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Last Updated:5/24/01
Government of Colombia Briefing Paper: The results of Plan Colombia’s implementation as of May 2001

This Briefing Paper summarized efforts by the Government of Colombia to implement various aspects of Plan Colombia, including some programs which are being administered with support from the United States

Plan Colombia is a comprehensive strategy, designed to address Colombia’s interrelated problems. It has four main goals: to negotiate a comprehensive and internationally-recognized peace agreement with armed insurgents, to combat narco-trafficking and reduce the production of illegal drugs by 50% over the next five years, to revitalize the economy by creating new employment, expanding trade and increasing foreign investment and strengthening government institutions and their presence throughout Colombia’s territory. Other objectives are: to restructure and modernize Colombia’s Armed Forces and National Police; develop viable economic alternatives for Colombians engaged in illegal crop production; strengthen the judicial system and combat corruption; provide assistance to families who have been internally displaced due to violence and the armed conflict and strengthen the Government’s ability to protect and defend the human rights of all citizens

Colombia is providing a majority of the $7.5 billion needed to implement Plan Colombia. Colombian taxpayers provide $4.9 billion, and the Government of Colombia has already realized an additional $2.1 billion from external sources, mostly from the United States ($ 1.500 million), Europe ($ 355 million), Japan ($ 175 million), Canada ($ 40 million) and the United Nations ($30 million). It still needs $400 million to complete international funding. Colombian resources are administered by the Peace Investment Fund (FIP)

Plan Colombia is being implemented in 3 phases. During the first phase, the Colombian Government has focused its attention on the Putumayo region in southern Colombia. Putumayo, with a population of approximately 320,000, has historically been geographically and economically isolated from the rest of the country. A high percentage of its population is involved in the cultivation of coca – more than in any other region in Colombia.

Putumayo produces approximately 54% of the total coca grown in Colombia. Its territory covers 2.5 million hectares (6.1 million acres); 4,442 hectares (10,971 acres) are natural parks and more than 1.8 million hectares (4.4 million acres) are covered with tropical forests. An estimated 82,000 hectares (202,000 acres) are cultivated with coca, which is almost a third of the cultivable land in the region. However, the cultivated area could be up to 90,000 hectares (200.000 acres). The annual production of cocaine is estimated to be 327,000 kilos, enough to provide 1.3 billion personal doses.

Most results in Plan Colombia implementation so far are located in Putumayo. Nonetheless, work has already started in the Middle Magdalena and Southern Bolivar areas (2nd Phase) and the Macizo Colombiano (3rd Phase).

Infrastructure projects

  • Of those infrastructure projects that will be funded with resources from Plan Colombia at a national level, a total of 14 major roads, 4 are already under construction. Quibdó - Yuto, Granada – San José del Guaviare, Vélez – Landázuri. The 10 roads that are still in the contracting phase are: Junín – Barbacoas, Espriella – Río Mataje and the bridge over the Mataje River, Puerto Berrío – Caucasia, Tibú – La Gabarra, Lourdes – Gramalote, Montería – Valencia, Turbo – Necoclí – Arboletes, Chiquinquirá – Otanche – Puerto Boyacá y Belén – Socha – Samacá – La Cabuya - Tame.
  • Besides this, the Government of Colombia is presently implementing construction agreements with 231 municipalities (counties) throughout the country, giving each one of them $28.000 for the construction and maintenance of third level roads. Construction of these roads has reached 60% of completion. Another 31 municipalities are in the process of signing similar agreements. The total investment is $64 million, and will generate 399.500 jobs.
  • In addition consultants contracted by the National University (Colombia’s largest public university) are designing a total of 20 river works projects. Work will begin on the second semester of 2001. In total 21 bridges throughout the country are in contracting stage, for a total investment of $ 714.000.
  • Total investment from FIP (Plan Colombia) for education infrastructure at a national level is $ 289.000. The total coverage of rural education is being increased in 30 municipalities, in the provinces of Huila, Tolima, Cauca, Caquetá, Nariño and Meta, besides Putumayo. The different workshops have already started in Putumayo, Nariño, Cauca and Caquetá. It will eventually allow access to education for another 3.300 new children in rural areas. Total investment in 2001 is $ 826.000.
  • In Putumayo, on the first week of February, construction began on the road between Mocoa and Pitalito, with $2.1 million from FIP and $ 28.2 million from CAF (Andean Development Corporation) loan. It is the most important road, because it connects Putumayo with the rest of the country, and today it is practically impenetrable. The road will be finished in 15 months. Work is in progress in the bridge over Mandur River, the bridge over the Guineo River and the roads from Puerto Leguízamo – Tagua and Puerto Asís – Santana. The total investment in this area is $ 869.000, from FIP. In a few days, the design of the  Mocoa – Pasto road, also known as the “variante de San Francisco” and the opening of the public bidding process for the Mocoa – Puente Internacional San Miguel road, which links Putumayo with the border of Ecuador. Both will begin construction in 2001. Another $ 1.3 million will be destined to the widening and paving of secondary roads that will link the towns within Putumayo. Roads are strategic for the future of Putumayo, because without them, a legal economy beyond coca is unsustainable.
  • In terms of education, 12 new school rooms are presently being built in Putumayo, of a total of 24 that will be built under Plan Colombia in the municipalities of Puerto Asís, Valle del Guamuez, Mocoa, Villagarzón, San Miguel, Orito, Puerto Leguízamo and Puerto Guzmán. Education coverage will also be expanded, offering 6th and 7th grades with teacher training, a program that will begin in 6 weeks.
  • In terms of public health, the hospital installations and equipment in Putumayo will be improved. The public bidding process for the hospitals of Orito, Valle del Guamuez and La Hormiga, and health centers in Puerto Guzmán, La Dorada and San Miguel is already in process. In addition to this another additional 12 health centers will be built. Total FIP investment in health for Putumayo is $ 1.9 million.
  • In terms of water and sewage infrastructure, the construction of such system for the municipalities of Mocoa, Puerto Asís (urban and rural areas) and Puerto Caicedo in Putumayo are already under way, with a total cost of $ 1.4 million.
  • In terms of electricity and energy infrastructure, in Putumayo the municipalities of Orito, La Hormiga and San Miguel will be connected to the national energy distribution system, therefore finalizing electric power infrastructure from Puerto Caicedo all the way down to the town of San Miguel. At present, the area is not connected to the national system, and its electricity is provided by faulty power plants, which offer service to the population during only a few hours at night. The adjustment in design and other preparations are being made to determine the exact value of the remaining infrastructure required. The total investment in this area will be $ 1.4 million. More than 15.000 direct users and 26.000 people in the general area of influence will benefit from these projects.
  • In addition to all these infrastructure projects, the Central Government in cooperation with state and municipal authorities has initiated a process of identification of new projects to be financed during 2001 in each and every municipality in Putumayo, with available resources from the FIP. These projects will comprise public works in energy, roads, water and sewage, basic sanitation and health.  The total cost of these projects will be $ 10.8 million.
  • In Southern Bolivar, where the Government of Colombia has initiated an intensive counter-drug offensive, the Central Government will invest $6 million in road infrastructure, schools (San Pablo), water and sewage systems (Cantagallo y San Pablo).

Alternative development 

  • Alternative development agreements or “pacts” are being developed with peasant families that have small coca fields. They are structured in parallel to the “Colombia Siembra Paz” alternative development program with the governor, mayors and other local authorities in order to mobilize the local communities and find those which are willing to sign the pacts. The pact is a written agreement by which the peasants commit themselves manually eradicate their coca crops in 12 months or less, from the moment they get the first government aid. In exchange for that, the government provides assistance in alternative development, subsidizes agricultural supplies and funds the design, development and implementation of productive projects.
  • The Government of Colombia plans to sign a total of 31 pacts with an estimated 26.000 families in Putumayo, in the municipalities of Mocoa, Villagarzón, Puerto Guzmán, Orito, Valle del Guamuez, San Miguel, Puerto Caicedo, Puerto Asís and Puerto Leguízamo. About 80 percent of these families have coca crops between 1.8 and 3.7 acres. To date, 21 pacts have been signed with 20.000 families, which control 16.000 hectares of coca (39.500 acres). The 31 pacts should be signed by end of June. This means that if the agreements are honored, by mid 2002, at least 20.000 hectares (49.000 acres) of coca will have been manually eradicated, the equivalent of 26% of all coca crops in Putumayo, or 16% of all the coca in Colombia.
  • Most long-term projects are forestry and rubber, while mid-term projects are aromatic and medicinal herbs, cattle, fish, pigs, black pepper, tropical amazon fruits and hearts of palm. Every peasant family that agrees to the voluntary eradication program will get, in the form of aid, the resources required to develop a productive project, which will be given to them in the form of agricultural supplies, seeds and livestock. The projects of cattle and rubber have already been approved, and are ready for immediate execution. These projects will be financed with AID funds. The families that signed the first pacts have already established the supplies they need for agricultural subsistence, corn, yuca, plantain, cattle, etc. Families in 622 different properties in various districts of Puerto Asís received their agricultural supplies in the first week of May. The 12 hundred families that signed the second pact are now in the process of designing their own plans farm by farm.
  • Putumayo has been divided in 5 zones, which will be tended to by one private NGO each (FUNDAEMPRESA, FUNDACOMERCIO, FUNDACION RESTREPO BARCO, FUNDACION VIDA Y TUFURO AND CODESARROLLO). The first private NGO to start operations was FUNDAEMPRESA, an organization closely related to the business community in the Valle del Cauca region. It is in charge of the administration of the first pacts that were signed in the first zone, offering subsistence agriculture assistance and identifying mid and long-term projects for the community. It already has headquarters in Puerto Asís, and is currently in contact with each and every one of the families that signed the pacts in their zone. It has pledged to hire local people from Putumayo.
  • In order to fund all alternative development projects, the FIP has destined $ 34 million that can be added to the $40 million in AID fund for alternative development through the U.S. aid package. Although these U.S. funds have not yet arrived, the Government of Colombia expects $ 16 million in support for Plante activities in the following months. The estimated capacity for AID funds in Putumayo is about 18.000 families. AID resources will be used in the development of pacts in areas where there has been no spraying campaigns.
  • Another 2 areas in the country, particularly the Middle Magdalena Region and the Macizo Colombiano Region will have alternative development projects, in the following phases of Plan Colombia implementation. There already are 28 projects for those areas that comprise 12 different products, including fisheries, palm oil production, cocoa and rubber, among several others. The Southern Bolívar Region (Middle Magdalena) will get $ 3.9 million, and an additional NGO will be hired to manage the programs in that area.

Humanitarian Assistance

  • A program was designed to give special resources to the Red de Solidaridad (the Presidential Office in charge of Humanitarian Assistance for the internally displaced population) that will fund emergency assistance and aid for the population displaced by internal violence, as well as those affected by forced eradication, by providing food, medicines, shelter, etc. This project is presently under execution, and in its first phase, offered emergency assistance to the population of Putumayo during an armed blockade by the FARC in November and December 2000. That phase cost $ 887.000.
  • The second phase of humanitarian assistance has been focused on the population located in areas where crops were forcefully eradicated in the months of December last year, January and February this year. The Red de Solidaridad (RSS) in at present tending to 6.000 families whose coca crops were sprayed, and are presently receiving aid in the form of food.
  • At the same time, technical cooperation programs in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (ACNUR) as well as resources provided by the AID through ACNUR for $ 22.5 million. ACNUR recently opened an office in the town of Puerto Asís. The Red Cross was hired to operate and manage humanitarian assistance in the city of Pasto, and the NGO CEDAVIDA in the city of Villavicencio. They will both offer humanitarian assistance for 600 families for $ 300.000. The internal displacements that have occurred since the fumigation campaign in Putumayo and Caqueta began on December 19, 2000 are meager. To this moment, there are only 30 registered cases. A very different situation form what happened in the area between September and December 2000, during that FARC’s armed blockade, when they installed roadblocks and burned more than 50 vehicles. As a result, 1.123 persons were displaced from Putumayo to Nariño, and 1.419 went to Ecuador. The RSS gave them humanitarian assistance in the municipalities of San Miguel, Villagarzón, Mocoa, Valle del Guamuez, Orito, Leguízamo and Santiago.
  • The Catholic Church, that operates an agreement between ACNUR, the Government of Colombia and the Government of Ecuador, has given aid to the population that has been displaced into that neighboring country. During the months of the armed blockade by the FARC in Putumayo, the RSS implemented an emergency airlift operation from Bogota, Cali, Neiva and Pasto towards the Puerto Asís airport, as well as other municipalities, moving a total of 899 tons of food, personal hygiene products and medicines.  In total, the cost of RSS assistance during those days was $ 961.000. The RSS reported that most of the people displaced by the FARC’s armed blockade are returning to Putumayo, even though spraying is still going on
  • Due to the fact that it is necessary to continue with humanitarian assistance for the population affected by spraying while the pacts begin operating in these areas, the resources destined to these families have been increased in a total of $ 1 million. It will continue until the month of June, when all the families should have received the agricultural subsistence aid from signing the alternative development pacts
  • AID is at present developing several projects in Putumayo that are helping the displaced population. Among them are programs that specifically support children, as well as infrastructure for education, sewage and water systems, basic sanitation, alternative development and health treatment for children under 5 years of age and young women.
  • At a national level, the RSS is offering humanitarian assistance in 139 municipalities, 19 of them, which receive, displaced populations, 40 that receive and generate displaced population, and 80 that are a source of displacement. In total, 143.400 families will receive humanitarian assistance in the next 3 years, and 58.000 families will be relocated. Family loans will be offered to 7.680 recipients. A total of 416 young men and women have been successfully rehabilitated and developed and demobilized from the armed conflict. Particularly in Southern Bolívar, at the beginning of May the execution of $782.000 in humanitarian aid for families affected by the violence in the municipalities of San Pablo, Cantagallo, Simití and Santa Rosa began.
  • AID has also developed several projects to generate employment for 1.585 displaced families in Cordoba, and the city of Cartagena, where $230.000 from AID were increased to $1.1 million from private donations. In total, 1.900 families in Bogota and Bucaramanga are receiving attention on behalf of an NGO that provides employment, drinkable water, and child-care services for working mothers. Health services are also being delivered by and NGO to internally displaced persons, particularly women and children throughout 27 different areas in Northern Colombia.

Institutional Strengthening

  • The FIP is presently developing two projects for institutional strengthening in Putumayo. The first project, land legalization, is tied to the alternative development pacts that have already been described. This program began its execution in the first week of February and has FIP resources for a total of $336.000. It is crucial, because most peasant families in Putumayo have no property documentation for the land that they farm. The project helps the peasant families to obtain such documentation, as long as they commit to the eradication of all illegal crops. Work has already begun with several workshops that were held with 100 community leaders in Santana, Danubio and Puerto Asís. The retrieval of requests for this particular Government service has already started.
  • The second project is a census that will allow the Government of Colombia to have information about the indigenous groups that exist in Putumayo. It consists of an ethnological study, so that the indigenous groups can be identified and given training to promote community organization. This will allow them to make use of various legal advantages that Colombian law offers indigenous communities. This project also began implementation with the hiring of professionals that will carry out the ethnological studies.
  • Beyond the resources from FIP, there are also resources from AID in coordination with Colombian Government authorities, particularly aimed at local and regional authorities. The purpose is to give these local authorities the necessary training to improve local government and promote community participation. It has four components: community participation, local government strengthening, transparency and community oversight, and a social infrastructure fund. AID has already hired the NGO that will be in charge of administrating this project, ARD. A first meeting with 13 mayors has already taken place, as well as with the Governor of Putumayo and his staff in December 2000. Another workshop took place on February 14 and since then the local authorities and ARD’s work has been very well received by the community.  

Social Safety Net

  • Among the different programs that make up Plan Colombia, and that are being implemented by the FIP, are those included in our Social Safety Net Program: Empleo en Acción (Employment in Action), Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action) and Familias en Acción (Families in Action).
  • In April, the implementation of the Empleo en Acción Program began, which seeks to generate temporary employment for the lowest strata of the population in all municipalities in the country. The program will work through promoting small community infrastructure projects in urban centers. Throughout the country, it will invest $170 million, and create 360.000 jobs. In Bogotá, there are 101 projects ready for implementation with total investment of $560.000 generating 1054 new jobs. The rest of the country is implementing 270 projects, with $4.2 million and generating 10.300 new jobs.
  • By the end of May 2001, the implementation of the pilot program for Jovenes en Acción will begin, by offering courses for job training to 100.000 young men and women that are presently unemployed, between 18 and 25 years of age, in the two lowest levels of the population. It will cover the cities of Bogota, Medellín, Cali, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Manizales. The pilot program begins in Bogota and Soacha, training 4.500 young men and women with a total investment of $ 3 million. The nationwide investment for this project is $ 17.6 million. In Putumayo, this program intends to finance in the year 2001 close to 124 projects in the 13 municipalities of the province, generating more than 1.400 new jobs, for which it will invest $ 454.000.
  • Familias en Acción will provide monetary support directed to families of the lowest economic strata of population, located in municipalities of less that 100.000 inhabitants, in the farthest regions in the country, in favor of 330 thousand families in 500 municipalities. A total of $173 million will be invested throughout the country. The support is in the form of nutritional subsidies for families with children between 0 and 7 years of age, who are given $ 20 and a school subsidy of $12 for every child in elementary and $6 for every child in high school. The pilot program began in 20 municipalities of 4 provinces in the month of April. It is benefiting 22.000 families, 34.000 children that will receive $ 5.1 million. The goal for the end of 2001 is to cover 302 municipalities in 19 provinces to help 197.039 families, 675.292 children with a total investment of $ 26 million. In Putumayo, the pilot program will take place in four municipalities, Orito, Puerto Asís, Sibundoy, and Villagarzón. $1.260.000 will be invested. President Pastrana already jump-started the program in Putumayo, by giving 1.031 individual subsidies on May 16, 2001.

Human Rights & Military Reform

  • The US aid package, through aid, has destined $40 million for human rights in Colombia. The public bidding process for the administration of these funds is already working on the ground. It includes protection for human rights defenders, institutional strengthening for human rights offices, the creation of a specialized unit of the Prosecutor’s Office for human rights, rehabilitation and demobilization of young combatants, and protection for human rights witnesses. In total, 1.081.740 people will receive training in human rights and International Humanitarian Law, and 5.6 million will be informed.
  • Approximately $ 4.7 million from FIP have been destined to the protection of human rights defenders, including armed guards, bulletproof vehicles, bulletproof vests and armed guards for 113 sited throughout the country. The program includes the protection of labor leaders, indigenous groups and witnesses in human rights cases. A special protection program for journalists was also created. The U.S. Embassy in Bogota just recently signed an agreement with the Government of Colombia to implement the first $1 million of AID earmarked for this project.
  • An early warning system has been created for State forces to prevent massacres and provide greater assistance to those displaced by the conflict. It will be directed by the Ombudsman’s Office and coordinated by the Vice President’s Office, the Ministry of the Interior, the RSS, the Ministry of Defense, the Attorney General’s Office, international organizations and civil society. In its implementation, it will have AID support, which will destine $ 2 million, that will be added to $ 1 million from the FIP. In addition, 5 scholarships of human rights NGOs are in progress, for a total of $ 415.000, including the creation of a human rights network for the Middle Magdalena Region and a human rights program for Afro-Colombians. The system is still in the contracting phase, and an agreement with the National University for the training for human rights promoters that will participate in the system has been signed.
  • In the fight against anti-personnel landmines, 16 municipalities of Santander, Antioquia and Southern Bolívar have been chosen where 700 victims have already been identified. They will receive support, and a total investment of $150.000. The NGO that is implementing the agreement has not been determined yet.
  • In terms of family violence, a pilot program in Mocoa and Puerto Asís in Putumayo is being implemented. The process of identification of an NGO that will administer the project is under way, with a total investment of $ 173.000. Workshops to promote a culture of peace among children are taking place, including training in human rights, with a total investment of $ 43.000 in 14 municipalities. A total of 8 workshops have already taken place in Barrancabermeja, Popayán, Ibagué, Villavicencio, Apartadó and San Vicente del Caguán.
  • On April 3, AID approved a $ 2.5 million dollar program for children who are demobilizing from the conflict. It will provide them with legal assistance once they have demobilized. It will also improve the four existing centers that help these kids, giving them education, training and assistance in obtaining personal identification documents, as well as family reunification when possible.  Two new centers will be built in Bogota, in order to offer attention and food to 40 children per year. The program will assist a total of 600 kids.
  • During the year 2000, the clear tendency of a decrease in complains against the Public Force, for alleged human rights violations, became even stronger. In 1995, the Attorney General’s Office received 3.000 complaints against members of the Public Force for alleged human rights violations. It decided to open 358 investigations. In 2000, it received 430 complains, and found grounds to investigate only 57, a decrease of 83% in filed complaints.
  • Today, Colombia’s Armed Forces get more human rights training than any other military in Latin America. In the last 5 years, more than 97.000 members of the Armed Forces received such training. In total, the Colombian Army has 117 human rights offices, which are run by specialized professionals, which handle complains by citizens on any form of misconduct by military personnel.
  • Law number 548 of 1999 prohibited the recruitment of minor for the military. Approximately 1.000 individuals under 18 years of age were dismissed from service.
  • On September 14, 2000, President Pastrana signed 11 executive decrees, which reformed and professionalized the armed forces, including provisions for disciplinary removal of Armed Forces members involved in human rights abuses or support for illegal actors including paramilitaries. And for the first time, he signed – and used – discretionary authority to remove personnel at any stage in their career. In total, 458 enlisted men have been removed from service since October 2000.
  • The number of non-combatant soldiers has decreased by 10.000 a year, and at the same time the number of professional soldiers has increased to a total of 55.000. This means that Colombia will have more than 160.000 combat ready soldiers by the end of 2002, as compared to only 75.000 in 1998.
  • The Government of Colombia also reformed the Military Justice System and the Military Penal Code so that only civilian courts can handle cases of forced disappearance, torture, genocide, and forced displacement. President Pastrana also issued a directive to the heads of the Armed Forces and Police that requires them to relinquish to the civilian judiciary the investigation, prosecution and trial of human rights violations and other crimes not directly related to acts of service. And reformed the Penal Code, so that the International Humanitarian Law, as well as crimes such as forced displacement, genocide and torture are included in our Penal System and tried as criminal offenses for the first time in our history.
  • And in the fight against paramilitary organizations, the Colombian military has also obtained significant results. Since August 1998, when President Pastrana came to power, 153 paramilitaries have been killed in action by the Colombian Armed Forces. Between 1998 and 1999, 32 members of the Armed Forces were separated from service for presumed human rights violations, while during that same period, the military justice system ordered the discharge of 65 police officers for presumed human rights violations. And just a few weeks ago and for the first time in Colombian history, the Military Justice System condemned and imprisoned an army general, Jaime Humberto Uscategui, in connection with the 1997 paramilitary massacre at Mapiripan, Meta. In the year 2000, military operations against paramilitary groups increased in 123%. A total of 10% of all AUC members are now in jail, a much higher percentage than guerrillas. So far this year, Colombian authorities have captured 330 paramilitaries, and killed in action a total of 24.
  • On May 1, 2001, Colombian military forces captured 62 members of AUC, an illegal “self-defense” group believed to be responsible for a massacre in El Alto Naya (on April 14 during the Holy Week observance). Officials said the AUC had moved into the village southwest of Bogota near the Pacific coast on the border of Cauca and Valle de Cauca Provinces and began killing farmers and their families after accusing them of being involved with guerrilla forces. Official reports show that 17 villagers were brutally murdered by the AUC.The Colombian Navy, along with a Special Forces Company from Cartagena and other special river and helicopter units, tracked the AUC over a six-day period, beginning on April 24. Colombian military units engaged in six battles with the illegal self-defense forces in the Yurumangui region south of Valle del Cauca. That same week, Colombian authorities captured Dumas Jesus Guerrero, an important member of the AUC, and Albert Narvaez Mejía, the AUC commander in Bogotá. On May 20, 2001, the AUC commander in the city of Barrancabermeja, Francisco Javier Correa was also captured.

Interdiction

  • The Colombian Military Forces increased their participation in the fight against illicit drugs in the year 2000 and developed joint or coordinated operations with the Antinarcotics Police. 647 laboratories and 69 landing strips were destroyed in 2000, compared to 316 laboratories and 52 strips in 1999.  In the first 3 months of 2001, Colombian authorities destroyed 273 laboratories and 7 clandestine landing strips.
  • Colombian authorities seized a total of 89,856 kilograms of cocaine in 2000, an increase of 91% over 1999.   563,520 grams of heroin were also seized, an increase of 9% over 1999.  Between January and March 2001, 26,494 kilograms of cocaine and 72,517 grams of heorine have been seized.
  • A total of 974,842.8 gallons of liquid inputs and 949,971 kilograms of solid inputs were seized by Colombian authorities at ports, commercial and industrial locations, as well as at illegal drug processing centers in 2000.    Among the solid substances the highest seizures records were those of sodium carbonate (31.37%), cement (20.81%), potassium permanganate (7.45%) and sodium hydroxide (7.27%), among others.
  • Army Counternarcotics Brigade. In 1999 the Counternarcotics Brigade of the Army, a high mobilization unit that plans and carries out offensive operations by land and by air was established.  It is conformed by three anti-narcotics battalions and of one logistics support battalion that can move rapidly even during operations with bad weather conditions and limited visibility. The battalions carry out operations to give support to, or in coordination with, other State security organizations. They infiltrate criminal organizations. They carry out and direct short-term operations without the logistic support of other units and they do land and air recognizance.  The National Army has led 260 anti-narcotics operations using its divisions and brigades throughout the national territory. It has participated with troops from the Anti-narcotics Brigade, the 12th Brigade in the Department of Caquetá and the 24th Brigade in the Department of Putumayo in 305 operations carried out by the Southern Joint Task Force. The National Army’s operational costs have been quantified for the year 2000, taking into account personnel, food, munitions, helicopter hours and intelligence expenses. The investment made was $ 7,2 million and the results obtained in seizures of materials, drugs, vehicles, etc., are appraised at $ 84,9 million.
  • In the operation of the Counternarcotics Battalions on land, there have been four incidents, three direct clashes with FARC forces and 1 clash with paramilitary groups. These clashes resulted in the death of one soldier from the 12th Brigade, 11 combatants from the FARC and 1 paramilitary. Cooperation between the National Police and the Army has been judged by all observers, including US Embassy personnel, as exceptional.
  • Army's Aviation BrigadeDuring the year 2000, the Army’s Aviation Brigade reorganized its Helicopter Battalion into one Commando and Control Company, four air attack companies, one medium-sized helicopters company, one guarding and recognizance squadron, and one air salvage and rescue company. Crews have been trained, seeking operational autonomy to support the Anti-narcotics Brigade. With the support of the UH1N helicopters assigned to the Anti-narcotics Brigade, mobilization by air for support in operations has become an essential element in carrying out actions in this area.  As of December 8, 2000, date on which the Brigade was activated, two special operations have been developed in Southern Colombia:
  • Operation “Demoledor” From December 13 to 22, Anti-narcotics Battalion # 2 carried out the Interdiction Operation in the municipality of Solita in the Department of Caquetá on targets determined by the Southern Joint Task Force intelligence center. As a result, 5 laboratories were destroyed, and 680 gallons of chemicals and other substances were seized and destroyed.
  • Operation “Decameron” It started on December 18 with the participation of Battalions #1 and #3, with interdiction operations and security to the actions of eradication by aerial spraying carried out by the Colombian National Police in the zone of Valle del Guamuez, El Placer, San Antonio del Guamuez, El Tigre, San Antonio de Comboy, and La Dorada districts, in the department of Putumayo. The following results were achieved: destruction of two crystalizers, 23 laboratories, 5,911 kilos of coca leaves, 30.3 kilos of coca base, 120 gallons of miscellaneous chemicals, 322 kilos of caustic soda, 9,660 gallons of ACPM and gasoline. Four members of the security force of the drug trafficking groups that operate in the zone were killed.
  • Integrating coordination measures among the land units and the air units of both the National Police and the Army Aviation has enabled the Anti-narcotics Brigade to have better control in the areas affected by illicit crops, thus ensuring the possibility for the Aerial Spraying Eradication Program to fumigate more than 18,000 hectares (44.000 acres) in Valle del Guamuez without causing lamentable or irreparable damage to the aircraft and preserving the human talent of the Anti-narcotics Police Air Group.
  • Navy Riverine Brigade. The Colombian Navy uses its three components to combat drug trafficking:  the Naval component, the Coast Guard and the Marine Infantry.  In August 1999, the Riverine Brigade was activated and the Navy has since considerably strengthened the control over the main navigable rivers.  The Navy seized more cocaine than any other force in 2000.   It seized an astounding 50 tons, an increase of 524% over 1999, when 9,6 metric tons of cocaine were seized.     Sea and river operations throughout the year led to the destruction of 621,200 kilos of coca leaf, 1,401 kilos of coca base, 25,738 gallons of cocaine being processed, 17,338 kilos of solid inputs, 29,772.4 gallons of liquid inputs, and 118 processing laboratories.
  • Air Interdiction. During 1999, a greater presence of suspicious movement at night along the frontier zones of Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela was detected.  Given this situation, in the year 2000 reinforcement programs were carried out with the Colombian Air Force (FAC) for training the crews and teaching them to make better use of night visors.  The effectiveness of the FAC’s nighttime operations changed the trend in illegal movement and illegal flights were then mainly made during daytime hours, representing 67% as compared to the 33% recorded at night.
  •   Operation “Black Cat” in the province of Guainía, 3.000 men of the Army and Marine Corps entered the municipality of Baranco Minas, where they located 13.000 hectares (32.000 acres) of coca, seized $150.000. They captured more than 89 drug traffickers, among them Luis Fernando Da Costa, one of the most important Brazilian drug kingpins. A total of 28 laboratories for cocaine processing and 15 different installations that could house as many as 1.000 men were found. Five satellite communication devices, several speedboats, and 80 vehicles with Colombian and Brazilian license plates were also seized. The cocaine complex was owned and operated by the FARC.
  • The Anti-Narcotics Direction of the Colombian National Police on April 19, 2001 seized the largest shipment of illegal precursor chemicals in the country’s history. A total of 25 tons of potassium permanganate, a basic chemical used in the production of cocaine, was seized in “Operation Precursor III” in the port of Cartagena, Colombia. The potassium permanganate was hidden inside a shipment of tires and wheels coming from the Port of Veracruz in Mexico. The seizure was enough to produce more than 38 tons of cocaine to U.S. and international markets. On May 2, another operation by the Marine Infantry of the Navy lead to the seizure of 12.5 tons of chemical inputs in the San José del Guaviare region.  The chemicals were being transported by river into production facilities in the Department of Guaviare.  Two additional operations to seize illegal precursor chemicals took place in the municipality of Socha and in Bucaramanga, and these led to the seizures of seven tons of sulfuric acid, which is used to produce cocaine, and six tons of acetic anhydride, which is used in the production of heroine.
  • Operation “Piranha”, by the Colombian Marine Corps captured in the first 15 days of May a total of 15 drug laboratories and 31 tons of cocaine in Putumayo. It took place in the towns of Puerto Ospina, La Reforma, La Reformita, El Hacha, and El Remanso. It destroyed 4 encampments and five drug warehouse facilities.

Aerial Spraying

  • In 1997 there was no aerial spraying in Putumayo. In 1998, the National Police sprayed 2.082 acres of coca. In 1999, 9.441 acres of coca were sprayed. In 2000 (before December 19), a total of 32.301 acres were sprayed.
  • In December 19, 2000, the spraying operations under Plan Colombia began in Putumayo, in close cooperation between the National Police, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. In four months 38.146 hectares (94.260 acres) of coca were sprayed. Twice all that had been sprayed in 2000, and 100% of the goal for this year in Putumayo. Almost 60% of all the coca that was sprayed in Colombia in 2000, and more than half of the 75.000 hectares (185.000 acres) of coca in Putumayo.  An area 1.5 times the size of Washington DC.
  • So far, very few complains about spraying of legal crops where there was no coca, have been received. One of them relates to the Cofan Tribe, which has been already discussed (see 2. Alternative Development). Another was a group of peasants from San Miguel, Putumayo, which will also sign an eradication pact with the Government. The Colombian authorities have dealt with both cases, and the damaged crops will be restored. A mechanism to deal with such claims has been set-up, through the Environmental Oversight of the National Narcotics Directorate (DNE).
  • With the eradication of these 38.146 hectares (94.260 acres), 2.377 million doses of cocaine never reached US of European streets. And in doing so, 67.000 gallons of glyphosate were used. With this, an environmental catastrophe was prevented, because the cocaine industry in 94.000 acres pours 7.8 million gallons of pesticides every year, into the fragile ecosystem of the rainforest. That includes more than 75.000 gallons of glyphosate (only 19% of the glyphosate used in Colombia is for illegal crop eradication, the other 81% is used in legal and illegal agriculture) and 1.2 million gallons of paraquat, a far nastier and less environmentally friendly herbicide.
  • But that is not all. Drug traffickers, in those same 94.000 acres of coca, would have poured 5.6 million gallons of precursor chemicals (gasoline, sulfuric acid, ether, acetone, cement, etc) into the rivers and streams and the forests of Putumayo. In total, more than 12.5 million gallons of toxic substances were poured every year by those 56.000 acres that were eradicated. That equals to two and a half times the worst environmental disaster in history, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Yet with substances that are far more toxic and dangerous than oil.
  • The first effects of the spraying in the local drug economy are now evident. The price of coca has doubled, reaching $ 1.500 per kilo since the spraying operations began.
  • The spraying of illegal crops in Putumayo has been concentrated in areas like Valle del Guamuez. Until now, only 8 aircraft have been impacted during the spraying operations, no serious injuries or deaths have occurred. Beyond the spraying in Putumayo, other spraying operations have taken place in Caquetá and Southern Bolívar.
  • If the 49.000 acres of coca that should be voluntarily eradicated through the signing of the alternative development pacts become a reality, and we add to that at least 86,000 acres of coca that so far have been eradicated (the US Embassy in Bogota estimates that 90% of the coca sprayed is actually destroyed), the end result is the elimination of more than half of all the coca (estimated in 185.000 acres) in Putumayo.

Strategic Communications

  • In order to make sure that the benefits of Plan Colombia will reach the greatest possible number of people, a massive communications strategy has been designed to accomplish that goal. Through the Communications Office of Plan Colombia at the Presidency, a group of 8 journalists is at present distributing information through both national and international media. Press releases, interviews with high level officials, the daily updating the web-site, the coordination of visits and trips to the areas where Plan Colombia is being implemented, press conferences and direct contact with journalists are performed every day.
  • The web page, wwwherramientasparalapaz@presidencia.gov.co, was designed as a virtual office, containing all the information a person might need to fully understand the work of the most important presidential initiative.
  • A weekly television program aimed at broadcasting the programs and activities that are taking place under Plan Colombia is being designed. A special series on manual eradication programs in Putumayo will be developed. The government expect to reach the highest number of TV channels, both at a national as well as local TV networks.
  • The publication of brochures, documents and briefing papers, the broadcasting of TV commercials that will focus on the FIP’s accomplishments, including all Government agencies that participate in its execution, the broadcast of radio commercials, with messages and information that will be useful to the population, including the programs offered by FIP, dates for particular inscriptions, the signing of voluntary eradication pacts, subsidies, etc. In Putumayo, the radio campaign will begin in June 2001 though the radio stations in that province. That includes an overall strategy aimed at the modification of cultural values and mental models in the population, to help steer them away from the drug industry and into a new Putumayo without coca.
  • Ads will be published in newspapers and magazines in different cities in the country, seminars, forums and training workshops will be organized. Banners, signs, and other visual media will also help distribute the relevant information of “Herramientas para la Paz”.

Justice Reform

  • In terms of Justice Reform, important funds are destined throughout the country, a total of $62.1 million. That includes $1 million for the construction of Casas de Justicia (Houses of Justice). In Putumayo, the Casa de Justicia at Mocoa has been constructed and was inagurated by President Pastrana on May 16, 2001.  A school for democracy will also operate there.. A second Casa de Justicia will be built in Puerto Asís. The other ones will be located in Barranquilla, Popayán, Pasto, Armenia, San Andrés, Quibdó, Leticia and Riohacha.  Most of it is funded by the US aid package.
  • Forensic science:  In order to finalize the projects in forensics, American experts traveled to Colombia in January 2001, and made several recommendations for the program’s future. The cost of the systems includes technical assistance and training. With the exception of AFIS, the projects will begin as soon as the funds are received. On June 3, a second American delegation will arrive with the purpose of evaluating advances in forensics. The preliminary implementation plan was determined as follows:
    • -     DNA Project: Cost US$ 750.000. Purchase and installation of 3 DNA analyzers.
    • -     IBIS Project (ballistics): Cost US$3’000. 000. Purchase and installation of 5 IBIS units.
    • -     AFIS System (fingerprint identification): Determine and evaluate technical specification that the Prosecutor’s Office, the Police and the Registration Office use in order to study options for a shared AFIS system. At this point the different evaluation have shown the difficulty in making the previous systems compatible. 
  • Human Rights Units and Training: In November 2000, the first training of two Support Units took place in Cali, one in Neiva and one in Villavicencio. During the first semester personnel training that will eventually form the remaining 7 Support Units will take place. The equipment for such Units will be obtained when the funds are received.
  • Training, and Study of Penal Code Reform Program: This program will be implemented in coordination with AID (US$500.000) and the Justice Department (US$1’000. 000). The Department of Justice will invest funds in the organization of different forums directed to the different penal code operators in relation to the accusatory system. Three forums will be organized with the support of the Corporación Excelencia en la Justicia (Corporation for Justice Excellence – a private NGO) and in them a project to reform the Prosecutor’s Office will be debated.
  • Specialized Training for Prosecutors and Investigators Program:  The Prosecutor’s Office already has programmed the schedule for training of Specialized Units. This training will take place outside Colombia, and will focus on money laundering activities, human rights, asset forfeiture, etc.
  • Judicial Police Training Program: The Government of Colombia and the Prosecutor’s Office will hold a meeting of several institutions to determine the creation of a Judicial Police School, and the programming of several visits by FBI experts. Several evaluations made so far have determined that the National Police has a better infrastructure in order to set-up this school. Between May 7 and 10, a Colombian delegation made up of officials from the National Police, the DAS, the National Oversight Office, the Attorney General’s Office, National Planning Department, Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the President will visit the installations of FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center).
  • Anti-kidnapping Strategy Program. During the week of 12 to the 16 of February, a visit by experts of the FBI took place, in relation to the kidnapping situation in Colombia. They met with officials from the Prosecutor’s Office, and representatives from the GAULA (anti-kidnapping task forces) of the Police and the Army. Nonetheless, no specific agreements have been signed.
  • Witness and Judicial Security Program: First Trimester: The Federal Marshals will dedicate two of their officers to deal with Plan Colombia. A visit will take place in order to evaluate and measure judicial security and tribunal problems. The training program would begin to be designed, as well as the training and equipment procurement. Second Trimester: A visit that will seek to evaluate the training installations available in Bogota. A trip of several Colombians to the United States will take place, for them to learn about the techniques and security procedures used by the Marshals in handling witnesses. Third Trimester: Hiring of a consultant that will deal with the construction of headquarters, which will travel to Colombia to evaluate the terrain. Special measures for the purchasing bulletproof automobiles will be taken. Fourth Trimester: Several training workshops will take place in Bogota focusing on protection operations, including physical security issues, counter-terrorist tactics, etc. The Federal Marshals will request authorization to temporarily assign one person at the US Embassy in Bogota, that will be in charge of coordinating all aspects related to Plan Colombia.
  • Judicial Security Program: The Federal Marshals will give training to the Police, DAS agents in charge of the protection of Judicial Officials. To deal with information security, a technology expert will be hired. In their Building Security Report, they recommended to move the headquarters of the Asset Forfeiture Office of the Prosecutor General’s Office, into its main headquarters, due to the fact that present installations are extremely vulnerable to bomb attacks and do not offer minimum security conditions for Prosecutors.
  • Strengthening of Prosecutor’s Office Units: A special training schedule for Prosecutors, Judges and members of UIAF was established. The program was presented to the Prosecutor’s Office’s Training Division. During the weeks of February 12 to 16, a delegation of experts headed by Mr. Daniel Claman, a consultant to the Department of Justice in Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture visited Colombia. The delegation visited all the agencies that participate in preventing these criminal activities (Banking Superintendence, Customs and Tax Office, the Central Bank, UIAF, Prosecutor General’s Office, Superintendence of Notary and Specialized Judges in Bogota). A very thorough diagnosis of the situation was made.
  • Administration of Seized Assets: Two meetings have taken place. The first one was held in Bogota, from the 12 to the 14 of December 2000, where officers from DNE, Prosecutor’s Office, Justice Ministry and US Marshals experts on asset forfeiture and administration of seized assets were present. The seized asset administration system was thoroughly analyzed, and a full diagnosis was developed. The second meeting was held in Miami, between officials of the same entities, in which they revised the existent mechanisms.
  • Strengthening of Financial Analysis Unit: Still awaiting the visit of FINCEN officials, in order to establish the way that the UIAF can use the Plan’s funds.
  • Black Market, Dollar Falsification, and Organized Financial Crime: The Secret Service is preparing a training program for these crimes.
  • Prison Security Program: A project to modify the Agreement between the US Embassy and the Justice Ministry to include the funds for this area into the Agreement is being negotiated.
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