Department Report to Congress on U.S. Policy Towards Colombia and Other
Related Issues, December 3, 2002
Report to Congress on United States Policy Towards Colombia and Other Related
Submitted to the
Congress by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary
of Defense, pursuant to House Conference Report 107-593 accompanying HR
4775 enacted as the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act P.L. 107-206
Prepared by the U.S.
Department of State
Policy Towards Colombia and Other Related Issues
Report 107-593 accompanying HR 4775, subsequently enacted as the 2002
Supplemental Appropriations Act For Further Recovery From and Response
to Terrorist Attacks on the United States(P.L. 107-206), on pages 152-153,
expressed the Managers’ concern that “the Administration has inadequately
articulated clear objectives of U.S. policy in Colombia, what actions
would be required, and what it would cost to achieve those objectives.”
The Managers therefore
directed that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary
of Defense, submit a report describing in detail:
- the President’s
policy towards Colombia, the objectives of that policy, and the actions
required by and the expected financial costs to the United State, Colombia,
and any other country or entity to achieve those objectives; and the
expected time schedule for achieving those objectives;
- specific benchmarks
for measuring progress toward achieving the objectives of the President’s
- the expected reduction,
if any, in the amount of cocaine and heroin entering the United States
as a result of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative within the expected
time schedule; and
- the mission and
objectives of United States Armed Forces personnel and civilian contractors
employed by the United States in connection with such assistance, and
the threats to their safety in Colombia.
from the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Office of
National Drug Control Policy, the U.S. Agency for International Development,
and others, have testified before Congress and met with many Senators,
Representatives and staff on these questions.
Uribe of Colombia, during his visit to the United States in September
2002, also met with Senators and Representatives and provided his views
on developments in Colombia and plans for his government. The Department
of State has also provided a separate report to Congress, pursuant to
Section 601(b) of the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act, on President
Uribe’s determination to take a number of specific actions, many of which
are already underway.
Congress has been
a key partner in our efforts to help Colombia and this report offers an
opportunity to address more fully Congress’ concerns.
policy towards Colombia, the objectives of that policy, and the actions
required by and the expected financial costs to the United States, Colombia,
and any other country or entity to achieve those objectives; and the expected
time schedule for achieving those objectives
Policy Towards Colombia
U.S. policy towards
Colombia supports the Colombian Government’s efforts to strengthen its
democratic institutions, promote respect for human rights and the rule
of law, intensify counter-narcotics efforts, foster socio-economic development,
address immediate humanitarian needs, and end the threats to democracy
posed by narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
This policy reflects
the continuing bipartisan support received from the Congress for our programs
U.S. policy objectives in more detail, it would be useful to describe
Colombia’s importance to the United States, the challenges it faces and
its response to those challenges.
At the 2001 Quebec
Summit of the Americas, President Bush and the 33 other freely elected
leaders of this hemisphere forged a common vision of democratic governance
and free trade. There exists a remarkable hemispheric consensus in favor
of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and economic progress through
market economies and free trade.
Despite this broad
consensus, democratic institutions face a wide variety of challenges throughout
the hemisphere, and nowhere are these more serious than in Colombia, where
the government, civil society and people are under attack by illegal armed
groups of narcotics traffickers and terrorists, who are often one and
the same, and whose methods include murder, kidnapping, extortion, and
In addition to our
support for a democratic government under assault, and one with which
we have strong and longstanding ties, Colombia is important to the United
States for a number of other reasons:
- Colombia is responsible
for some 75% of the world’s cocaine production and 90% of the cocaine
entering the United States is produced in Colombia or passes through
Colombia. It is also a significant source of heroin. There were 50,000
drug-related deaths in the United States in 2000; the United States
suffered $160 billion in economic losses in the same year due to illicit
- Terrorism in Colombia
both supports and draws resources from the narcotics industry, kidnapping
and extortion, threatening U.S. citizens and economic interests. Colombia’s
terrorist groups have kidnapped 51 American citizens since 1992, and
- Terrorist attacks
resulted in over 3,000 Colombians killed in 2001. Another 2,856 were
kidnapped, with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the
ELN (National Liberation Army) and the AUC (United Self-Defense Forces
of Colombia), responsible for almost 2,000 of these. Among the kidnap
victims were 289 children, the youngest of whom was only three years
Beyond drug trafficking,
terrorism, illegal arms smuggling, and other criminal activities, there
are broad and important U.S. national interests in Colombia that include
stability in the Andean region, trade, immigration, human rights, humanitarian
assistance, and protection of the environment.
- Colombia has
four times the land area of California and a population of over 40 million
people. Its gross domestic product is more than $90 billion a year.
- Two-way trade
between the United States and Colombia was Over $11 billion in 2001,
with direct U.S. investment of more than $4 billion.
- Colombia has important
reserves of petroleum, natural gas and coal.
- An estimated 50,000
U.S. citizens live in Colombia.
- Colombia’s unique
eco-system and environment are increasingly threatened by cultivation
of illicit drugs, whether it is the slash and burn cutting of tropical
forest reserves or the toxic chemicals poured by narcotics processing
into streams and rivers.
are complex and do not lend themselves to any easy or rapid solution.
The country’s present-day troubles reflect numerous, deeply-rooted problems
including limited or non-existent government presence and law enforcement
capability in large areas of the interior, the dramatic expansion of illicit
drug cultivation contributing to endemic violence, and deep social and
Yet, it is the growing
threat posed by the country’s three designated terrorist organizations,
the AUC, ELN, and FARC, and fueled by narcotics trafficking, extortion
and kidnapping, that today most directly affects Colombia’s ability to
resolve its people’s economic and social needs.
The ongoing terrorist
offensive against democratic institutions and civil society has had tragic
costs within Colombia. Each year the AUC, ELN and FARC kill more than
3,000 persons. Their victims have included judges and prosecutors, journalists,
labor union leaders and human rights workers, soldiers, police, and ordinary
citizens. Even clerics and Red Cross workers not been exempt from the
violence. Before his election, the FARC attempted to assassinate then-candidate
Alvaro Uribe on several occasions and it mounted an attack at his inauguration.
The FARC still holds kidnapped then-Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt,
whose present whereabouts are unknown.
is far from being a “failed state.” Its vigorous democracy is addressing
the country’s many problems. The Colombian people, through their elected
leaders, are working to reform the nation’s political and legal systems,
promote socio-economic development, protect human rights, provide help
to displaced persons, enlarge and professionalize the security forces
and combat narcoterrorism.
In 1999, then-President
Andres Pastrana took the initiative in responding to the crisis undermining
Colombia’s democratic system, prosperity and security by developing a
long-term program which he called “Plan Colombia.” It was a comprehensive
strategy to deal with the country’s longstanding, mutually reinforcing
problems and called for: substantial social investment; judicial, political
and economic reforms; renewed efforts to combat narcotics trafficking;
and included some important first steps towards modernizing Colombia’s
The United States
strongly supported Plan Colombia’s objectives of combating the narcotics
industry, promoting peace, reviving the economy, improving respect for
human rights and strengthening the democratic and social institutions
of the country with a $1.3 billion assistance package enacted in July
The impressive first
round electoral victory, on May 26, 2002, by Alvaro Uribe confirmed the
Colombian public’s apparent recognition that greater domestic sacrifices
would be needed to end the violence and its readiness to support a more
vigorous and unified campaign against terrorism and narcotics trafficking.
After assuming office
on August 7, 2002, President Uribe appointed a cabinet distinguished by
its expertise and emphasis on results, and took a number of immediate
Soon after his inauguration,
in accordance with Colombian law, President Uribe decreed a “State of
Internal Disturbance” under which the government then imposed a one-time
tax on the wealthiest segment of Colombians. This tax is expected to yield
the equivalent of 1.2 percent of gross domestic product (GD?), between
$800 million and $1 billion, to be dedicated exclusively to security.
2003 budget also calls for increased government defense expenditures which
would increase military and police spending from 3.5% this year to a goal
of 5.8% of GD? in 2003. The United States and Colombia recognize more
will need to be done, but these are decisive first steps.
Uribe Administration has introduced an extensive, longer term tax and
pension reform package, which has been submitted to the Colombian Congress,
and is moving to cut bureaucratic overhead by seeking congressional and
public approval in a referendum to reduce government operating costs.
Still, Colombia will
continue to need substantial U.S. help and support if it is to succeed
in defending its democracy and the rule of law from narcotraffickers and
terrorists, improve respect for human rights and promote economic and
social development. On September 19, 2002, President Uribe wrote President
Bush and, consistent with section 601(b) (1) of the 2002 Supplemental
Appropriations Act, stated that his government will:
- establish comprehensive
policies to eliminate the cultivation and manufacturing of and trafficking
in illicit drugs (especially in terms of providing economic opportunities
offering financially viable and sustainable alternatives to illicit
cultivation) and to strengthen the presence of the Colombian State and
to ensure the primacy of the rule of law and respect for human rights
throughout Colombian territory, especially in areas under the influence
of guerrilla and illegal self-defense groups;
- adopt major reforms
with respect to the budget and personnel of the Colombian military forces;
- furnish significant
additional financial and other resources to implement those policies
and reforms, (especially in order to meet its earlier commitments with
regard to previously earmarked Plan Colombia assistance)
President Uribe also
stressed the priority his government assigns to complementing its security
efforts with sustainable rural development programs, based on a comprehensive
approach to regional social and economic development and to security.
In writing to President Bush, he added that these programs would be focused
on regions of strategic importance to the country, with special consideration
given to vulnerable segments of the population, such as indigenous peoples,
victims of violence and displaced persons.
The Government of
Colombia, under President Uribe’s instructions, is completing a broad
national security strategy which includes those elements described above
as well as others needed to undertake a comprehensive campaign to counter
the actions of armed groups engaged in illegal activities such as terrorism
and drug production and trafficking that have plagued Colombia for years.
The strategy includes commitments to respect human rights, dedicate more
resources to the Colombian Armed Forces, and reform the conscription laws
to make military service universal and fairer. These initiatives will
build on the restructuring of the Armed Forces begun during the administration
of President Pastrana (1998-2002).
President Uribe stressed
that Colombia is undertaking these commitments to ensure the effectiveness
of joint efforts with the United States Government to achieve our common
goals in combating narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
During his visit
to Washington in late September 2002, President Uribe met with President
Bush and members of the Cabinet as well as Senators and Representatives
and the majority and minority leadership. The Administration conveyed
to President Uribe its strong support for the policies he has articulated.
The United States
shares Colombia’s vision of a prosperous democracy, free from the scourges
of narcotics and terrorism, which respects human rights and the rule of
To help Colombia’s
democracy achieve these aims, U.S. objectives include programs that will:
assistance to combat illicit drugs and terrorism, defend human rights,
promote economic, social and alternative development initiatives, reform
and strengthen the administration of justice, and assist the internally
counterterrorism capability by providing advice, assistance, training
and equipment, and intelligence support to the Colombian Armed Forces
and the Colombian National Police through ongoing programs as well as
implementing the new authorities and the pipeline protection program;
economic growth and development through support for market-based policies
and implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and
the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) as well as the Andean Trade
Program and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).
reduce the production and trafficking of cocaine and heroin from
Colombia by strengthening counter-narcotics programs that: assist with
eradication of illegal coca and opium poppy; advise, train, and assist
counterdrug organizations and units; dismantle drug trafficking organizations;
disrupt the transportation of illegal drugs, precursor and essential
chemicals, trafficker supplies, and cash; •address major cultivation
regions; and respond rapidly to shifts in cultivation regions;
institutional development, professionalization, and enlargement of Colombian
security forces to permit the exercise of governmental authority throughout
the national territory while ensuring respect for human rights;
The United States
is committed to helping Colombia in its fight against narcotics trafficking
and terrorism through these assistance programs. United States policy
responds to Colombia’s social, economic, governmental, narcotics and terrorism
challenges in a balanced and comprehensive manner.
Our support reinforces,
but does not substitute for, the broader efforts of Colombian government
and society, and is provided in accordance with legislation that includes:
- Title III, Chapter
2 of the Emergency Supplemental Act, 2000, enacted in the Military Construction
Appropriations Act, 2001, (P.L. 106-246);
- Title II of the
Kenneth M. Ludden Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related
Programs Appropriations Act, 2002, (P.L. 107-115); and
- The 2002 Supplemental
Appropriations Act, (P.L. 107-206).
- The 2003 Department
of Defense Appropriations Act (P.L. 107-248)
To support U.S. policy,
goals and objectives, the United States has undertaken a wide variety
of programs assisting Colombia. These provide training, equipment, infrastructure
development, funding, and expertise to the Government of Colombia and
Colombian civil society in areas that include alternative development,
interdiction, eradication, law enforcement, institutional strengthening,
judicial reform, human rights, humanitarian assistance for displaced persons,
local governance, anti-corruption, conflict management and peace promotion,
the rehabilitation of child soldiers, and preservation of the environment.
In implementing these
programs, the Administration and Congress increasingly came to understand
that the terrorist and narcotics problems in Colombia are intertwined
and must be dealt with as a whole. Working with Congress, the Administration
sought and Congress enacted new authorities in the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations
Act that would help to more readily address the combined threat and facilitate
the use of FY 2002 funds available for assistance to the Government of
Colombia for supporting Colombia’s unified campaign against narcotics
trafficking and U.S.-designated terrorist organizations. These provisions
also apply to the unexpired balances and assistance from prior years’
Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts for Colombia and were renewed in
the FY 2003 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
In practical terms,
the training, equipment, intelligence support and other U.S. programs
described in this report will now be available to support Colombia’s unified
campaign against narcotics trafficking and designated terrorist organizations.
The new authorities will provide some additional flexibility to help the
Colombian government address narcotics trafficking and terrorism more
efficiently and more effectively.
In doing so, the
United States will continue its human rights vetting of all Colombian
military units receiving U.S. assistance and will not exceed present statutory
limits of 400 U.S. military personnel and 400 U.S. civilian contractors
providing support to Plan Colombia.
U.S. Policy Achievements
In describing U.S.
policy objectives it is also important to review the accomplishments U.S.
programs have had in support for Plan Colombia. U.S. programs have provided
Colombia with assistance to combat narcotrafficking, strengthen democratic
institutions, protect human rights, help internally displaced persons,
and foster socio-economic development. Although much remains to be accomplished,
U.S. assistance to “Plan Colombia” has resulted in substantial progress
to date, including:
- Deployment of
the Colombian Army’s First Counternarcotics Brigade (made mobile and
effective by the simultaneous provision of USG-funded helicopters).
This U.S.-trained brigade, arguably the best unit in the Colombian Army,
is highly motivated and professional, and has also not been subject
to any credible human rights abuse allegations. The brigade has moved
aggressively against drug labs and other illegal facilities working
in support of the Anti-Narcotics Directorate (DIRAN) of the Colombian
National Police, as well as moving independently against narcotics and
associated terrorist targets.
- Delivery has been
completed of the 65 helicopters made available to the Colombian Army
(54) and Colombian National Police (11) to support Plan Colombia under
the 2000 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-246)
- The DIRAN continues
its excellent record against trafficking organizations and drug processing
labs, destroying some 84 HCL labs and over 1,000 base labs, as well
as seizing nearly 23,000 kilos of cocaine, in CY 2001 alone. So far
in 2002 the DIRAN has destroyed 51 HCL labs.
- Eight AT-802 spray
aircraft are being acquired with funds from the 2000 Emergency Supplemental
Act (P.L. 106-246) , with 3 already in Colombia, 2 planned to arrive
by the end of 2002, and 2 more by March 31, 2003. These new spray aircraft
and the 9 OV-10’s and 4 T-65’s already available, are contributing to
surpassing the record 94,000 hectares of coca crop sprayed in 2001.
Aerial spraying figures for 2002 are well ahead of this and have already
reached nearly 120,000 hectares. Voluntary eradication has accounted
for another 9,000 hectares of coca.
- Recent reports
from Putumayo Department indicates that the region’s coca dependent
economy has suffered a significant downturn. Business owners (a good
general barometer) in four towns in the heart of the coca cultivation
district complained that commerce was dying, and pointed to a major
decrease in bus traffic, low occupancy rates in hotels, supermarkets
moving less goods, fewer diners in restaurants, reductions in money
transfers, and increases in loan defaults. There is also a reported
upswing in the number of coca worker families leaving the area. While
anecdotal, this information indicates that the spray program does appear
to be disrupting the coca industry.
- Nearly 2,300 hectares
of opium poppy have been sprayed so far this year, already more than
in 2001, and the goal of 5,000 hectares should be reached.
- USAID alternative
development assistance has been refocused to make it more effective;
hectares of licit crops and livestock supported by this program increased
from about 4,500 in mid-2002 to nearly 12,000 by the end of September.
This quickened pace of implementation is expected to continue.
- We have opened
20 “Casas de Justicia” (Justice Centers) to provide cost-effective legal
services to Colombians who have not previously enjoyed access to the
country’s judicial system.
- From May 2001
through October 2002, a USAID-funded program operated by Colombia’s
Ministry of the Interior has provided protection to 3,043 human rights
activists, journalists, and union leaders, ranging from “soft” such
as relocation assistance to “hard” with, for example, armored vehicles.
- Working with non-governmental
organizations and international agencies, U.S. assistance has been provided
to over 500,000 Colombians displaced by violence since mid-2001.
- Initial steps
have been taken in a program to rehabilitate former child soldiers.
A USAID-funded center has been established to receive those children
captured by the army or who have deserted from the illegal armed groups.
Some 300 children have entered the reception center where they have
received treatment, education and shelter.
- An Early Warning
System (EWS), to help Colombia avert massacres and other human rights
abuses, is being expanded and has had some successes; during the period
June 2001 through September 2002, a total of 150 warnings were issued
through the EWS that identified threats to communities across Colombia,
especially in rural areas, and which resulted in 115 responses by the
military, police and/or relief agencies.
- Our justice sector
reform programs have provided assistance to the Government of Colombia
to: reform its judicial system and strengthen local government capacity;
implement a comprehensive program to investigate and prosecute kidnapping
and extortion offenses; develop and implement legal reforms, improve
the Prosecutor General’s ability to investigate and prosecute criminal
cases through the development of a well-trained cadre of professional
prosecutors; enhance maritime enforcement capabilities with respect
to international narcotics smuggling; and improve witness and judicial
- There has been
unprecedented cooperation in extraditing Colombians to the United States
on serious criminal charges; 29 Colombian nationals have been extradited
to the United States so far this year; Since November 1999 there have
been 64 Colombian nationals extradited here for trial.
- We are also helping
the Prosecutor General’s Office to establish dedicated human rights
units throughout the country to facilitate the investigation and prosecution
of human rights abuses. Eight of these units are now operating. The
Prosecutor’s Office is eager to expand the program to additional regions
- The creation of
over 140,000 new jobs between 1992-1999 is attributable to the Andean
Trade Preference Act (ATPA) and Colombia expects to continue to be a
beneficiary with its recent promulgation by the President for inclusion
in the Andean Trade Program and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).
Human rights concerns
continue to be a central element in U.S. policy. Our human rights message
is making a difference. Then-President Pastrana and now President Uribe
have worked to end collusion between the Colombian military and the paramilitary
- The Colombian
military captured 590 paramilitaries and killed 92 in combat during
2001. For the period January through September 2002, these figures have
increased with 828 paramilitaries captured and 154 killed.
- Eight military
personnel, including two colonels and a lieutenant colonel, were charged
in civilian courts with collaborating with paramilitaries or with committing
gross human rights violations in 2001.
- The Uribe Administration
has successfully sought the extradition from Spain of a former Colombian
cabinet minister charged with aiding and abetting paramilitary groups
made a determined effort to negotiate peace with the FARC, a designated
terrorist organization, which repeatedly demonstrated it could not or
would not negotiate in good faith. President Uribe has made clear his
intention to pursue a peace process on the GOC’s terms, which include
commitments by the AUC, ELN, or FARC.
The United States
fully supports President Uribe’s stated conditions for such a peace process.
To the extent that our assistance helps Colombia reinvigorate its economy,
enhances its governing ability, encourages respect for human rights and
weakens narcotics trafficking and designated terrorist organizations,
it will also promote the broader search for a negotiated settlement to
Colombian Government has a strong popular mandate to deal decisively with
the country’s national crisis. Nevertheless, the complexity of Colombia’s
problems will require substantial financial support from the United States
and the international community.
The United States
supports the Colombian Government’s plans to implement its policy of providing
“democratic security” by devoting increased government resources to the
security forces, developing a strategy aimed at establishing the rule
of law throughout its national territory, protecting human rights, assisting
its internally displaced persons, and waging an aggressive and comprehensive
campaign against illicit drugs.
To do so, since 2000,
the United States has responded to that need and provided Colombia with
over $1.7 billion in economic, humanitarian and security assistance to
support “Plan Colombia.” The progress described earlier in this report
has been encouraging, but it needs to be sustained.
The FY 2003 Foreign
Operations Appropriations request for the Department of State seeks $439
million in International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE)
funds to sustain and reinforce our programs and $98 million in Foreign
Military Financing (FMF) funds to train and equip Colombian military and
police units to protect the important Cano Limon pipeline, a major source
of Colombian government export revenues. The $439 million INCLE request
includes $275 million for the Colombian military and police and $164 million
for democracy programs, alternative development, assistance to vulnerable
groups, human rights protection and promotion of the rule of law.
Of already appropriated
funds for FY 2003, the Department of Defense estimates that it may spend
$102 million to support programs in Colombia.
The Department of
State and the Department of Defense are preparing their budget submissions
for FY 2004, and expect to request substantial financial resources to
support the Uribe Administration’s courageous anti-narcotics and anti-terror
The Government of
Colombia developed Plan Colombia and, under the Pastrana Administration,
committed to spending $4.5 billion over five years on programs for counterdrug
efforts, institution building, and social and economic development. The
Government of Colombia’s contribution to “Plan Colombia” is being used
for counter-drug efforts and social and economic development projects.
The GOC is estimated to have spent $426.5 million to date on social and
institutional development and has spent or has plans to spend an estimated
$2.6 billion for infrastructure projects related to “Plan Colombia.”
With an estimated
Colombian contribution of approximately $3 billion spent or in the pipeline
through 2002, the GOC appears to be largely on track to fulfill its previously
undertaken financial obligations under the plan.
In addition, President
Uribe has committed to increase resources for security forces as well
as to wage a comprehensive counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics campaign,
which will include funding for programs to defend human rights, promote
economic, social and alternative development initiatives, reform the administration
of justice, and assist the internally displaced. He has already taken
serious steps to meet these commitments.
- Minister of Defense
Ramirez announced in mid-October that she has set a goal for defense
spending to reach 5.8% of GDP in 2003, up from 3.5% in 2002. While the
GOC awaits the full collection of the one-time tax, resources are being
diverted from other areas to fund increased security needs.
- The wealth tax
will be paid in four tranches. Since August, the GOC has raised approximately
$240 million through this tax, all of which will augment the security
budget. The GOC reports that it is receiving voluntary contributions
from individuals not subject to the tax (those with net assets below
- The GOC also dedicated
an additional $213 million by reducing other programs to finance defense
- $183 million
will go to MOD to build and improve security infrastructure and
purchase new equipment;
- $22 million
to acquire new equipment and make security improvements for the
- $6 million
for Interior/Justice Ministry to support activities related to the
- $1.8 million
for the Finance Ministry to support activities related to the security
- The GOC proposes
to cut expenditures by 1.3% of GD? (approximately $1.15 billion) through
a restructuring and downsizing of the State. The savings, combined with
a tax reform package, should give the GOC the additional funding (an
estimated $600 million) required to maintain an enhanced security posture
after 2005, when the money from the onetime wealth tax will have been
- The tax reforms
include raising value added taxes (VAT) on many items (20% for luxury
goods and cellular phones) as well as increasing the universe of
goods covered by the VAT.
- The tax reform
penalizes, for the first time, tax evasion, setting prison terms
of 4-8 years.
- A limit on
exemptions will be imposed.
- The GOC has
frozen salaries, cut travel budgets and limited phone use to fund
enhanced security measures.
- The GOC is working
with the IDB, World Bank, IMF, and Andean Development Corporation (CAF)
to obtain additional resources (approximately $1.5 billion a year through
2006) aimed at strengthening the government’s presence throughout the
country, an integral part of the President’s proposed strategy to restore
government authority throughout the country.
The Uribe Administration’s
National Security Strategy (NSS), expected to be released shortly, calls
for guaranteeing the security of all Colombians committed to the rule
of law. The NSS incorporates the essential elements of Plan Colombia:
it seeks to force the cultivators of illicit crops out of business while
at the same time developing alternative economic opportunities and employment.
The GOC will create incentives for the hiring by the private sector of
those who leave the cultivation of illicit crops and abandon the ranks
of the illegal armed forces.
The GOC intends to
use the additional taxes collected as well as new IFI resources to fund
both Plan Colombia efforts and related follow-on programs to bring basic
services to communities throughout Colombia. It has taken specific steps
to strengthen Plan Colombia’s implementation.
- The Uribe Administration
has created a cabinet-level Plan Colombia Coordinator who has clarified
the roles of other implementing entities and the Ministries of Agriculture
and Environment now have important alternative development responsibilities.
- It has also reorganized
the relief and social rehabilitation organization, the “Red de Solidaridad”
(Solidarity Network), to concentrate on the emergency phase of the Internally
Displaced Program (IDP), e.g., the first 90 days, and has developed
a return/re-establishment initiative for an initial thirty thousand
ID? families. These families would be encouraged to return to the areas
from which they fled. The GOC will provide security, housing and productive
projects in these declared “safe areas.” The first “safe area” has been
declared in northern Antioquia.
- The GOC has tried
to make asset forfeiture an easier, more streamlined process. It has
passed a law allowing only four months for individuals to contest the
confiscation of narcotics financed property. As a result, properties
in question for years, including lands owned by Pablo Escobar and his
family, are now being seized.
- Currently, there
are 350,000 hectares of narcotics-tainted land being contested in the
courts. Although it is not yet known what percentage of this land could
ultimately be turned over to displaced persons and ex-coca and poppy
growers, this would help solve the land problem and punish drug traffickers.
The primary responsibility
for human rights programs is in the Vice President’s office, which will
oversee additional resources aimed at protecting those currently in increased
danger, such as city mayors and labor leaders.
Vice President Santos
is also leading a campaign to increase transparency in the government
and plans to expand this “culture against corruption” to the private sector.
One of his initiatives is a fiscal responsibility law currently before
the Congress that stiffens penalties for malfeasance and also makes it
easier to dismiss corrupt employees.
The United States
is not alone in providing needed assistance to Colombia.
- There is international
consensus that Colombia’s democracy deserves help. Individual European
nations, the European Union, Canada, Japan and the United Nations have
pledged up to $600 million to Colombian development programs. Unfortunately,
disbursements of these resources has been slower than hoped, due to
bureaucratic, programmatic, and security issues. The United States will
work with these like-minded nations and international entities to ensure
that their commitments are fulfilled.
Financial Institutions (IFI’s) including the IMF, World Bank, Andean
Development Corporation (CAF), and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
are all active in Colombia and the Uribe government is seeking to extend
or expand current programs. The World Bank, CAF, and IDB already provide
hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to support social, humanitarian
and infrastructure development, as well as economic revitalization.
The IMF has signed a letter of intent renewing Colombia’s Extended Fund
As Colombia’s deep-seated
internal conflict dates back almost 40 years, it would be misleading to
attempt to provide an expected time schedule for full achievement of United
States objectives in the country.
In other regions
of the world such as Angola, Central America, South Africa and Eastern
Europe, the United States has shown that with sustained engagement, accompanied
by political will and courage, we have been able to respond successfully
to entrenched conflicts.
of U.S. policy goals will require a concerted Colombian strategy and effort
-- backed by sustained U.S. assistance over a period of years -- to establish
control over its national territory, eliminate narcotics cultivation and
distribution, end terrorism, and promote human rights and the rule of
for measuring progress toward achieving the objectives of the President’s
As described earlier,
U.S. policy is to help Colombia become a prosperous democracy that respects
human rights and the rule of law, and is free from narcotics trafficking
and terrorism. In broad terms, the success of our programs will be measured
by improvements in all areas of Colombian life and reduction in illegal
drug cultivation and terrorism.
Benchmarks for measuring
progress on the achievement of these policy goals would include:
-- Development and
implementation by the Government of Colombia (GOC) of a comprehensive
National Security Strategy, outlining its plans to progressively establish
democratic state authority throughout the country.
-- Preparation by
the United States, upon publication of the Colombian Government’s National
Security Strategy of an interagency political/military plan for U.S. support
to the GOC National Security Strategy that will contain additional details
and more specific benchmarks.
reduced coca and opium poppy cultivation and production, and corresponding
reductions in the financial benefits such cultivation provides the terrorist
-- Sustainment of
current enhanced levels of aerial eradication of coca and opium poppy.
-- Expansion of alternative
development programs in areas northwest of Putumayo Department to enhance
economic development and increase licit employment and income opportunities.
-- Significant increases
in the financial and manpower resources the GOC devotes to its security
forces. Possible goals would include a schedule for substantially increasing
the size of the Colombia National Police and the Armed Forces, and raising
security spending from its current 3.5% of GDP to at least 5% of GDP.
-- Continued modernization
and expansion of Colombian Armed Forces and National Police, improving
training, recruitment, doctrine, equipment, and inter-service cooperation
(e.g. increasing the number of professional soldiers; removal of legislative
restrictions on nature of service of some draftees; longer enlistment
periods) . Creation of more mobile and effective Colombian Army units.
-- Continued progress
by the Colombian Armed Forces to protect human rights, end military-paramilitary
collusion, and reduce overall number of violent civilian deaths. Key measures
include: increased military/police actions against the AUC and; suspension
of those military personnel credibly alleged to have committed gross human
rights violations or to have collaborated with the paramilitaries.
-- Strengthened civilian
criminal justice system jurisdiction over military personnel accused of
human rights violations; improvements in average time from initial investigation
through final prosecution, especially those with allegations of egregious
human rights violations, military-paramilitary collusion or high-level
-- Significant reduction
of illegal arms shipments to and from Colombia.
-- Improved efficiency,
agility, and reach for Colombia’s criminal justice system. Important steps
would include: reforming criminal code and procedure; expanding capabilities
and numbers of prosecutors; developing prosecutor/police task forces to
address complex crimes; protecting judicial personnel and witnesses; increasing
number of municipalities served by the justice system; providing alternative
dispute resolution mechanisms for matters that need not be heard in criminal
justice system; ensuring greater security in prisons; reducing the number
of prison escapes; enactment and implementation of accusatorial code and
-- Development of
general principles that would apply to possible peace processes with the
ELN, FARC and AUC, and an aggressive, effective demobilization program
targeting rank and file members of all three groups.
-- Concerted GOC-led
diplomatic effort to persuade European and other countries to provide
greater financial support for ongoing programs.
The expected reduction,
if any, in the amount of cocaine and heroin entering the United States
as a result of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative within the expected time
objectives in Colombia, through a range of programs, seek to significantly
reduce illegal drug production and to make it economically unprofitable
and are supported by both eradication and interdiction efforts. Effectively
eradicating coca leaf and opium poppy as well as interdicting their movement
and that of precursor supplies, cash or final product can be expected
to reduce the amount of cocaine and heroin entering the United States.
Maintaining effective demand reduction programs will also be key.
In pursuit of these
objectives, the Colombian National Police have sprayed about 120,000 hectares
of coca so far this year, and may reach up to 150,000 by the end of 2002.
In the first part of 2002 the herbicide used was diluted so that it was
less than fully effective, and the coca treated may not have been wholly
eradicated. Beginning in August 2002, the rate of spraying increased and
herbicide concentration was restored to earlier strength. If coca eradication
continues at the August 2002 rate for the next 12 to 24 months, with annualized
spraying of up to 200,000 hectaries, it can be expected to have a substantial
impact on the economic viability of coca production.
The Colombian National
Police have also sprayed nearly 2,300 hectares of opium poppy so far in
2002, with expectations of spraying up to 5,000 hectares by the end of
the year, and 10,000 hectares in 2003.
The aerial spray
program now also has the strongest possible support at the most senior
levels of the GOC. We believe that the progress that will now result from
the combination of greatly increased aerial spray capability on our part,
the planned addition of new, high capacity aircraft and the new political
determination of the GOC, will help us to achieve our objectives of substantial
can be brought against the illegal drug industry by more effectively controlling
transportation corridors across the Andes that are used to import chemicals,
supplies and cash into the growing areas, or to move illegal drug products
out. If the drug producing areas are isolated from markets and necessary
supplies, the costs and risks of moving narcotics products will increase.
Isolation of the growing areas would contribute to significantly disrupting
Interdiction of cocaine
and heroin at sea and ashore is another important element for drug market
disruption. With U.S. assistance, technology, intelligence support, and
law enforcement training, the Government of Colombia should be able to
maintain increasing pressure on drug warehousing sites and go-fast boat
movements, also resulting in increased seizures of cocaine and heroin.
If present programs
are sustained, then Plan Colombia’s original goals of reducing coca cultivation
in Colombia by 50% by the end of 2005 should be achieved. In fact, we
believe it will be possible to spray even more coca and poppy in 2003,
and have established spray targets of 200,000 hectares of coca and 10,000
hectares of opium poppy. President Uribe has called for total eradication
by the end of his term of office in 2006.
If these eradication
and interdiction objectives are achieved we would expect to see a major
reduction in the amount of cocaine available for the United States, with
corresponding impacts on cocaine price and purity in the U.S. market.
Reductions in Colombian heroin availability might not produce comparable
effects because of the availability of ample heroin supplies from other
parts of the world.
The mission and
objectives of U.S. Armed Forces personnel and civilian contractors employed
by the United States in connection with such assistance, and the threats
to their safety in Colombia
U.S. military personnel
and U.S. individual civilian contractors in Colombia are undertaking activities
to implement specific aspects of the programs described earlier in support
of “Plan Colombia.” The dangers they face are well understood by the U.S.
Government and the individuals themselves and extensive security measures
are taken to provide for safety.
As described in the
bi-monthly reports provided to the Congress in accordance with the provisions
of section 3204(f) of Title III, Chapter 2, of the Emergency Supplemental
Act, 2000, the U.S. Government is carrying out a wide variety of programs
in Colombia in support of U.S. policy objectives.
U.S. military personnel
provide training as well as equipment, infrastructure development, and
planning, logistical and intelligence support, while U.S. civilian contractors
are employed by the Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, Justice,
and Commerce, are engaged in programs that include alternative development,
narcotics interdiction and eradication, law enforcement, institutional
strengthening, judicial reform, human rights, humanitarian assistance
for displaced persons, local governance, anti-corruption, conflict management
and peace promotion, the rehabilitation of child soldiers, and preservation
of the environment.
of 400 permanent and temporary U.S. military personnel and 400 U.S. citizen
civilian contractors in Colombia in support of Plan Colombia remain in
effect for these purposes. Administration representatives have also testified
to the Congress on several recent occasions that there are no plans for
engagement of U.S. military personnel or U.S. civilian contractors in
a combat role in Colombia.
U.S. military personnel
and U.S. civilian contractors do not participate in combat missions in
Colombia. Current Department of Defense policy guidance prohibits U.S.
military personnel in Colombia from accompanying Colombian military forces
during such operations.
Programs with the
Colombian armed forces and police are undertaken at bases where Colombian
units provide security. There have, however, been situations in which
U.S. citizen civilian contractors were subject to hostile fire, although
it bears repeating that they do not have any combat role. As a matter
of firm policy, the Administration does not intend to use U.S. citizen
civilian contractors in any combat role.
However, in conducting
counternarcotics aerial spraying, the spray aircraft, piloted by U.S.
citizen or third country national contractors, are accompanied by escort
helicopters that carry combined U.S. citizen civilian contractor or third
country national contractors and Colombian National Police (CNP) crews.
On a typical mission, U.S. citizen civilian contractors accompany the
spray operations in these helicopters as pilots or medics, but not as
gunners. The contractors provide support for CNP antinarcotics and law
enforcement operations. U.S. citizen civilian contractors and third country
national contractors have occasionally been subject to hostile fire in
the course of providing their services, for example, in undertaking search
and rescue (SAR) and medical evacuation missions.
U.S. citizen civilian
contractors also provide training and logistical support for the 32 USG-provided
UH-1N helicopters that provide air mobility for the three counterdrug
battalions of the Colombian Army. However, these aircraft are piloted
by either Colombian military personnel or Colombian and third country
Since 1998 three
U.S. citizen civilian contractors have died in Colombia, two on July 27,
1998 in an aviation accident when their T-65 aircraft crashed during a
training flight, and a third in an August 2002 runway accident. Another
U.S. citizen civilian contractor died of natural causes on August 15,
2000, as a result of a heart attack. In 1999 a U.S. military aircraft
crashed in Colombia resulting in five U.S. military fatalities.
We have been fortunate
to date to have suffered no killed, wounded or captured U.S. military
personnel or U.S. civilian contractors, or other USG personnel, as a direct
consequence of the violence and conflict in Colombia. However, casualties
cannot be precluded, either as a direct attack by narcotics trafficking
or terrorist organizations or as the result of violence not specifically
aimed at U.S. personnel.
Colombia is a high-risk
assignment and the U.S. military personnel, U.S. civilian contractors
and the permanent and temporary United States Government personnel assigned
to Colombia are well aware of this. Our personnel and official facilities
maintain a high state of alert, take every possible precaution, and are
very proactive in matters regarding safety. They deserve our recognition
and we appreciate the support they receive from the Congress and the American
public for their dedication and willingness to serve.