Nothing in Washington ever happens in a vacuum. And the Clinton administration’s recent proposal to give Colombia $1.3 billion in aid to help combat drug trafficking is no exception.

For almost a year, a business consortium of blue-chip multinationals has been pressing the White House and Capitol Hill for such a package. The assistance, the companies say, is needed to help the war-torn Latin American country beat back a growing illegal drug trade that is making it difficult to do business.

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