Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest [November 28, 2012] [open pdf - 723KB]
"Colombia, a key U.S. ally, has made measurable progress in providing security despite having endured the longest armed internal conflict in the Western Hemisphere. It has long been a source for both cocaine and heroin. Drug trafficking has helped to perpetuate conflict by funding both left-wing and right-wing armed groups. Colombia and the United States have forged a close partnership focused initially on counternarcotics and later counterterrorism. In recent years, the U.S.-Colombian relationship has broadened to include trade, human rights, and development. Colombia has emerged as a regional leader providing training in security and counternarcotics throughout the hemisphere and elsewhere. […] The 112th Congress has maintained a strong interest in Colombia's progress in trade, security, counternarcotics, and human rights. In October 2011, the U.S. Congress approved implementing legislation for the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which went into force on May 15, 2012. Members of Congress will continue to monitor the associated Action Plan Related to Labor Rights that addressed U.S. concerns related to labor rights and violence in Colombia. In addition to the larger debate about what role the United States should continue to play in Colombia's ongoing struggle with drug trafficking and illegal armed groups, Congress has expressed concern with a number of related issues. These include funding levels for Plan Colombia's follow-on strategies; continuing allegations of human rights abuses; and the effectiveness of counternarcotics policies such as aerial eradication and alternative development. Members will likely monitor Colombia's peace negotiations and their effect on security conditions in the country."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32250