Colombia: Issues for Congress [Updated April 14, 2008]   [open pdf - 268KB]

"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 consideration of the U.S-. Colombia Free Trade Agreement. […] 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. [...] 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. Critics 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, an issue that has come to the fore during consideration of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32250
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