This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

Home
|
Analyses
|
Aid
|
|
|
News
|
|
|
|
Last Updated:2/24/03
The 2003 aid request

Relevant text of the 2003 aid package legislation (the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which includes most aid for Colombia and its neighbors):

On February 13, 2003, more than four months into the federal government's fiscal year 2003, the U.S. Congress passed the 2003 foreign aid bill. The legislation was combined with ten other appropriations bills, containing much of the federal budget, whose consideration had been seriously behind schedule. The procedure allowed neither house an opportunity to debate any of its provisions - including the Bush administration's aid request for Colombia.

Aid amounts

The administration got most of what it asked for. The "Andean Counterdrug Initiative" request, which contains much of the military and economic aid that Colombia receives, was cut from $731 million to $700 million. However, the administration can re-instate these cuts - which would be spread out among Colombia and six of its neighbors - by taking counter-drug aid money from the budget for non-Andean countries. In February 2003, the administration estimated it would give Colombia $439 million from the "Andean Counterdrug Initiative" account, $284 million of it for the military and police, the rest economic and social assistance.

Congress allowed the administration to provide Colombia with $93 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to help its army protect the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline in the department of Arauca. Colombia would get another $1.2 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding.

The "Andean Counterdrug Initiative" aid contains several other earmarks. $5 million must go to a Colombian military unit that would be dedicated to arresting paramilitary leaders. $3 million will buy the Colombian police "web monitoring software" and train them in its use. $1.5 million would go to the Procurador human rights unit. $3.5 million would help Colombia's National Park Service to protect natural areas.

The bill continues language that first appeared in H.R. 4775, the 2002 emergency anti-terror supplemental appropriation bill. For the duration of fiscal year 2003, the bill expands the mission of all past and present counter-drug aid, allowing it to be used in counter-insurgent (or "counter-terror") operations.

Limitations

As in previous years, the aid comes with restrictions. Twenty-five percent of the aid will be held up until the Secretary of State certifies that the Colombian military is complying with several human rights standards. This is a weakening of human rights conditions that applied to 2002 aid, which held up all aid until the State Department issued its certifications (which human rights groups widely disputed).

The law also holds up eighty percent of funding for herbicides until the State Department certifies that aerial fumigation of drug crops is occurring within a series of guidelines for health, environment, compensation for those unjustly sprayed, and availability of alternative development "where security permits." This is also a weakening of last year's conditions, which applied to all aid (and also produced a disputed certification).

The presence of U.S. military personnel and private contractors in Colombia is again held to a maximum of 400 each. While the "cap" only applies to U.S. personnel in Colombia "in support of Plan Colombia," Bush Administration officials have pledged to respect the limit - except in special cases like search-and-rescue missions.

Reports

No "Andean Counterdrug Initiative" funds can be spent until the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development give Congress a report on the proposed uses of all funds "on a country-by-country basis for each proposed program, project, or activity." This report is due by the end of March.

The conference committee's non-binding narrative directs the State Department to report by May 13 about changes to its procedures and operations in Colombia as a result of the expansion in the mission of U.S. aid from counter-narcotics to counter-terrorism.

The committee's narrative also asks for a thorough report by May 13 on steps taken to mitigate the health and environmental effects of herbicide fumigation.

Previous steps

The House Appropriations Committee met on September 5 and September 19 to "mark up" (basically, write and approve the text of) its version of the bill, H.R. 5410.

Read relevant text from the bill and from the committee's narrative report.

  • The Committee approved the Bush Administration's entire $731 million request for the Andean Regional Initiative (ARI).
    • The "Andean Regional Initiative" countries sharing this outlay are Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
    • Not all ARI aid is military. (The administration's region-wide request was for $440 million in military/police aid and $291 million in economic and social aid.)
    • The bill would require the President to return to the United States any helicopter "used to aid or abet the operations of any illegal self-defense group or illegal security cooperative."

  • The Committee approved the administration's request for $98 million to help Colombia's military protect the Caño Limón - Coveñas oil pipeline.

  • The Committee's bill includes language requested by the Bush Administration that would expand the mission of U.S. military aid beyond counternarcotics to encompass "counter-terrorism."

  • The bill includes human rights conditions similar to those in 2002 law. The conditions specify that assistance to Colombia's armed forces and police may be released after the Secretary of State certifies that:
    • Colombia's armed forces are suspending members credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights, including extra-judicial killings, or to have aided or abetted paramilitary organizations;
    • The Colombian armed forces are cooperating with civilian and judicial investigations and prosecutions of armed forces members credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights, including extra-judicial killings, or to have aided or abetted paramilitary organizations, and Colombia's armed forces are cooperating with civilian prosecutors and judicial authorities;
    • Colombia's armed forces are "taking effective measures" to severing links at all levels with paramilitary organizations; and
    • Colombia's armed forces are "taking effective measures" to execute orders to apprehend the leaders of paramilitary organizations.


    Unlike the 2002 conditions and the Senate's version of the 2003 conditions, which require certifications twice per year, the House conditions would need only be invoked once each year.

    At least ten days before the certification decision is made, and every 120 days thereafter, the State Department must meet with internationally recognized human rights organizations.

  • The House bill does not include conditions on the aerial fumigation program, unlike the 2002 law and the Senate's version of the 2003 law.

  • The bill preserves "caps" on the number of U.S. military and civilian contractor personnel who can be present in Colombia (400 of each).

The Senate Appropriations Committee made the first move on July 16 and July 18, when it "marked up" the foreign aid bill, S. 2779, first in subcommittee and then in full committee.

Read relevant text from the bill and from the committee's narrative report.

  • The Committee cut the Bush Administration's $731 million request for the Andean Regional Initiative (ARI) back to $637 million (with an option to transfer an additional $35 million by cutting counter-narcotics programs elsewhere in the world).
    • The "Andean Regional Initiative" countries sharing this outlay are Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
    • Not all ARI aid is military. In fact, the Committee's bill would require that $215 million of the $637 million go directly to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
    • The Committee would require that at least $5 million from ARI and Foreign Military Financing funds go to setting up a Colombian armed forces unit dedicated to apprehending paramilitary leaders.
    • The Committee would require at least $2 million in ARI funds for "vehicles, equipment, and other assistance for the human rights unit of the Procurador General."
    • The Committee would require at least $3.5 million in ARI funds for the Colombian National Park Service "for training, equipment, and other assistance to protect Colombia's national parks and reserves."
    • The bill would forbid use of assistance to fund U.S. military or contract personnel participating in combat operations.
    • The bill would require the President to return to the United States any helicopter "used to aid or abet the operations of any illegal self-defense group or illegal security cooperative."

    The Committee's narrative report, which accompanies the bill, is quite critical of Plan Colombia's performance so far:

  • The Committee is disappointed with the results of "Plan Colombia," which has fallen far short of expectations. Neither the Colombian government nor other international donors have lived up to their financial commitments, and the amount of coca and poppy under cultivation has increased. In addition, peace negotiations have collapsed, the armed conflict has intensified, and the country is preparing for a wider war which few observers believe can be won on the battlefield. It is estimated that one million Colombians have been displaced from their homes. Alternative economic development programs have produced few tangible results, and the Colombian government's role in this effort has not inspired confidence. The Committee expects the Colombian government to significantly improve its efforts in social and economic development.

  • The Committee approved $88 million for the administration's proposal to help Colombia's military protect the Caño Limón - Coveñas oil pipeline. This was a $10 million cut from the administration's request of $98 million. Of the $88 million, up to $71 million may pay for helicopters. The Committee would allow the pipeline-protection money to come from both the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program and the Andean Regional Initiative (ARI) account.

  • The Committee's bill includes language requested by the Bush Administration that would expand the mission of U.S. military aid beyond counternarcotics to encompass "counter-terrorism."

  • The bill includes human rights conditions similar to those in 2002 law. The conditions specify that 60 percent of all assistance for the year to Colombia's armed forces and police may be released after the Secretary of State certifies that:
    • Colombia's armed forces are suspending members credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights, including extra-judicial killings, or to have aided or abetted paramilitary organizations;
    • The Colombian Government is prosecuting and punishing armed forces members credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights, including extra-judicial killings, or to have aided or abetted paramilitary organizations, and Colombia's armed forces are cooperating with civilian prosecutors and judicial authorities;
    • Colombia's armed forces are severing links at all levels with paramilitary organizations; and
    • Colombia's armed forces are apprehending the leaders of paramilitary organizations.

    The certification must happen again after June 1, 2003, when the other 40 percent of aid could be released. At least ten days before the certification decision is made, and every 120 days thereafter, the State Department must meet with internationally recognized human rights organizations.
    The main difference from the 2002 conditions is that they would apply to police aid as well as military assistance. In addition, the language requiring "apprehending the leaders of paramilitary organizations" is more clearly stated (current law calls for executing "outstanding orders for capture for members of such groups").

  • The bill includes fumigation conditions similar to those in 2002 law, but tightened somewhat with a few changes. According to the Committee's conditions, the U.S. government cannot buy chemicals, equipment or services for coca fumigation until "the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and, if appropriate, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," certifies that:
    • aerial coca fumigation is being carried out in accordance U.S. and Colombian laws and regulations (including EPA regulations and the Colombian Environmental Management Plan for aerial fumigation);
    • effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are being utilized in Colombia to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations;
    • the chemicals used in the aerial fumigation of coca, in the manner in which they are being applied, do not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment;
    • procedures are available to evaluate local citizens' claims that their health was harmed or their licit agricultural crops were damaged, and to provide fair compensation for meritorious claims; and
    • in departments where fumigation is planned, the U.S. Agency for Alternative Development and the Colombian government have developed alternative development programs in consultation with communities and local authorities, and that programs are being implemented in departments where coca fumigation has been conducted.

    Key differences from the 2002 conditions include the "trigger" - the current conditions only apply to purchases of chemicals - and the specification that the U.S. Agency for International Development be funding alternative development programs in areas to be sprayed. (Current law could be interpreted, for example, as allowing spraying in areas where alternative-development programs funded by third countries exist.)

  • The bill preserves "caps" on the number of U.S. military and civilian contractor personnel who can be present in Colombia (400 of each).

Sources:

  • Appropriations Committee report 107-219 [Plain text | Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format]
  • S.2779, as placed on calendar in the Senate
  • Appropriations Committee press release, July 18, 2002

The Bush Adminstration's request, submitted February 4, 2002:

Overall numbers

The Foreign Operations appropriation request, which includes the vast majority of aid for the region, would provide Colombia with about $374 million in military aid and $164 million in social and economic aid. (The Defense budget appropriation, which includes additional counter-drug aid, does not estimate how much aid each country would get. In 2001, however, Colombia's military and police got an additional $154 million through the defense budget, according to a February 2002 communication from the Defense Department.)

69.5 percent of the Foreign Operations request is military and police assistance; if Colombia gets defense-budget aid similar to an average of 1999-2001 levels, the 2003 request from all sources would be 75.1 percent military and police assistance.

Program
Military / Police Aid
Economic / Social Aid
International Narcotics Control (INC - Andean Regional Initiative)
$275,000,000
$164,000,000
Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
$98,000,000
-
International Military Education and Training (IMET)
$1,180,000
-
Foreign Operations Budget Request Total
$374,180,000
$164,000,000
Defense-Budget Counternarcotics Aid (Known as "Section 1004" and "Section 1033"), estimated by averaging 1999-2001 levels
$119,720,000
-
Estimated Overall 2003 Total
$493,900,000
$164,000,000

Troop cap "loophole": The original 2000 "Plan Colombia" aid package law included a provision limiting the U.S. presence in Colombia to a maximum of 500 military personnel and 300 contractors (the 2002 foreign aid law changed the figures to 400 and 400).

The law specified, however, that the cap only applied to US personnel in Colombia "in support of Plan Colombia." It defined "Plan Colombia" as "the plan of the Government of Colombia instituted by the administration of President Pastrana to combat drug production and trafficking, foster peace, increase the rule of law, improve human rights, expand economic development, and institute justice reform."

Since some activities now being proposed, such as pipeline protection, do not fit within the definition of the original "Plan Colombia," the troop cap technically does not apply to them.

During the House Armed Services Committee's May 1 debate of the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act, Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi) proposed an amendment to implement a more comprehensive 500-person military cap. It was approved, but severely weakened by a provision allowing the Secretary of Defense to waive it.

Foreign Military Financing

For the first time since the Cold War, Colombia may get a significant amount of non-drug military assistance. The Bush administration has signaled a willingness to cross the "invisible line" between counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency, providing aid that would target Colombian armed groups without regard to drug activity.

The Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program -- used in recent years mostly to provide grant military aid to the Middle East -- would provide Colombia with $98 million in 2003. This money would help Colombia's army establish (or re-train) a new brigade to protect economic infrastructure. According to press reports, the brigade will be supplied with about twelve UH-1 "Huey" utility helicopters.

In particular, the FMF-aided unit would be charged with protecting the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline, which runs from Arauca department to Sucre department in northeastern Colombia. Much oil in this pipeline belongs to Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum. The pipeline was attacked by Colombian guerrillas 166 times in 2001.

In a February 4, briefing, State Department Western Hemisphere official Curt Struble sought to downplay the shift in emphasis away from counternarcotics, noting that "We have, for example, through our anti-terrorism assistance program assistance that goes to both the Colombian police and the Colombian armed forces directed against kidnapping." Yet the Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program to which Mr. Struble refers has provided Colombia with $1 million or less per year, all of it training.

The Andean Regional Initiative request

The aid request would provide Colombia and its neighbors with an additional $731 million in International Narcotics Control (INC) assistance, both military/police and economic.

    Country
    Military / Police
    Economic / Social
    Total
    Colombia
    $275,000,000
    $164,000,000
    $439,000,000
    Peru
    $66,000,000
    $69,000,000
    $135,000,000
    Bolivia
    $49,000,000
    $42,000,000
    $91,000,000
    Ecuador
    $21,000,000
    $16,000,000
    $37,000,000
    Brazil
    $12,000,000
    -
    $12,000,000
    Venezuela
    $8,000,000
    -
    $8,000,000
    Panama
    $9,000,000
    -
    $9,000,000
    Total
    $440,000,000
    $291,000,000
    $731,000,000

The outlay of $275 million for Colombia's military and police would include funding to establish a second counternarcotics brigade, in addition to the Putumayo-based unit created with funds from the 2000-2001 "Plan Colombia" aid package. This new brigade may be based in the eastern departments of Guainía and Vichada, though this information is still not completely certain.

Human rights certification

Colombia's security forces cannot receive any assistance until the State Department certifies that they meet three human rights conditions (described in point 10 of CIP's annotated explanation of the 2002 Foreign Operations law). In late February, the State Department is expected to announce its decision.

On February 5, 2002, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Washington Office on Latin America released a document with extensive evidence proving that Colombia's security forces meet none of the conditions in the law.

Source documents

Google
Search WWW Search ciponline.org

Asia
|
Colombia
|
|
Financial Flows
|
National Security
|

Center for International Policy
1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 232-3317 / fax (202) 232-3440
cip@ciponline.org