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Last Updated:7/15/04
The 2004 aid request

On January 23, 2004, nearly four months into the federal government's fiscal year 2004, President Bush signed into law the 2004 foreign aid bill. The legislation was combined with six other appropriations bills, containing much federal discretionary spending. The Foreign Operations bill (H.R. 2800), which includes most aid to Colombia, became “Division D” of this combined “omnibus” budget legislation (H.R. 2673).

Relevant text from the 2004 Foreign Operations bill; version with annotations from CIP
Relevant text from earlier versions of House and Senate bills and committee reports

Aid amounts

(Estimated total for Colombia: $424.8 million military/police aid, $150 million economic/social aid; approximately $130 million in additional military/police aid is included in another bill, the Defense Department Appropriations Act)

The bill's final version gives the Bush administration most of what it asked for, including its full $731 million request for the “Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI).” Administered by the State Department’s international narcotics bureau, the ACI provides counter-drug military and economic aid for Colombia and six of its neighbors (Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela). The program contains much of the military and economic aid that Colombia receives. In February 2004, the administration estimated it would give Colombia $463 million from the “Andean Counterdrug Initiative” account in 2004, $313 million of it for the military and police, the rest economic and social assistance.

The ACI aid contains several earmarks. Of the $731 million for the entire Andean region, at least $257 million must fund alternative-development and institution-building programs, with $229 million going directly to the United States Agency for International Development instead of passing through the State Department’s narcotics bureau. (In June 2003, the State Department reported that it planned to spend a combined $108.8 million on alternative-development and administration-of-justice programs in Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.)

Of this $257 million in economic aid, the bill specifies that at least $25 million must support justice and rule of law programs in Colombia, and an additional $13 million must support organizations and programs to protect human rights. At least $2.5 million must pay for “continued training, equipment, and other assistance for the Colombian National Park Service.” (In 2003, the bill specified $3.5 million for the park service. The 2004 bill does not continue 2003 provisions mandating aid for a Colombian military unit to arrest paramilitary leaders, web monitoring software for the Colombian police, or support for the Procurador human rights unit.)

In addition to the ACI, Congress placed only one limit on the administration’s request to provide Colombia with $110 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF, the chief non-drug military aid program in foreign aid legislation): that $17 million of it pay for “aircraft and related assistance for the Colombian National Police.” In 2003, this account helped launch a program to help Colombia’s army protect the Caño Limón-Coveñas oil pipeline in the department of Arauca.

While some 2004 FMF will continue to support the pipeline program, this aid will be given more flexibly to Colombia’s security forces. According to the Bush administration’s 2004 request, FMF will also pay for “training, weapons, night vision goggles and communications equipment to the Army’s elite mobile brigades and the Special Forces brigade (FUDRA)” and “the provision of interdiction boats, training and infrastructure improvements, the purchase of two additional AC-47 gunships and a C-130 support plan that will procure four C-130e aircraft and maintenance support.”

Colombia would get another $1.8 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding, which pays for military and police training, in 2004. In 2003, IMET funded 590 of the 12,947 Colombian military and police personnel trained by the United States. (The number-one training program, with 10,558 students funded, was the Defense Department’s “Section 1004” counter-drug funding authority. This program is not even part of the Foreign Operations funding bill; it is funded separately, through the budget of the Department of Defense.)

Expanded authority

The bill continues language that first appeared in the 2002 emergency anti-terror supplemental appropriation bill. For the duration of fiscal year 2004, the bill expands the mission of all past and present counter-drug aid, allowing it to be used in a “unified campaign” against both drugs and the activities of the FARC, ELN and AUC – in other words, allowing aid from counter-drug funding accounts to be used for counter-insurgent (or “counter-terror”) operations.

As in 2003, this expanded mission is contingent on the Colombian military’s execution of “vigorous operations” to retake territory from paramilitary and guerrilla groups, and to respect human rights. As in past years, U.S.-donated helicopters must be returned if the State Department finds that Colombian forces used them to aid or abet paramilitary groups.

Fumigation in national parks

A new provision allows ACI funds to support aerial herbicide fumigation in Colombia’s national parks and reserves “if the Secretary of State determines that it is in accordance with Colombian laws and that there are no effective alternatives to reduce drug cultivation in these areas.” In a June 2003 decree, the government of President Alvaro Uribe gave a green light to herbicide fumigation in Colombia’s parks and reserves.

Human rights conditions

As in 2003, 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 step down from 2001 and 2002, when all aid was subject to human rights restrictions.)

Changes in wording weaken some certification standards and strengthen others. Most notable is a change in the first requirement. In 2003, the State Department had to certify that Colombia’s armed forces are suspending members credibly alleged to have committed gross human rights violations or to have aided and abetted paramilitaries. In 2004, the certification only covers armed forces members who face such allegations according to Colombia’s minister of Defense or Procuraduría General. Allegations of internationally recognized human rights organizations no longer meet the “credible” standard unless corroborated by these Colombian government bodies.

Fumigation conditions

As in 2003, the law 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.”

“Troop cap”

As in every year since 2001, 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.

Peru and Bolivia

While since August 2003 the United States has been supporting Colombian Air Force efforts to force down (or shoot down) aircraft suspected of trafficking drugs and arms, similar aid to Peru remains suspended. Procedures are still not in place to avoid accidents, such as an April 2001 incident in which a Peruvian Air Force plane mistakenly shot down a light aircraft carrying a family of U.S. missionaries. The bill renews 2003 language prohibiting U.S. funding for a renewed Peruvian air interdiction program until 30 days after the State Department and CIA certify that “enhanced safeguards and procedures” are in place to prevent a repeat of the 2001 tragedy.

ACI aid to Bolivia for the first time contains specific human rights conditions. Aid to Bolivia’s security forces is now subject to a determination by the Secretary of State, and a report to the congressional Appropriations Committees, that the Bolivian military and police are respecting human rights and cooperating with investigations and prosecutions of alleged violations.

No notification

For the first time in many years, Colombia does not appear on a list of countries subject to the “regular notification procedures” of the congressional appropriations committees. Until 2004, the committees had to be informed in writing fifteen days before the State Department planned to obligate an amount of previously approved aid to Colombia. By tradition, the chairmen (and ranking minority-party members) of the committees had the power to “place a hold” on the tranche of aid if he or she found something to be unacceptable. Such “holds” were frequent in the past few years, but are unlikely in 2004.

Report

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 within 45 days of the bill’s final passage.

Previous steps

On October 10, 2003, the Senate approved its version of the Foreign Operations bill, making no major changes to the Colombia language the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved in its July 2003 “markup.” There was no debate on aid to Colombia or the Andean region.

The House of Representatives met on July 23 to debate and approve the 2004 foreign aid funding bill (H.R. 2800). The House version would do the following:

  • Appropriate $731 million for the "Andean Counter-Drug Initiative" (ACI) account, which includes anti-drug military and economic aid for Colombia and six of its neighbors. This would give the Bush Administration its full request for the ACI.
  • As in past bills, the ACI money can be used "to support a unified campaign against narcotics trafficking [and] against activities by organizations designated as terrorist organizations" in Colombia.
  • Human rights conditions are attached to 25 percent of all Colombia aid in the bill. One condition is softened to require only that the Colombian military and police seek to be arresting wanted paramilitary leaders "that continue armed conflict." (In other words, the conditions would not apply should wanted paramilitary leaders be involved in peace talks, even if Colombian judicial authorities have not lifted arrest warrants.)
  • The Bush Administration's request for $110 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance for Colombia is not specifically mentioned in the bill language (though the administration is free to use money in the global FMF account for Colombia).

    Relevant text of House and Senate bills and committee reports

An hourlong discussion on U.S. policy toward Colombia took place as representatives debated an amendment, introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), that sought to cut $75 million from military assistance to Colombia and move it into global HIV-AIDS programs.

The amendment failed by a largely party-line vote of 195 in favor, 226 against.

The Senate Appropriations Committee met on July 17 to "mark up" (write its draft of) the 2004 foreign aid funding bill (S. 1426). The Senate version would do the following:

  • Appropriate $660 million for the "Andean Counter-Drug Initiative" (ACI) account, which includes anti-drug military and economic aid for Colombia and six of its neighbors. This amount could be increased to $697 million by taking up to $37 million from the State Department's counter-drug programs elsewhere in the world. The Bush Administration had requested $731 million for the ACI.
  • As in past bills, the ACI money can be used "to support a unified campaign against narcotics trafficking [and] against activities by organizations designated as terrorist organizations" in Colombia.
  • Ensure that the U.S. Agency for International Development distributes at least $250 million of the region-wide ACI account.
  • Ensure that Colombia gets at least $165 million for alternative development and institution-building (the Bush Administration's aid request had anticipated giving Colombia $135.7 million in overall economic and social assistance), including:
    • at least $25 million for judicial reform;
    • at least $2,500,000 to protect human rights defenders;
    • at least $2,500,000 for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia;
    • at least $10,000,000 for the Colombian Attorney General's Human Rights Unit; and
    • at least $2,500,000 for the human rights unit of the Colombian Procuraduría.
  • Subject 80 percent of funds for herbicides to a certification on the environmental and health effects of fumigation, payments for legal crops destroyed by spraying, and the presence of alternative-development opportunities in areas to be sprayed.
  • Human rights conditions are attached to 50 percent of all Colombia aid in the bill. They are softened somewhat over previous years. In some cases, they call for "significant progress toward" meeting conditions. The condition requiring suspension of officers who face credible allegations of human rights abuse would only be triggered if Colombia's Defense Minister or Procurador-General determines that such allegations warrant suspension.
  • Human rights conditions are added to aid to Bolivia under the ACI.
  • The Bush Administration's request for $110 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance for Colombia is not specifically mentioned in the bill language (though the administration is free to use money in the global FMF account for Colombia). The language does specify, however, that at least $17 million in FMF pay for "aircraft and related assistance for the Colombian National Police."

    Relevant text of House and Senate bills and committee reports

Frist amendment

On July 10, the Senate added a resolution to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act praising the Colombian government on the third anniversary of the approval of the Plan Colombia aid bill. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) proposed the amendment.

The Full House Appropriations Committee met on July 16, to "mark up" (write its draft of) the 2004 foreign aid funding bill. No significant changes to the Bush Administration's request took place.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations "marked up" (wrote its draft of) the 2004 foreign aid funding bill on July 10, 2003. The subcommittee - whose Republican leadership was reportedly under direct orders from House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office to leave untouched the Bush Administration's aid request for Colombia - made no changes to the request.

The Bush Adminstration's request, submitted February 3, 2003:

Overall numbers

The Foreign Operations appropriation request, which includes the vast majority of aid for the region, would provide Colombia with about $432 million in military aid and $136 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 2003, however, Colombia's military and police are getting an estimated $149 million through the defense budget.)

76.1 percent of the Foreign Operations request is military and police assistance; if Colombia gets defense-budget aid similar to an average of 2002-2003 levels, the 2003 request from all sources would be 80.3 percent military and police assistance.

Program
Military / Police Aid
Economic / Social Aid
International Narcotics Control (INC - Andean Regional Initiative)
$320,500,000
$135,700,000
Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
$110,000,000
-
International Military Education and Training (IMET)
$1,600,000
-
Foreign Operations Budget Request Total
$432,100,000
$135,700,000
Defense-Budget Counternarcotics Aid (Known as "Section 1004" and "Section 1033"), estimated by averaging 2002-2003 levels
$119,100,000
-
Estimated Overall 2004 Total
$552,590,000
$135,700,000

Foreign Military Financing

The Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program -- used in recent years mostly to provide grant military aid to the Middle East -- would provide Colombia with $110 million in 2003. This money continue the effort to help Colombia's army protect 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.

Not all the FMF will go to the pipeline program, however. The State Department's 2004 Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations describes how it would be used.

Colombian security forces are deficient in the key areas of mobility, intelligence, sustainment and training. Our FMF request supports Colombia’s integrated national strategy with significant military and counternarcotics elements which depend on the Colombian military’s ability to establish a secure environment.

We intend to provide training, weapons, night vision goggles and communications equipment to the Army’s elite mobile brigades and the Special Forces brigade (known by the Spanish acronym FUDRA) in order to attack high priority narcotics and terrorist targets. The 5th and 18th Colombian Army Brigades, being trained in 2003 to provide protection to the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline will receive additional munitions, equipment and training to continue this high profile and important mission. Other programs envisioned with FMF funding will support the Colombian Navy and Air Force and include the provision of interdiction boats, training and infrastructure improvements, the purchase of two additional AC-47 gunships and a C-130 support plan that will procure four C-130e aircraft and maintenance support, improving the ability of the entire Colombian military to quickly provide forces for operations throughout the country.

Colombia’s very limited combat search and rescue (CSAR)/aero medevac capability negatively affects all air operations. Our request includes funds to purchase CSAR and medevac-related equipment and training for Army and Air Force aviation units, enhancing both Colombian military abilities and force protection of U.S. personnel in Colombia.

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
    $313,000,000
    $150,000,000
    $463,000,000
    Peru
    $66,000,000
    $50,000,000
    $116,000,000
    Bolivia
    $49,000,000
    $42,000,000
    $91,000,000
    Ecuador
    $20,000,000
    $15,000,000
    $35,000,000
    Brazil
    $12,000,000
    -
    $12,000,000
    Venezuela
    $5,000,000
    -
    $5,000,000
    Panama
    $9,000,000
    -
    $9,000,000
    Total
    $474,000,000
    $257,000,000
    $731,000,000

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