 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, “Text: U.S., Caribbean
Forge Partnership in Fight Against HIV/AIDS,” Washington File, April 24, 2002.
11 “Foreign Trade and Payments: Cuba Imports More Food from the United States,” Cuba
Country Report, Economist Intelligence Unit, November 2002.

for a 6-month period the Title III provisions of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic
Solidarity Act (P.L. 104-114) that allows U.S. nationals to sue for money damages
in U.S. federal court those persons who traffic in property confiscated in Cuba. He
cited efforts by European countries and other U.S. allies to push for democratic
change in Cuba. Since then, President Bush has continued to suspend the right to file
lawsuits under Title III at six-month intervals, most recently on July 16, 2002.
On May 20, 2002, President Bush announced a new initiative on Cuba that
includes four measures designed to reach out to the Cuban people: (1) facilitating
humanitarian assistance to the Cuban people by U.S. religious and other non-
governmental organization (NGOs); (2) providing direct assistance to the Cuban
people through NGOs; (3) calling for the resumption of direct mail service to and
from Cuba; and (4) establishing scholarships in the United States for Cuban students
and professionals involved in building civil institutions and for family members of
political prisoners. President Bush also called on Cuba to take steps to ensure that
the 2003 National Assembly elections are free and fair and to adopt meaningful
market-based reforms. If those conditions were met, the President maintained that
he would work with Congress to ease the ban on trade and travel. However, the
President maintained that full normalization of relations (diplomatic recognition,
open trade, and a robust aid program) would only occur when Cuba has a fully
democratic government, when the rule of law is respected, and when the human
rights of all Cubans are fully protected. The President’s initiative did not include an
explicit tightening of restrictions on travel to Cuba that some observers had expected.
The President, did state, however, that the United States would “continue to enforce
economic sanctions on Cuba, and the ban on travel to Cuba, until Cuba’s government
proves that it is committed to real reform.”12
Although there appears to be broad agreement in Congress on the overall
objective of U.S. policy toward Cuba — to help bring democracy and respect for
human rights to the island – there have been several schools of thought on how to
achieve that objective. Some advocate a policy of keeping maximum pressure on the
Cuban government until reforms are enacted, while continuing current U.S. efforts
to support the Cuban people. Others argue for an approach, sometimes referred to as
constructive engagement, that would lift some U.S. sanctions that they believe are
hurting the Cuban people, and move toward engaging Cuba in dialogue. Still others
call for a swift normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations by lifting the U.S. embargo.
Legislative initiatives introduced in the 107th Congress reflect these divergent
views on the direction of U.S. policy toward Cuba (whether sanctions should be
eased or intensified) and also cover a range of issues including human rights, drug
interdiction cooperation, and broadcasting to Cuba. On July 25, 2001, in action on
the Treasury Department Appropriations for FY2002 (H.R. 2590), the House
approved an amendment that would prohibit the Treasury Department from using
funds to enforce restrictions on travel to Cuba, but it rejected another amendment that
would prohibit enforcement of the overall economic embargo. The Senate version

12 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, “Transcript: President
Bush Urges Cuba to Hold Free Elections, Allow Dissent,” Washington File, May 20, 2002.

of the bill did not include the travel provision, and ultimately it was not included in
the conference report to the bill.
In the second session of the 107th Congress, the Senate version of the “Farm
Bill,” H.R. 2646, included a provision that would strike language from U.S. law that
prohibits private financing of agricultural sales to Cuba. Although the House version
of the bill did not contain the financing provision, on April 23, 2002, the House
approved (273-143) a nonbinding motion offered by Representative Calvin Dooley
to instruct the conferees to accept the Senate provision. Ultimately, however, the
conference report to the bill (H.Rept. 107-424, filed May 1, 2002) did not include the
Senate financing provision.
During July 23, 2002 consideration of the FY2003 Treasury Department
appropriations measure, H.R. 5120, the House approved three Cuba sanctions
amendments that would ease restrictions on travel, remittances, and agricultural
sales. The Senate version of the bill, S. 2740, as reported out of committee, included
a provision that would prevent funds from being used to enforce Cuba travel
restrictions. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of the Treasury Paul
O’Neill said that they would recommend that the President veto legislation that eases
restrictions on travel and on the financing of agricultural exports to Cuba. The White
House also stated that President Bush would veto such legislation. Final action on
the FY2003 Treasury Department appropriations measure was not completed by the
end of the 107th Congress; a series of continuing resolutions continued funding
through January 11, 2003, but final legislative action will be completed in the 108th
For further information, see CRS Report RL30806, Cuba: Issues for the 107th
Congress, by Mark P. Sullivan and Maureen Taft-Morales; CRS Report RL31139,
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Legislative Initiatives in the 107th Congress,
by Mark P. Sullivan; and CRS Issue Brief IB10061, Exempting Food and Agriculture
Products from U.S. Economic Sanctions: Status and Implementation, by Remy
Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated on February 7, 2001
to a second, non-consecutive term. Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas party swept
presidential and legislative elections on November 26, 2000. All of the major
opposition parties boycotted the elections, however, citing widespread fraud by
Aristide supporters and the unresolved dispute over May 2000 legislative elections.
Also on February 7, a coalition of 15 political parties, the Convergence
Democratique, formed an alternative government and repeated its call for new
elections. Almost two years into Aristide’s five-year term, the dispute remains
unresolved, and violence and human rights violations have increased. Violent
protests have erupted around the country, with increased calls for Aristide’s removal,
even among Haiti’s poor, usually considered Aristide’s core supporters.
The Organization of American States (OAS) has made numerous efforts to
encourage the democratic process in Haiti, but remains frustrated in its repeated
attempts to mediate a resolution to Haiti’s political crisis. At the Summit of the

Americas on April 22, 2001, hemispheric heads of state singled out Haiti as a country
whose problems are limiting its democratic and other development, and urged
President Aristide to carry through on his pledges to reform. OAS Resolution 806,
adopted on January 16, 2002, established an OAS Special Mission in Haiti. The OAS
conducted an independent investigation into a December 2001 attack on the
presidential palace and the violence against opposition parties and leaders that
followed. Its July 2002 report stated that the attack was not a coup attempt, as the
Aristide administration had claimed; that the political opposition did not plan or
execute the attack; and that government and Lavalas party officials armed militants
who plundered and burned the homes and offices of opposition members following
the palace attack. On September 4 the OAS passed Resolution 822, strengthening the
OAS mission in Haiti and urging the Haitian government to comply fully with
previous OAS resolutions and government commitments, including ensuring the
climate of security necessary to holding free and fair elections. The resolution also
frees the government to hold elections in 2003 without a prior agreement with the
opposition on those elections. It also supports normalization of economic
cooperation between the government of Haiti and international financial institutions,
urging the resolution of the financial and technical obstacles that have precluded such
The United States and other international donors have said they will not provide
aid directly to the Haitian government until Aristide carries out pledges he made in
December 2000 to make several political, judicial, and economic reforms, including
correcting the problems of the May elections, in which Aristide supporters were
awarded 10 disputed Senate seats. Foreign assistance to Haiti continues but is
currently provided mostly through non-governmental organizations. USAID
currently provides humanitarian assistance to Haiti only through non-governmental
In the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for FY2002 (P.L. 107-115, signed
into law Jan.10, 2002), Section 520 prohibits providing assistance to Haiti except
through regular notification procedures to the Committees on Appropriations. No
other conditions on aid to Haiti are in the Act. Section 554 allows the Haitian
government to purchase defense articles and services for the Haitian Coast Guard.
The Senate version of the FY2003 foreign assistance appropriations bill (S. 2779)
would have prohibited assistance to Haiti except through regular notification
procedures and would have allowed Haiti to purchase defense articles and services
for the Haitian Coast Guard. The House version (H.R. 5410) would not have
required notification procedures except for the Coast Guard purchases. It would also
have provided for “not less than $52.5 million” in food assistance programs to be
allocated to Haiti. A final FY2003 foreign aid bill was not passed before session’s
H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY2002 and 2003
(passed by the House May 16, 2001) would have authorized $6,000 to the
Organization of American States for each fiscal year to be appropriated only for the
investigation and dissemination of information on violations of freedom of
expression by the government of Haiti. The Senate version, passed on May 1, 2002,
with an amendment in the nature of a substitute, contained no such provision, nor did

the final version, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY2003, which was
signed into law (P.L. 107-228) on September 30, 2002.
In February 2002, President Bush notified Congress that Haiti was among three
nations that “failed demonstrably to make substantial counter narcotics efforts over
the past 12 months.” The Administration exercised a waiver, however, saying that
continued aid to Haiti was vital to national interests.
The Department of State reported that the Haitian government’s “generally poor
human rights record worsened” in 2001, with the government continuing to commit
serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings by members of the
Haitian National Police (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, March 4,


For further information see CRS Issue Brief IB96019, Haiti: Issues for
Congress, by Maureen Taft-Morales.
IV. Andean Region
Andean Regional Initiative (ARI)
In April and May 2001, the Bush Administration proposed $882.29 million in
FY2002 economic and counter-narcotics assistance, as well as extension of trade
preferences and other measures, for Colombia and regional neighbors in an initiative
called the “Andean Regional Initiative” (ARI).
Critics of the Andean Regional Initiative argued that it overemphasized military
and counter-drug assistance and provided inadequate support for human rights and
the peace process in Colombia. Supporters argued that it continued needed
assistance to Colombia while providing more support for regional neighbors and
social and economic programs.
In 2001, Congress provided less than the President’s request for the Andean
Region Counterdrug Initiative (ACI), the major component of the ARI. As signed
into law (P.L. 107-115), the FY2002 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (H.R.
2506) included $625 million for the ACI, $106 million less than the President’s ACI
request, with $215 million earmarked for AID programs. The measure included a
variety of conditions relating to human rights and aerial fumigation as well as an
alteration of the cap on military and civilian contractors serving in Colombia. In its
February 2002 budget submissions, the Bush Administration allocated $645 million
to the ACI account for FY2002, including $20 million transferred from the general
International Narcotics Control account.
In February 2002 budget submissions, the Bush Administration requested a total
of $979.8 million in Andean Regional Initiative assistance for FY2003, including
$731 million in counter-narcotics Andean Counterdrug Initiative assistance for the
seven ARI countries, and $98 million in Foreign Military Financing for Colombia to

train and equip a Colombian army brigade to protect an oil pipeline in northern
In March 2002, the Bush Administration’s Emergency FY2002 Supplemental
for counter-terrorism included a request for $4 million of INC funding for Colombia
police post support, $6 million of FMF funding for counter-terrorism equipment and
training in Colombia and $3 million of FMF funding for Ecuador for similar
purposes, and $25 million of Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, and Demining
funding for counter-kidnapping training in Colombia. Also included in the
submission were requests to broaden the authorities of the Defense and State
Departments to use FY2002, FY2003 assistance and unexpended Plan Colombia aid
to support the Colombian government’s “unified campaign against narcotics
trafficking, terrorist activities, and other threats to its national security.” Proponents
of the Administration’s requests argue that, in the context of the global war on
terrorism, that Colombia and the region should be supported at this time with
counter-terrorism assistance before Colombia’s violence worsens and endangers
other countries, particularly when leftist guerrillas have demonstrated little
willingness to achieve peace. Critics argue that counter-insurgency and anti-
terrorism assistance would thrust the United States into Colombia’s major guerrilla
conflict on the side of armed forces with links to rightist groups guilty of gross
human rights abuse.
In legislative action in 2002, Congress passed two major measures in the
summer, and made major progress on a third by the end of the session.
The FY2002 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 4775) was
approved in July 2002, with expanded authorities in Colombia under human rights
conditions, and it was signed into law (P.L. 107-206) on August 2, 2002.
The Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) extension and broadening was
approved in July 2002 as part of an omnibus trade bill (H.R. 3009) including trade
promotion authority and trade adjustment assistance, and the President signed it into
law (P.L. 107-210) on August 6, 2002.
Appropriations Committees in both houses have approved the FY2003 Foreign
Operations Appropriations bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its
version of the bill (S. 2779) in July 2002, but it is not clear how much of the total
ARI request is to be funded or how the $637 million approved for the President’s
Andean Counterdrug Initiative, which is $94 million less than the President’s request,
is to be apportioned. The House Appropriations Committee passed its version (H.R.
5410, H.Rept. 107-663) on September 19, 2002, and fully funds the President’s
For information on FY2002 assistance, see CRS Report RL31016, Andean
Regional Initiative (ARI): FY2002 Assistance for Colombia and Neighbors, by K.
Larry Storrs and Nina M. Serafino. For information on FY2002 supplemental and
FY2003 assistance, see CRS Report RL31383, Andean Regional Initiative (ARI):
FY2002 Supplemental and FY2003 Assistance for Colombia and Neighbors, by K.
Larry Storrs and Nina M. Serafino. For an overview of U.S. assistance to Colombia
since FY1989, see CRS Report RS21213, Colombia: Summary and Tables on U.S.

Assistance, FY1989-FY2003. Also see material available under Plan Colombia on
the U.S. Department of State’s International Information Programs Internet site
[ onal/ar/colombia/].
Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA)
Following passage by the 102nd Congress, President George Bush signed into
law the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) on December 4, 1991 (P.L. 102-182,
Title II), making it part of a multifaceted strategy to counter illicit drug production
and to promote trade in Latin America. For 10 years, it provided preferential, mostly
duty-free, treatment of selected U.S. imports from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and
Peru. ATPA’s goal was to encourage growth of a more diversified Andean export
base, thereby promoting development and providing an incentive for Andean farmers
and other workers to pursue economic alternatives to the drug trade. ATPA expired
on December 4, 2001. Following a lengthy debate, the 107th Congress reauthorized
the program (retroactively) and expanded it in the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug
Eradication Act (ATPDEA), Title XXXI of the Trade Act of 2002 (H.R. 3009),
which was signed into law (P.L. 107-210) on August 6, 2002, by President George
W. Bush.
Prior to expiring, ATPA’s trade preferences provided a small incentive-based
part to a larger Andean counternarcotics strategy. Coca production was the primary
target of these efforts and, because coca has been a highly profitable undertaking, a
key element of the counternarcotics strategy is supporting the cultivation of
alternative cash crops. ATPA’s supporters argued before Congress that reduced
tariffs played a part of the “alternative development” strategy by providing an
additional financial incentive to substitute legal crops (asparagus has been one
success story) for coca cultivation. The increase in non-agricultural exports (e.g.,
copper cathodes) also may reflect the effects of this preferential tariff program.
Others noted that through the life of the program, ATPA’s benefits were
quantitatively small, in part because they did not affect a large portion of Andean
exports. Many Andean exports were either ineligible under ATPA or were eligible
for preferential treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) as well.
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that if these
two groups of Andean exports were excluded, those articles that entered the United
States exclusively under the ATPA provisions (that is would not be eligible under the
GSP in the absence of ATPA) would amount to only 10% of exports from the
beneficiary countries. This did not change for 10 years, suggesting that ATPA’s
trade effects were unlikely to increase, unless the program’s parameters could be
Supporters of the ATPA program proposed that it be reauthorized to reinforce
the U.S. commitment to the alternative development counternarcotics strategy and
that benefits be extended to additional Andean exports to broaden their effects.
Opponents raised concerns over the adverse impact its reduced tariffs would have on
U.S. domestic producers. There was also interest in trying to rationalize treatment
among countries in the region that were provided preferential treatment under
different trade arrangements such as ATPA, the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), and the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA).

On December 4, 2001, ATPA expired and U.S. tariffs were reimposed on
affected Andean exports. On February 15, 2002, the Bush Administration deferred
collection of these tariffs for 90 days in expectation that the 107th Congress would
either reauthorize ATPA or provide a short-term extension of its trade preferences.
In part because the ATPA legislation was eventually linked to the larger debate on
trade promotion authority (TPA), Congress was unable to complete work on the bill
before the deferral expired. The program was eventually reauthorized in the Andean
Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), Title XXXI of the Trade Act
of 2002 (H.R. 3009), which was signed into law by President Bush on August 6,
2002 (P.L. 107-210). All duty reductions that were in place prior to ATPA’s
expiration were made retroactive to December 4, 2001 and presumably any duties
collected are reimbursable.
As passed into law, the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act
reflects the findings of the 107th Congress that extending and expanding trade
preferences to beneficiary countries is part of an effective U.S. foreign policy to
counter illicit drug trafficking from the Andean region. To enhance the effects of the
expired ATPA, it extends preferential treatment through December 31, 2006, and
expands it to cover many Andean exports previously excluded, such as certain textile
and apparel articles, footwear, leather products, petroleum, watches, and canned tuna.
In general, the provisions provide treatment similar to that received by Caribbean
countries under the Caribbean Basin Trade Promotion Act (CBTPA) and incorporates
customs procedures, including more relaxed certificate of origin rules, similar to
those found in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). ATPDEA also
tightens transshipment and safeguard provisions to address concerns of U.S. textile
and apparel manufacturers.
For further reading, see CRS Report RL30790, The Andean Trade Preference
Act: Background and Issues for Reauthorization, by J. F. Hornbeck.
In a marked departure from recent policy, in early 2002 President Bush sought,
through the FY2003 annual budget request and the FY2002 supplemental
appropriations request, to expand the scope of U.S. assistance, particularly military
assistance, to Colombia. Until the FY2002 supplemental appropriations bill (H.R.
4775, P.L. 107-206) was signed into law on August 2, 2002, U.S. policy permitted
funding, particularly for Colombia’s security forces, almost exclusively for
counternarcotics and related programs. In the supplemental request, submitted
March 21, 2002, the Bush Administration sought authority that would allow State
and Defense department funds to be used to assist the Colombian government
counter any threat to its national security. More specifically, it would allow FY2002
and FY2003 assistance and unexpended Plan Colombia FY2000 supplemental
assistance to support the Colombian government’s “unified campaign against
narcotics trafficking, terrorist activities, and other threats to its national security.”
In passing the FY2002 supplemental (P.L. 107-206, signed into law August 2,
2002), Congress granted the requested authority for FY2002 for the use of both
Department of Defense (DOD) and State Department International Narcotics Control
funds. In the statement of the managers accompanying the conference report on the

bill (H.Rept. 107-593), the managers stated that they expect that expanded authorities
would continue into 2003 unless Colombia fails to make a good faith effort to fulfill
commitments required by the bill and intend for authorities to continue in any
continuing resolutions.13
The Bush Administration’s request to enlarge U.S. policy towards Colombia
renewed debate over the appropriate level and type of U.S. assistance, particularly
military assistance, to Colombia. In its first year, the Bush Administration continued
the policy developed in the Clinton Administration’s “Plan Colombia” legislation
(P.L. 106-246). In July 2000, Congress approved $1.2 billion in regular and
supplemental FY2000 and FY2001 appropriations for “Plan Colombia” and
previously funded programs in Colombia. Nearly half of the $860.3 million “Plan
Colombia” supplemental funds from P.L. 106-246 was requested for a “Push into
Southern Colombia” program to set up and train two new Colombian Army
Counternarcotics Battalions (CACBs), which combined with an existing one set up
earlier by the United States. The new battalions were to assist the Colombian
National Police (CNP) in the fumigation of illicit narcotics crops and the dismantling
of laboratories, beginning with coca fumigation in the southern provinces of
Putumayo and Caquetá, where coca cultivation was spreading rapidly. The rationale
for the program was to debilitate Colombia’s powerful leftist guerrillas by depriving
them of the substantial income they derive from taxing narcotics cultivation,
processing, and marketing. In addition, Congress also provided substantial assistance
for economic development, displaced persons, human rights monitors, and
administration of justice and other governance programs, all intended to help
Colombia counter the many threats to its stability and integrity from the trafficking
of illegal narcotics.
In presenting requests for $35 million in FY2002 supplemental funds and $537
million in FY2003 regular budget funds, with expanded authority for military action,
President Bush held that such assistance was necessary to shore up Colombia’s
beleaguered democracy. (The FY2003 State Department funding request for
Colombia is $156.5 million higher than the State Department’s FY2002 allocation
for that country.) The Administration and other proponents of expanded aid and
authority argued that the United States must help Colombia face its multidimensional
security threats. Such assistance, however, revived some Members’ concerns that the
United States is being slowly drawn into a Vietnam-like morass, providing assistance
to a government that does not have the credibility and political will to successfully
wage its own war and conclude a just peace. Of particular concern to opponents were
the human rights provisions in the Plan Colombia and subsequent legislation, not all
of which would continue to apply under the Bush proposal. The FY2002
supplemental appropriations bill continues all previous or similar conditions from the
FY2002 foreign operations appropriations act (P.L. 107-115) and the FY2002
defense appropriations act (P.L. 107-117).

13 Congress must re-authorize such support in FY2003 legislation, however. As of the first
week of November 2002, no FY2003 legislation contained such a specific authorization.
However, the House version of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (H.R. 5410,
H.Rept. 107-663) would provide a blanket authorization for all appropriations in the bill that
have not been authorized by prior legislation.

According to State Department sources, Congress fully funded the FY2002
supplemental request for Colombia, which included $25 million in anti-terrorism
funds for an anti-kidnapping program for Colombian police and military forces; $6
million in FMF funds to initiate the infrastructure security program in FY2002; and
$4 million in State Department International Narcotics Control (INC) funds to help
the Colombian National Police establish posts in areas now lacking a government
security presence. The bill modifies some existing reporting requirements and adds
new ones.
In the FY2003 budget request, the President asked for $98 million in Foreign
Military Financing (FMF) aid to fund units of Colombian soldiers to protect an oil
pipeline and other infrastructure frequently sabotaged by leftist guerrilla groups. For
counternarcotics activities, $ 439 million was requested under the State Department’s
INC account for continued support of “Plan Colombia” programs and for the
formation of a new Colombian Army counternarcotics brigade of about 2,700 troops.
The House and Senate have each passed a version of the FY2003 Foreign Operations
appropriations bill containing funding for these purposes, but conference action has
not commenced.
The House version of the bill (H.R. 5410, H.Rept. 107-663) appears to fully
fund the President’s $537 million ACI request for Colombia and would provide the
$98 million in FMF money for the pipeline brigade. (The FMF money is to be
transferred to the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement account for
disbursement.) The House version retains the cap of 400 on the number of U.S.
civilian contractors and on the number of U.S. military personnel that can be funded
in Colombia during FY2003, and contains several restrictions on aid to Colombia.
In stating that the FY2003 funds available to the State Department can be used to
support the Colombian government’s “unified campaign” against narcotics
trafficking and terrorist organizations, the section of the bill on the Andean
Counterdrug Initiative provides that such authority will be withdrawn if the Secretary
of State “has credible evidence that the Colombian Armed Forces are not conducting
vigorous operations to restore government authority and respect for human rights in
areas under the effective control of paramilitary and guerrilla organizations.” In
order to release any of the funds contained in the bill, the Secretary of State must
certify that Colombia is meeting human rights criteria pertaining to the military that
are identical to those in the FY2002 foreign operations appropriations act, P.L. 107-


The Senate version of the Foreign Operations appropriations bill (S. 2779,
S.Rept. 107-219) does not provide full funding for the Colombia component of the
ARI. In particular, it provides $94 million less that the President’s request for $647
for the entire Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI), with no mention in the bill or
accompanying report as to how the money is to be apportioned among the recipient
countries. It does fund the full $98 million requested for the pipeline brigade. The
Senate bill retains the 400-person cap on U.S. civilian contractors and on U.S.
military personnel, contains a human rights certification requirement, and requires
various reports, including a report on the safety of aerial fumigation programs there.
In order to release an initial tranche of 60% of the funds in the bill, the Secretary of
State must certify that the Colombian military meets human rights criteria that are
identical to those of the FY2002 foreign operations appropriations act, P.L. 107-115,

and he must again certify that those criteria are met to later release the remaining

40% of funds.

Since October 1, 2002, funding for Colombia has been covered by a continuing
resolution (H.J.Res.111, P.L. 107-229) and subsequent resolutions extending it,
which provide for the continuation of projects and activities, albeit with some
limitations. One limitation affecting Colombia is that funding can continue only at
the FY2002 level, which in the case of funding for the pipeline brigade - which was
$6 million in the FY2002 supplemental appropriations bill - is much less than
provided in the House or Senate appropriations bills.
Other legislative measures contain certain provisions on Colombia. These
include the House version of the National Defense Authorization Bill for FY2003
(H.R. 4546), passed May 10, 2002, which would cap the number of DOD-funded
U.S. military personnel involved in operations in Colombia at 500, and the Foreign
Relations Authorization Act for FY2003 (H.R. 1646, H.Rept. 107-671) signed into
law September 30, 2002 (P.L. 107-228), which has several reporting requirements.
For more information, see CRS Report RS21213, Colombia: Summary and
Tables on U.S. Assistance, FY1989-FY2003; CRS Report RL31383, Andean
Regional Initiative (ARI): FY2002 Supplemental and FY2003 Assistance for
Colombia and Neighbors, which tracks legislative action during 2002 on Colombia;
CRS Report RL31016, Andean Regional Initiative (ARI): FY2002 Assistance for
Colombia and Neighbors, which tracked action during 2001; and CRS Report
RL30541,Colombia: Plan Colombia Legislation and Assistance (FY2000-FY2001)
for information on legislation approved in 2000, and CRS Report RS21242,
Colombia: The Uribe Administration and Congressional Concerns, which provides
information on the Colombian administration that took power August 7, 2002.
Alejandro Toledo was inaugurated as President of Peru on July 28, 2001,
following two-round presidential elections in April and June 2001 that were widely
regarded as free and fair. Toledo’s primary tasks are seen as stimulating economic
growth, maintaining stability, and restoring the independence of democratic
institutions – and public confidence in them – by continuing to root out the
widespread political corruption that is part of the legacy left behind by President
Alberto Fujimori. The former Executive fled to Japan and resigned in November
2000, following allegations of electoral fraud and a series of corruption and human
rights scandals involving his top aide. An interim government was formed according
to constitutional rules of succession and was praised for maintaining calm, attacking
corruption, and organizing presidential and legislative elections in its eight months
in office. An anti-Fujimori opposition leader, Toledo was elected with 53% of the
valid vote, against left-leaning former Peruvian President Alan Garcia with 47% of
the vote.
Peruvian and Wall Street analysts said that the Toledo Administration’s
“prudent” 2002 budget, ambitious privatization plan, and agreement for a new
standby loan from the International Monetary Fund were creating conditions for
growth. Indeed, under Toledo Peru has exhibited one of the highest growth rates in

Latin America, with an increased economic output of more than 3% expected for
2002, following 4 years of stagnation under his predecessors. In the face of public
protests against privatization and other aspects of his economic policy, however,
Toledo fired his Finance Minister, the internationally respected economist Pedro
Pablo Kuczynski, replacing him with Javier Silva Ruete, who held the post during
the interim government. In another setback for Toledo, his Peru Posible party was
soundly defeated in elections for new regional governments in November 2002.
Garcia’s American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) and other opposition
parties appeared to win all but one of the 25 new regional seats, with APRA winning
the most at 11. Toledo pushed for the creation of regional governments to
decentralize the government.
Toledo’s popular approval rate has dropped dramatically, to 20%, since he took
office. Toledo has been widely criticized as having weak leadership skills and for
making promises he cannot keep. Toledo pleads for patience and says he cannot be
expected to deliver in the short-term what he committed to deliver over 5 years. His
image was also damaged by personal issues, such as finally admitting, after a long
public denial, that he fathered a child out of wedlock in the 1980s.
Since the fall of the Fujimori government, many observers have expressed
concern regarding the former head of the Peruvian intelligence service, Vladimiro
Montesinos, and his relationship to U.S. agencies, especially the Central Intelligence
Agency, and to counter narcotics operations. Montesinos also fled, was captured in
Venezuela and returned to Peru, where he faces some 168 criminal investigations
into crimes including money laundering, illicit enrichment and corruption, organizing
death squads, protecting drug lords, and illegal arms trafficking. In their oversight of
counter narcotics programs in Peru, Members of the 107th Congress monitored these
investigations, especially as they related to relations between Montesinos and U.S.
agencies. The United States provided the Peruvian congressional committee
investigating Montesinos’ activities with declassified State Department documents,
which showed U.S. officials as wary of dealing with Montesinos in light of
unconfirmed allegations of his involvement in corruption and human rights
violations. In July 2002 Montesinos was convicted of usurping office, the first of
over 70 criminal charges he faces. In August the Swiss government repatriated some
$78 million from Montesinos’ Swiss bank accounts to the government of Peru.
Congressional support for a U.S.-Peruvian aerial drug interdiction program
waned following an accident on April 20, 2001, in which an American missionary
plane was accidentally shot down in Peru, killing a U.S. missionary woman and her
infant daughter. The program, which involves intelligence sharing between Central
Intelligence Agency-contracted private military personnel and Peruvian authorities,
was suspended and put under review. Peru’s Foreign Minister at the time reportedly
asked that the program be resumed, arguing that it was the only practical way to
combat narcotics traffickers in Peru. Others argue that the flight interdiction
program’s impact is minimal because traffickers use a variety of other means to
export coca from Peru. The U.S. and Peruvian governments conducted a joint
investigation into the accident. Their report, released August 2, 2001, concluded that
lax procedures, including the inability of Peruvian and U.S. personnel to
communicate in the same language, contributed to the erroneous shoot down.
According to the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law

Enforcement Affairs (INL), a Letter of Agreement outlining new procedures is being
drafted, and Peruvian crews began training in July 2002. INL hopes to have the
Agreement completed in spring 2003, with resumption of aerial interdiction to follow
shortly thereafter.
The Andean Counterdrug Initiative, incorporated into the Foreign Operations
appropriations bill for FY2002 (P.L. 107-115, signed into law Jan.10, 2002),
prohibited funding of a Peruvian air interdiction program until the Secretary of State
and Director of Central Intelligence certified to Congress, 30 days before resuming
such a program, that enhanced safeguards and procedures were in place to prevent
the occurrence of any incident similar to the one of April 2001. It also set forth
health and safety guidelines for aerial coca fumigation and specified that not less than
$215 million should be applied to USAID economic and social programs in the
Andean region. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Peru John Hamilton said U.S. counter
narcotics assistance to Peru would triple in 2002 to over $150 million. Of that aid,
$77.5 million was for alternative development programs, and $75 million was for law
enforcement, interdiction, and eradication operations. In July Peru’s government
abruptly halted forced eradication of coca and suspended crop substitution programs.
According to the State Department’s INL, both programs resumed in September after
Peruvian concerns were addressed.
In March 2002, the United States and Peru signed a Bilateral Peru Riverine Plan
to increase joint police and naval operations against narcotics traffickers on Peru’s
rivers. The government of Peru is to maintain a regional Riverine Training School,
and the United States will provide $3 million in annual support of river operations
and maintenance programs.14
Members of Congress also expressed concern regarding the case of Lori
Berenson, an American jailed in Peru. Berenson was convicted in 1996 by a secret
military tribunal of helping plan a thwarted attack against the legislature by the Tupac
Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), a guerrilla group, and she was given a life
sentence. In 2000, a higher military tribunal overturned the ruling and sent the case
to a civilian anti-terrorism court, which in June 2001 convicted Berenson on charges
of collaboration with terrorists, reducing her sentence to 20 years, including time
already served. Berenson’s appeal was denied by Peru’s Supreme Court in February
2002. In July 2001, 143 Members of Congress signed a letter to the Peruvian
government asking for the immediate release of Berenson, who maintains her
innocence. Reportedly, both President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell
asked Toledo for her release on humanitarian grounds (Miami Herald, February 19,
2002). Others, including former U.S. Ambassador to Peru Dennis Jett, who was
serving in Peru when the MRTA took hundreds of people hostage at the Japanese
ambassador’s residence in 1996, say it would be “a major mistake” to make
Berenson’s pardon a high priority in U.S.-Peru relations and would risk making
President Toledo appear to be soft on terrorism or as interfering with the courts.

14 U.S. Department of State, Washington File, “Fact Sheet on U.S.-Peruvian Cooperation on
Counternarcotics,” March 25, 2002.

During his trip to Lima in March 2002, according to the White House, the
President did not ask Toledo to grant Berenson clemency but told Toledo she was
given due process in her second trial and that he was awaiting the recommendation
of the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights. The Commission found that Berenson’s human rights were violated during
both her military and civilian trials and that the Peruvian government had the
“international obligation” to ensure Berenson reparation. Peru said the decision had
no legal basis and, in an extremely unusual move, filed suit against the Commission
before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Inter-American Court of
Human Rights agreed in September to consider her case.15 The Court has one year
to make a decision, which will be legally binding on OAS member state Peru. The
Court could uphold the sentence, order a retrial, or order Peru to set Berenson free
– her only option for release other than a presidential pardon, which Peru has
indicated is unlikely.16
President Bush became the first U.S. President to visit Peru when he traveled
to Lima on March 23, 2002. Presidents Bush and Toledo pledged to jointly fight
terrorism and narcotics trafficking . President Toledo, along with the Presidents of
Colombia and Bolivia and Vice President of Ecuador, urged President Bush to extend
and expand the Andean Trade Preference Act, which expired in December 2001.
Congress later reauthorized – with duty reductions retroactive to the expiration date
– and expanded the program, and the President signed it into law (P.L. 107-210) on
August 6, 2002.
President Bush discussed several other U.S. initiatives involving Peru during his
visit, including the provision of $50 million over the next 5 years to support
consolidating democratic reform; $3.5 million to support the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission in investigating past human rights abuses; the continued
declassification and delivery of State Department documents requested by Peru’s
Congress to support its investigation into corruption and abuses under the Fujimori
government; and the re-establishment, after a 27-year absence, of the Peace Corps
program in Peru. A debt-for-nature swap, which was agreed to at the meeting, was
signed on June 26. Under the agreement, part of Peru’s foreign debt was cancelled
in return for the Peruvian government’s commitment of resources to conserve and
maintain wildlife reserves and other protected areas.
For further information, see CRS Report RL30918, Peru: Recovery from Crisis,
and CRS Report RS20536, Peruvian Elections in 2000: Congressional Concerns and
Policy Approaches, by Maureen Taft-Morales.

15 Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Press Release CDH-CP-09/02 ENGLISH, Sept.

24, 2002, San Jose, Costa Rica.

16 Jude Webber, “Lawyer: Latam Rights Court to Reopen Berenson Case.” Reuters, July 15,

2002; Craig Mauro, “Peru to bring case of American prisoner to international court.” Assoc.

Press, July 16, 2002.

Massive opposition protests and military pressure led to the ouster of President
Hugo Chavez from power on April 12, 2002, but Chavez ultimately was restored to
power two days later, again with the support of the military. Chavez was ousted
from office after protests by hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans and the death of
19 people, allegedly shot by pro-government supporters. Senior Venezuelan military
leaders expressed outrage at the massacre of unarmed civilians and blamed President
Chavez and his supporters. Business leader Pedro Carmona was appointed by the
military to head an interim government but quickly lost the support of the military
when he took such hardline measures as dismantling the National Assembly, firing
the Supreme Court, and suspending the Constitution. Carmona stepped down just
a day after he took office, paving the way for Chavez’s return to power early in the
morning of April 14. The interim government’s hardline polices as well as strong
support in the streets from Chavez supporters convinced military commanders to
back Chavez’s return. Moreover, some military factions had continued to support
Chavez during his ouster.
Since the election of Chavez as President in 1998, Venezuela has undergone
enormous political changes, with a new constitution and revamped political
institutions. Critics and other observers have raised concerns about his government
and fear that the President is moving toward authoritarian rule with his domination
of most government institutions. Chavez’s popularity has eroded since mid-2001,
amid concerns that his government has been ineffective in improving living
conditions in Venezuela. Opposition to his rule has grown into a broad coalition of
political parties, unions, and business leaders, along with several senior military
officers, while Chavez maintains strong support among the poor.
Upon his return to power after his two-day ouster in April 2002, Chavez
appealed for reconciliation and promised new lines of communication with the
opposition, yet his government also began purging the military of officials who had
supported his ouster. Disparate opposition groups united in an effort to remove
Chavez from power, focusing on efforts to hold Chavez accountable for the death of
civilian protestors in April and to push for a national referendum on the Chavez
presidency. U.S. officials expressed concerns about continued polarization in
Venezuela, urged the Chavez government and the opposition to engage in dialogue
to overcome their differences, and called on the Organization of American States
(OAS) to play a role in resolving the political crisis.
As of late November 2002, political tensions in Venezuela remained high, with
increased polarization between Chavez supporters and opponents. OAS Secretary
General Cesar Gaviria has been involved in mediating negotiations between the
government and the opposition. Chavez maintains that, according to the constitution,
a referendum on his rule can take place no earlier than halfway through his term, in
August 2003. Opposition leaders are calling for a non-binding referendum early in

2003, which they believe will force Chavez to resign. Polls show that two-thirds of

Venezuelans have little or no confidence in the Chavez government.17 Labor leaders
have called for a general strike December 2, 2002 to force Chavez to hold the
referendum. Chavez has denounced the planned strike and accused opposition
leaders of trying to destabilize the nation.
The United States has traditionally had close relations with Venezuela,
characterized by an important trade and investment relationship and cooperation in
combating the production and transit of illicit drugs. Under the Chavez government,
however, there has been friction in U.S.-Venezuelan relations. In November 2001,
the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela was recalled for consultations as a sign of
displeasure with Chavez’s statement regarding the war in Afghanistan that the United
States was “responding to terror with terror.”18 The State Department also expressed
concern in early 2002 about attempts by Chavez supporters to intimidate the
opposition and the press. U.S. officials emphasized that those seeking political
change in the country should pursue it democratically and constitutionally.19
In the aftermath of Chavez’s brief ouster in April 2002, the United States
expressed solidarity with the Venezuelan people, commended the Venezuelan
military for refusing to fire on peaceful demonstrators, and maintained that
undemocratic actions committed or encouraged by the Chavez administration
provoked the political crisis.20 With Chavez’s return to power, the United States
called on President Chavez to heed the message sent by the Venezuelan people by
correcting the course of his administration and “governing in a fully democratic
manner.”21 In contrast to the United States, many Latin American nations
condemned the overthrow of Chavez, labeling it a coup. However, the United States
did support an OAS resolution that condemned the “alteration of constitutional order
in Venezuela.” Amid subsequent opposition protests to Chavez’s rule, the State
Department stressed that the United States “does not and will not condone an
unconstitutional, undemocratic interruption in the democratic order by any party in
Venez u el a.” 22
The Bush Administration has expressed strong support for the work of the OAS
Secretary General to bring about a resolution to the crisis. Assistant Secretary of

17 “Venezuela: Last Days for Chavez as Support Falls Away,” Oxford Analytica, November

14, 2002.

18 Andy Webb-Vidal, “Intimidation of Chavez’s Critics Alarms Washington,” Financial
Times, January 9, 2002, p. 6.
19 Juan O. Tamayo, “U.S. Opposes Move to Oust Chavez,” Miami Herald, February 28,

2002, p. 8A.

20 U.S. Department of State, “Venezuela: Change of Government,” Press Statement, April

12, 2002.

21 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, “White House Calls on
Venezuela’s Chavez to Preserve Peace, Democracy,” Washington File, April 14, 2002.
22 U.S. Department of State, “Venezuela: June 15 Demonstrations,” Press Statement, June

13, 2002.

State Otto Reich called for early elections in Venezuela in order to resolve the
country’s difficulties “peacefully, democratically, and constitutionally.”23
Key U.S. interests in Venezuela include continued U.S. access to Venezuelan
oil reserves, the largest outside of the Middle East; promotion and protection of U.S.
trade and investment; the preservation of democracy; and continued close anti-
narcotics cooperation. The Bush Administration allocated $5.5 million in FY2002
assistance for Venezuela as part of the anti-drug strategy of the Andean Regional
Initiative and requested $8.5 million in FY2003 assistance.
For additional information, see CRS Report RS20978, Venezuela: Political
Conditions and U.S. Relations, by Mark P. Sullivan.
V. Brazil and the Southern Cone
President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of the center-left Brazilian Social
Democratic Party (PSDB) will complete his second term in the last days of 2002,
ending an eight-year period (1995-2002) that, despite criticisms and difficulties, has
been recognized as an era of political stability and free market economic reform.
Following two rounds of elections in October 2002, Cardoso will be replaced by
President-elect Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of the leftist Workers Party (PT) who will
be inaugurated as President on January 1, 2003.
Cardoso was first elected in 1994 and was resoundingly reelected in 1998,
largely because of the broad coalition of support, the success of his anti-inflation
Real Plan, and voters’ confidence that he could best deal with mounting national and
international economic difficulties. In 1999, he maintained austere budgets,
experienced a serious devaluation of the currency, and obtained a $41.5 billion loan
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2001, he suffered an energy crisis
and uncertainty in Argentina, and once again obtained a $15.6 billion loan from the
IMF with tough fiscal and monetary targets.
In 2002, the country continued to experience difficulties associated with the
crisis in Argentina and the stagnant growth in the United States, compounded as the
year advanced by doubts about the likely economic policies of the leading
presidential candidates. In this environment, investors sought to reduce their
exposure in Brazil, with resulting pressure on the real and the current account and
Brazil’s level of indebtedness. By early August 2002, with the real falling about 25%
since the first of the year, indexed dollar-denominated debt increasing with the
decline of the real, and banks unwilling to roll over debt, Brazil’s credit rating fell
so low that it was lower than any other nation’s except Argentina and Nigeria.
Facing the prospect of serious financial difficulties, on August 7, 2002, the IMF
announced that Brazil had negotiated a new $30 billion stand-by credit package,

23 Tim Johnson, “U.S. Urges Chavez to Call Early Elections to End Crisis,” Miami Herald,
November 1, 2002.

under similar fiscal and monetary targets, with $6 billion to be available in 2002 and
$24 billion to be available in 2003, under a new president. Although the markets
were initially skeptical of this agreement because of the lack of commitment by the
leading presidential candidates, at meetings between the candidates and President
Cardoso on August 19, 2002, the candidates agreed to the fiscal targets spelled out
in the agreement, without fully committing to the agreements.24
In the foreign policy area, Brazil’s relations with the neighboring countries of
Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, which together with Brazil form the Southern
Common Market (Mercosur), strengthened significantly in the 1990s, although
Brazil’s devaluation of the real and Argentina’s economic difficulties are posing new
challenges to the subregional bloc. Brazil and members of Mercosur have emerged
as the major advocates of a slower approach to achieving an agreement on a Free
Trade Area of Americas (FTAA), insisting that free trade must include agricultural
products and must establish limits to unilateral actions of various sorts. Even so,
relations with the United States are friendly as demonstrated by President Cardoso’s
visits with President Bush in Washington, D.C. and Quebec, Canada The two
countries are cooperating in many areas, despite trade disputes, including the Bush
Administration’s imposition of temporary safeguard tariffs on foreign steel products
and the agricultural subsidies in the new U.S. Farm Bill. Beginning in November
2002, Brazil and the United States became the co-chairs of the FTAA Trade
Negotiating Committee (TNC) responsible for bringing the negotiations to a
In the October 2002 presidential elections, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of the
leftist Workers Party (PT) led in the polls from the beginning to the end and emerged
from the second round as the clear victor, with 61.3% of the valid vote, compared to
Jose Serra, the candidate of the governing coalition, with 38.7% of the vote. A
former metal worker, union organizer, and unsuccessful presidential candidate in

1989, 1994, and 1998, Lula da Silva made alliances with centrist and leftist parties,

and he has promised to maintain sound economic policies while carrying out anti-
hunger and other social programs. He will be inaugurated President on January 1,


For additional information, see CRS Report RL30121, Brazil under Cardoso:
Politics, Economics, and Relations with the United States, by K. Larry Storrs; and
CRS Report 98-987, Brazil’s Economic Reform and the Global Financial Crisis, by
J.F. Hornbeck.
In December 2001, Argentina’s financial collapse and escalating social unrest
forced President Fernando de la Rua to resign from office. Following a short period
of confusion over presidential succession, on January 1, 2002, the Argentine
Congress selected Eduardo Duhalde to complete the December 2003 term and face
the country’s economic rebuilding. As Peronist Party leader, a former Vice President
(under Menem), and Governor of Buenos Aires Province, Duhalde has been a

24 See Brazil Candidates Stop Short of IMF Endorsement, Reuters, August 20, 2002.

longtime political force and, at times, a vocal critic of Argentina’s market-based
reforms, which he at one time blamed for many of the current problems. He has
since struggled to find the correct policy mix to restore economic growth to
Argentina and address growing social issues.
The seeds of Argentina’s financial and political crisis were planted in 1991 with
adoption of its currency board to fight hyperinflation. The Convertibility Law, which
enacted the currency board, legally guaranteed the convertibility of peso currency to
dollars at a one-to-one fixed rate, and monetary policy was forcibly constrained to
uphold that promise. Although this program achieved its goal of reducing inflation,
to remain credible over the long run, it required continuing strong economic growth
and disciplined macroeconomic policies, particularly if it were to weather the
inevitable external shocks.
Argentina proved unable to enforce the economic policies needed to support the
convertibility plan and was eventually beset by numerous external shocks. Nagging
fiscal deficits, growing debt obligations, and deteriorating current account deficits
combined with the 1999 Brazilian devaluation, the real appreciation of the U.S.
dollar, rising interest rates, and the global downturn in 2001 to effectively trap the
country in a four-year recession, with little policy room to effect a solution. Over
time, and despite repeated financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), confidence waned in Argentina’s ability simultaneously to reverse its
recession, correct its fiscal deficit, honor its foreign debt obligations, and maintain
the convertibility plan. Last ditch financial policies, such as forced debt restructuring
and limiting bank withdrawals, strained credibility abroad and incited rioting at home
that culminated in the economic and political crisis, including Argentina’s default on
over $90 billion of sovereign debt.
President Duhalde’s economic program initially centered on abandoning the
currency board and the peso’s 1-to-1 peg with the dollar in favor of a dual exchange
rate system. This soon gave way to a floating exchange rate system but included
bank deposits and loans being converted at a rate of 1.40 pesos and 1.00 pesos to the
dollar, respectively. The freeze on bank deposits was also maintained. The
mismatch in the conversion rate between bank loans (assets) and deposits (liabilities)
caused banks to become technically bankrupt despite government assurances that it
would provide assistance. This arrangement proved to be a lingering issue for both
rebuilding the financial system and working out a plan for additional assistance from
the IMF. President Duhalde faces other problems including restructuring Argentina’s
massive foreign debt, tax reform, fiscal tightening, and establishing a monetary
anchor to manage inflation, all of which are considered cornerstones to Argentina’s
financial credibility and receiving approval for IMF assistance.
As the first anniversary of the crisis approaches, the Duhalde program continues
to face many challenges, both political and economic, and is highly unpopular given
the financial hardships it has placed on the Argentine people. The economy has
shrunk by over 12% in 2002, unemployment has reached 22%, and half the
population is below the poverty line, resulting in mounting social tension. Foreign
investors are also unsure whether to continue operating in Argentina. Recapitalizing
and eliminating restrictions on the banking system are critical aspects of restarting
the economy and reducing social tensions. This will require IMF and other

international assistance, which has been impeded by questions over Argentina’s
policy direction. The November 14, 2002 default on an $800 million World Bank
loan payment made matters worse. In addition, the Argentine government faces deep
institutional reform before it is likely to win back the confidence of the Argentine
people, many of whom have expressed distrust of the state for abandoning
fundamental social, legal, and economic contracts. The implications for broader
policy issues, such as moving ahead on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
and maintaining close ties with the United States, remain uncertain. Under these
circumstances, the world is watching to see if Argentina’s economic and political
situation deteriorates further. The crisis has also raised questions about the role of
the IMF and whether it might have encouraged a different course for Argentina at an
earlier date, when the costs of transitioning from its convertibility plan would have
been much lower.
For more information, see CRS Report RS21072, The Financial Crisis in
Argentina, by J. F. Hornbeck, CRS Report RL31582, The Argentine Financial
Crisis: A Chronology of Events, and CRS Report RS21113, Argentina’s Political
Upheaval, by Mark P. Sullivan.
U.S.-Chilean relations, which improved considerably with the nation’s return
to democracy in 1990, are close and continue to strengthen given their strong
commercial ties. Since 1994, U.S.-Chilean relations have centered on negotiating a
free trade agreement, with the expectation initially that Chile would accede to the
North American Free Trade Agreement. Although this did not come about, the
United States and Chile did commence formal negotiations on a bilateral free trade
agreement (FTA) on December 6-7, 2000 in Washington, D.C. Negotiations have
continued at a brisk pace and what is expected to be the final round will take place
again in Washington between December 2-6, 2002. Progress has been made in many
of the major negotiating areas, but significant differences need to be resolved in the
areas of labor and environmental dispute resolution, agriculture, investment, and
intellectual property rights. Despite these pending challenges, both sides are
optimistic that an agreement can be reached by early 2003, which Congress would
have to approve by passing implementing legislation.
Chile is an important regional leader for Latin America as a model for political
and economic reform in the region. At a time when these reforms are coming under
increasing criticism and populism appears to be returning to the region, Chile stands
apart in persevering with its program. Chile has been rewarded with long-term
economic growth, reduced poverty levels, and at least partial immunity from the
financial instability that currently challenges its neighbors. Still, with the economy
slowing, social pressures could lead to political changes that are less welcoming of
Chile’s current development path. Many believe that the status of the Chilean story
as a paradigm of liberal economic and political reform will have an important
influence on the rest of the region. How Chile fares in the short term, therefore, is
a critical indicator to watch in Latin America, an issue not lost on the U.S. Congress.
For background information, see CRS Report RL30035, Chile: Political/
Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations, by Mark P. Sullivan. For information on

U.S.-Chile trade relations, see CRS Report RL31144, A U.S.-Chile Free Trade
Agreement: Economic and Trade Policy Issues, by J.F. Hornbeck; and CRS Issue
Brief IB10077, Agricultural Trade Issues in the 107th Congress, by Charles E.
Hanrahan, Geoffrey S. Becker, and Remy Jurenas.