Colombia: Issues for Congress [Updated September 12, 2008]   [open pdf - 232KB]

This is an updated report from the Congressional Research service on U.S.-Colombia relations. "In the last decade, Colombia -- a key U.S. ally in South America -- has made significant progress in reasserting government control over much of its territory, combating drug trafficking and terrorist activities by illegally armed groups, and reducing poverty. Since the development of Plan Colombia in 1999, the Colombian government, with substantial U.S. support, has stepped up its counternarcotics and security efforts. Congress has provided more than $6 billion to support Plan Colombia from FY2000 through FY2008. Since 2002, Congress has granted the State Department expanded authority to use counternarcotics funds for a unified campaign to fight both drug trafficking and terrorist organizations in Colombia. Proponents of the current U.S. policy towards Colombia point to the inroads that have been made in improving security conditions in Colombia and in weakening the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. Critics argue that, despite these security improvements, U.S. policy has not rigorously promoted human rights, provided for sustainable economic alternatives for drug crop farmers, or reduced the amount of drugs available in the United States. […] Concerns in the 110th Congress regarding Colombia have focused on funding levels and U.S. policy regarding Plan Colombia, U.S. hostages, trade, and human rights. […] While acknowledging the progress that the Uribe government has made in improving security conditions in Colombia, some Members of Congress have expressed concerns about labor activist killings and the parapolitical scandal. These issues came to the fore during consideration of the U.S.- Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32250
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