Colombia: Issues for Congress [Updated November 13, 2006]   [open pdf - 182KB]

"Recent debate on U.S. policy toward Colombia has taken place in a context of concern for the volume of drugs readily available in the United States and elsewhere in the world, and security issues in the Andean region. The United States has made a significant commitment of funds and material support to help Colombia and the Andean region fight drug trafficking since the development of Plan Colombia in 1999. In support of the plan, Congress passed legislation providing $1.3 billion in assistance for FY2000 (P.L. 106-246) and has provided more than $4 billion for programs in Colombia from FY2000 through FY2005 in both State Department and Defense Department counternarcotics accounts. 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. In 2004, Congress raised the statutory cap on U.S. personnel allowed to be deployed to Colombia in support of Plan Colombia. The three main illegally armed groups in Colombia participate in drug production and trafficking and have been designated foreign terrorist organizations by the State Department… U.S. policy in Colombia remains controversial. Proponents of current U.S. policy point to inroads that have been made with regard to the eradication of illicit drug crops and improved security conditions. However, nongovernmental organizations argue that U.S. policy does not rigorously promote human rights, provide for sustainable economic alternatives for drug crop farmers, and has not reduced the amount of drugs available in the United States. Congress has expressed concern about a number of Colombia-related policy issues including the aerial eradication of illicit drug crops, interdiction programs, the situation of U.S. hostages, funding levels for Plan Colombia, and human rights. Moreover, Congress has debated U.S. policy options in Colombia on the basis of the country's prominent role in drug production, and the effects of drug trafficking on terrorism, regional security, and oil production."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32250
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