U.S. Support to Plan Colombia: A Heading Check   [open pdf - 62KB]

"In the 2002 National Security Strategy, President George W. Bush envisioned a democratic Western Hemisphere which advances 'security, prosperity, opportunity, and hope.' For some Latin American countries like Colombia, these ideals fall quite short of reality. Colombia is plagued by internal problems which restrict its ability to adequately govern its population and territory. For Colombians, reality is a poor economy with few available jobs, an inefficient judicial system, widespread corruption, and armed conflict with three insurgent groups operating within the national borders. Colombia's problems are not new. In 1999, Colombian President Andres Pastrana, developed a plan to address these challenges and to bring lasting peace and prosperity to Colombia. This strategy, known as Plan Colombia, was a five year proposal designed to fight the illegal drug trade which finances the insurgent groups, strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law, expand economic development, institute judicial reform, protect human rights, and reinvigorate the peace process. The total cost for Plan Colombia was $7.5 billion with a significant share of that coming from the U.S in the form of military, economic and humanitarian assistance. U.S. assistance started in FY2000. After three years and $2.5 billion of U.S. assistance to Colombia, interim results are now available. Based on these results, it would be beneficial to reexamine the strategy from two perspectives. First, do the interim results indicate progress toward the desired objectives? Second, is the progress adequate to bring lasting peace and prosperity to Colombia and, if not, what else should be done?"

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