Colombia: Issues for Congress [Updated February 26, 2008]   [open pdf - 266KB]

"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, security issues in the Andean region, and the U.S. Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. 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. […] 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. […] 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. President Alvaro Uribe, re-elected in May 2006, is seeking to address the 40- year plus conflict with the country's leftist guerrilla organizations, as well as the rightist paramilitary groups that have been active since the 1980s. […] 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. Congress has also been concerned about labor activist killings as it considers the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32250
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