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The Failure Of Plan Colombia Essay

3076 words - 12 pages

Background
Plan Colombia is a long-prevailing foreign aid package bestowed to the country of Colombia from the United States. This foreign aid package grants substantial financial assistance to Colombia, intending to fight the “War on Drugs” and to reduce the trafficking of narcoleptics, but there is a multitude of other factors and implications, both unintentional or indirect and intentional due to ulterior motives. To accomplish the goals of Plan Colombia, most of the aid has been provided in the form of armed forces. This situation is complicated because of the ongoing civil war between the government of Colombia and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People’s Army (FARC). Additionally making matters difficult has been the strong association of the Colombian military and some right wing paramilitary units. Such conflict in Colombia exacerbates its drug problem, but Plan Colombia allegedly seeks to tame.
From the perspective of the United States, the U.S. was a keen backer, especially since the policy reinforced both U.S. domestic and foreign policy initiatives: war on drugs and security. Yet, United States foreign policy towards Colombia continues to be a topic of fiery dispute both among specialists in foreign policy and in Congress. During the deliberation over supporting Plan Colombia as a United States foreign policy initiative, a large number of Democrats in Congress were anxious that the U.S. was getting too ensnared in a foreign civil war that was more and more affecting Colombia’s neighboring nations as well. Previous human rights violations by the Army of Colombia and paramilitaries were a source of trepidation for the United States. However, the U.S. ultimately supported the government of Colombia in the acceptance and application of Plan Colombia both symbolically and through noteworthy financing of plan initiatives. This U.S. support was part of an amplified foreign assistance policy in a shared effort with the government of Colombia to improve local security and combat the rising narcotics market. After a visit to Bogotá in 2000, former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy General Barry McCaffrey, affirmed in a speech to the Atlantic Council of the United States that “with international solidarity and support for Colombia’s broad-based long-term strategy (i.e., Plan Colombia), drug traffickers and terrorist groups can be deprived of their income, drug production will be crippled, and Colombia’s long-suffering people might secure their basic right to earn a legitimate income without fearing for their lives” (McCaffrey, 2000). Plan Colombia bound the government of Colombia to an encompassing goal: “to strengthen the State in order to regain the citizens’ confidence and recuperate the basic norms of peaceful coexistence” (Plan Colombia, 1999: 3).
From the perspective of Colombia, the Colombian government was desperate for foreign aid and international support. Accordingly, the...

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