Colombia: Issues for Congress [March 18, 2011]   [open pdf - 733KB]

"In recent years, Colombia, in close cooperation with the United States through a strategy known as Plan Colombia, has made significant progress in reestablishing government control over much of its territory, combating drug trafficking and terrorist activities, and reducing poverty. The improving security conditions and the weakening of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas are evidence that the strategy is working, according to supporters. Critics, however, argue that while pursuing these security gains, 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. This report provides an overview of recent political developments in Colombia. It reviews the administration of President Uribe (2002-2010), continuing into the election of President Juan Manuel Santos and his first months in office. The report then provides background on the longstanding conflict with internal armed groups that has marked Colombia's modern development, examining the roots of the conflict and its major actors as well as their present status. The report considers ongoing challenges such as human rights, demobilization and displacement, drug trends, and Colombia's regional relations. It outlines the National Consolidation Plan which updates Plan Colombia with a whole-of-government approach to eliminate the insurgency, and it describes the U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement. The report raises some of the major policy issues that the U.S. Congress has had, and will continue to pursue, in relation to U.S.-Colombia policy, such as the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32250
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