U.S. Economic Assistance to Colombia: A Model for U.S. Economic Assistance to Mexico?   [open pdf - 413KB]

From the thesis abstract: "Strong, effective, economic assistance programs are a crucial part of U.S. foreign policy. They are a primary instrument for advancing U.S. national interests, enhancing global stability, expanding economic opportunities, and promoting American democratic values. From 2004 through 2010, the United States donated more than $16 billion in economic assistance to countries in the Western Hemisphere. Some ask why the United States spends so much money abroad on humanitarian programs and infrastructure investments in developing states. To address this question, this thesis looks at Colombia and Mexico, both of which are of crucial strategic importance to the United States. Under 'Plan Colombia' (2000--2006), U.S. economic assistance and staunch political will enabled Colombia to improve from 14th (2005) to 57th (2013) on the Failed State Index scale. As a result, Colombia has also emerged as a stronger U.S. partner in the Western Hemisphere. The Colombian experience was historically specific, but lessons can be extracted for Mexico, even though its history and relationship with Washington is very different. In particular, the recent Merida Initiative ('Plan Mexico'; 2008--present) can benefit immensely from being carefully evaluated in light of the earlier success of Plan Colombia."

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