BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — A U.S. senator has frozen $55.2 million in military aid to Colombia while he discusses with the State Department accusations that Colombia's army chief colluded with illegal paramilitary groups.
The move by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) came as some members of his party push for a tougher line on Colombia, which has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid to fight left-wing rebels and the illicit drug trade.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is under scrutiny as he fends off a scandal linking several of his lawmaker allies to the militias, which are accused of drug trafficking and massacres during their war with the left-wing guerrillas.
Leahy is chairman of the subcommittee that oversees aid to Colombia.
Leahy spokesman David Carle said the senator wanted to discuss his concerns, including those stemming from a Times report last month citing CIA documents that say Colombian army commander Gen. Mario Montoya worked with the militias.