ColombiaBackgroundIn Forces of Colombia (FARC) and otherColombiaBackgroundIn Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other

ColombiaBackgroundIn 1999, the administration of Andres Pastrana and the United States had developed “Plan Colombia” a “Marshall-style plan,” used to combat the problems of drug cultivation, insurgency, and lack of economic development. With the backing of the United States, the main objectives of this plan were to reduce production and trafficking of illegal drugs by 50% in a six-year period and to improve security conditions from armed rebel groups. To further discourage coca production, the United States and Colombia agreed to the Andean Free-Trade Pact, which lowers US tariffs on agricultural goods from Andean countries. Moreover, rebel forces known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other groups opposing them (National Liberation Army (ELN), United Self-defense forces of Colombia (AUC), and criminal bands) are responsible for the killings and kidnappings of tens of thousands and of people in Colombia.According from a report from the US government accountability office from 2000 and 2008 funding by the US government for the military component of plan was around US$540 million/year, while the Colombian government has invested around US$812 million/year around 1.2% of Colombia’s annual GDP. Results show that Plan Colombia was effective in decreasing the amount of coca plants, but ineffective in decreasing cocaine production. Also, violence and human rights violations by armed rebel groups has fallen as well. Recently, with the peace accords made between the Colombian government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, the new program “Peace Colombia” has replaced “Plan Colombia,” changing US foreign policy within the country.The US Approach in ColombiaAs the United States is one of the largest drug consumers in the world they view drugs particularly cocaine as a threat to US national security that undermines US economy, value, and identity. With this in mind, the US uses an approach that assumes that if there is no supply then there would be no demand, contradicting the capitalist concept of supply-demand. US drug policy is divided into two groups from policies of control to policies of aid. In Colombia, the United States has been using its political and economic influence mainly through economic assistance since Andean states generally have a weak economy when compared to their counterpart. This approach tends to be overly realistic with policies following the self-interests of the US rather than host country.Plan Colombia under Bush and ObamaAfter 9/11, the United States began to focus on the international fight against terrorism, losing interest in Colombia’s war on drugs. With a change in viewpoint the United States began to see the armed rebel groups such as FARC as “narco-terrorists,” changing the focus of US engagement which was only about the drugs. President George Bush along with congress began to allocate funds to counter-insurgency. This particular shift changed US policy, from a “war on drug” to a “war on terror.” With no statutory ending date for the plan, the plan programs continued through the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI). During the Bush’s second term, the administration changed its focus to face the economic issues by implementing a Free Trade Area (FTA) within the Americas.Later on, under President Barack Obama there has been significant changes since the Bush’s administration strategy was unsuccessful. Military cooperation with Colombia has increased with the Obama administration. Moreover, Obama focus more on rebuilding ties with other Latin American nations to decrease US strategic dependence on Colombian alliance. Overall, the administration and the US congress in 2010 has signaled intentions to turn over the majority of Plan Colombia’s responsibilities to the Colombian Government.Plan Colombia US FundingThe Andean Regional Initiative (ARI) was proposed by President George Bush in April 2001. The proposal asked for US$882 million, with 45% to Colombia and the rest to neighboring nations to contain the violence within the region. With the approved version issued by the US congress in December 2001, $783million USD was allocated to the ARI, with around $215 million being sent to the USAID to assist and promote economic and social development. The US funding components of Plan Colombia includes reduction of illicit Narcotics and improve security (4,860 million USD), promotion of social and economic justice (1,032 million USD), and promotion of rule of law (238 million USD). From 2000-20008 the United States has provided around $6 billion USD to both military and nonmilitary assistance which is managed through different US departments and agencies.USAID Successes since 2000• 30% decrease in rural poverty levels• Increase in private investment in rural Colombia, $600 millions of private capital with around $47 millions of USAID investments• 350,00 hectares of farmland with licit crops to provide security and economic benefit to farmers• $487 million dollars invested in 1,400 community-led projects creating new economic opportunities and strengthen communities from areas that has faced conflict.• Ensured government protections for individuals at risk or threatened (journalists, union leaders, municipal leaders, etc)• Establishment of more than 100 justice centers• Supported the reintegration of 13,000 demobilized ex combatants and more than 20,000 people back into society• Ensured financial compensation from the Colombian government to victimsConclusion”According to Derek Reveron, a professor at the Naval War college, the plan is a failure in terms of stemming the flow of drugs. On the other hand, if judged by preventing state and supporting a fragile democracy, it might be considered a success. (Sramkova pg 83)” From this, after decades-long campaign on counternarcotic, Colombia has experienced new and improved security especially when the Colombian government had signed a peace accord with FARC. AS stated in the Monroe doctrine the US mentioned that Latin America belonged to its sphere of influence. Its influence comes from economic and political arrangements and agreements that follows their interests. With US involvement within the country, we see that its primary interest in Colombia follows strategic geopolitical and economic fundamentals. Overall, the United states was able to improve security and development, but the drug problem is far from being resolved.Works Cited: