Colombian President Cesar Gaviria plans to fly to the United States Saturday in hopes of gathering economic aid and support for his anti-drug effort.
Gaviria, unlike his predecessor, Virgilo Barco, has refused to extradite accused narcotics traffickers to the United States for trial and said Colombian judges travelling with him will try to get case files compiled by U.S. prosecuters to use in domestic trials.Gaviria will visit New York, Washington and Miami and is to meet with U.S. officials who have been extemely critical of Colombia's plan to have accused traffickers surrender to domestic authorities in exchange for lighter sentences and a guarantee they will not be extradited to the United States for trial.
While three of the accused bosses of the Medellin cocaine Cartel - Juan, Jorge and Favio Ochoa - surrendered under the plan, more than five others have been set free by judges for lack of evidence.
Many Colombians recall that seven years ago another judge declared former banker Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela free of drug trafficking charges. Rodriguez is the suspected head of the Cali Cartel, one of the nation's largest cocaine trading organizations, and is wanted on drug charges for extradition to the United States.
Gaviria will visit New York first, speaking to United Nations members Monday.