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White House summary document, January 11, 2000

January 11, 2000


Colombia and its democratically elected government are facing an urgent crisis that has narcotics, military and economic dimensions. Colombia is the source or transit zone of about 80 percent of the cocaine used in the United States. The cultivation of coca in Colombia has doubled from 50,000 hectares (about 123,500 acres) in 1995 to 100,000 hectares (about 247,000 acres) in 1998. The cultivation of heroin poppies has expanded from almost nothing to over 6,000 hectares (nearly 15,000 acres), producing enough high purity heroin to meet over half of U.S. demand. It is in the interest of both the United States and Colombia to curb the Colombian narcotics trade and bring increased peace and stability to the Andean region. 

Colombia's drug trade and civil conflict are increasingly intertwined. Marxist rebels and the right-wing paramilitaries finance their activities with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual narco-profits. Due to heavy insurgent and paramilitary presence, Colombia's security forces are not capable of conducting effective counter-drug operations in the major growing regions in the southern part of Colombia, which are the source of two-thirds of Colombia's coca cultivation. This region, particularly the departments of Putumayo and Caqueta, is isolated geographically and dominated by the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym of FARC. The FARC, together with right-wing paramilitary groups, has contributed to the erosion of democratic institutions in Colombia through kidnapping, murder, and other violence. Due to this violence, there are now more displaced people in Colombia than there were in the southern Balkans as a result of Serbian aggression in Kosovo.

Meanwhile, the Colombian economy is undergoing its first recession in 25 years, and the deepest recession of the last 70 years. Real gross domestic product is estimated to have fallen by 3.5 percent last year. As a result, unemployment has rocketed from under 9 percent in 1995 to about 20 percent in 1999, adding to the pool of unemployed workers who can be drawn into the narcotics trade or into insurgent or paramilitary groups. The deep recession has also sapped the Colombian government of resources to respond to its 30-year internal conflict, fight the narcotics trade, or address societal and political pressures.

Colombian President Andres Pastrana, who took office in August 1998, is doing what he can to deal with these interlocking problems. He launched peace negotiations with the FARC. He has arrested scores of drug kingpins and courageously resumed the sanction of extradition to the US. He has placed his personal prestige behind the decision made by Colombia's military leadership to improve the military's human rights performance, end collusion with right-wing violence, and punish those who violate these new policies.

Most importantly, this past summer, President Pastrana unveiled Plan Colombia, a comprehensive, integrated response to Colombia's economic and societal problems, the internal conflict, and the narcotics business that fuels it. The program will cost $7.5 billion to implement, and President Pastrana is seeking $3.5 billion dollars in foreign assistance. The plan has four strategic elements:

  1. Greatly boost counter-drug efforts;
  2. Strengthen the capacity of Colombia's national and local governments;
  3. Boost economic recovery; and
  4. Assist the peace process.

The United States and other nations must join together to help President Pastrana implement Plan Colombia. To that end, the Administration will propose a comprehensive, multi-year program totaling nearly $1.6 billion over the next two years. The bulk of this package will be proposed as an emergency FY 2000 supplemental of $954 million. The remainder is included in current programs or will be proposed in the Administration's FY2001 Budget, which will be released on February 7th.

The United States has sought to ensure that others assist Colombia in addressing its problems. With our strong support, the IMF has approved a $2.7 billion dollar program for Colombia. In addition, we are supporting the Government of Colombia's request for more than $3 billion in loans from the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. We have also initiated efforts to build support among potential bilateral donors in Europe and Asia. 

The proposed United States' contribution has five components:

  • Push into Southern Colombia Coca Growing Areas: The world's greatest expansion in narcotics cultivation is occurring in insurgent-dominated southern Colombia. With this package, the Administration proposes to fund $600 million over the next two years to help train and equip two additional special counter-narcotics battalions (CNBN) which will move into southern Colombia to support the Colombian National Police (CNP) as they carry out their counter-drug mission. The package will provide 30 Blackhawk helicopters and 33 Huey helicopters to make the CNBNs air mobile so they can access this remote and undeveloped region of Colombia. It will also provide intelligence for the Colombian CNBNs and assistance to provide shelter and employment to the Colombian people who will be displaced during this push into southern Colombia.
  • More Aggressive Andean Region Interdiction: Coca and cocaine are produced in a relatively small area of Colombia, while the Central American/Caribbean/Eastern Pacific transit zone is approximately the size of the United States. Enhancing Colombia's ability to interdict air, water-borne and road trafficking attacks the narrow end of this funnel and is essential to decreasing the price paid to farmers for coca leaf and to decreasing the northward flow of drugs. The program includes funding over the next two years for radar upgrades to track suspect targets, airplane and airfield upgrades to give Colombia a greater ability to intercept traffickers, and also to provide intelligence to allow the Colombian police and military to respond quickly to narcotics activity. It will support the United States forward operating location in Manta, Ecuador, which will be used for narcotics related detection and monitoring missions in the drug trafficking zones. Additionally, these funds will provide assistance to enhance interdiction efforts in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador to prevent narco traffickers and growers from moving into neighboring countries.
  • Colombian National Police (CNP): The Administration proposes additional funding of $96 million over the next two years to enhance the CNP's ability to eradicate coca and poppy fields. This will upgrade existing aircraft, purchase additional spray aircraft, provide secure bases for increased operations in the coca-growing center, and provide more intelligence on the narcotics traffickers. The CNP ability to eradicate cultivation deep in FARC territory and at high altitudes has been hindered by weak security and inadequate equipment. This funding, in conjunction with the establishment of the CNBNs, will enable the CNP to conduct operations in narcotics-growing areas previously beyond their reach.
  • Alternative Economic Development: The administration includes new funding of $145 million over the next two years to provide economic alternatives for Colombian farmers who now grow coca and poppy, and to increase local governments' ability to respond to the needs of their people. As interdiction and eradication make narcotics farming less profitable and appealing, these programs will assist communities in the transition to licit economic activity.
  • Boosting Governing Capacity: The Administration proposed funding $93 million over the next two years to fund a number of programs administered by the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Departments of State and Justice to increase protection of human rights, reform the Colombian judicial system, increase the rule of law, and enhance Colombian authorities' ability to crack down on money laundering and other high tech crimes. The program would also fund training Colombians in banking and customs supervision to assist in tracking electronic flows of illegal money across Colombian borders, and training Colombian government representatives to prepare them for negotiations with combatants in the internal conflict.

Building on current funding of about $150 million in each of FY2000 and FY2001, this proposal includes an additional $818 million funded through international affairs programs (function 150) and $137 million through defense programs (function 050) in FY 2000, and $257 million funded through function 150 and $62 million through function 050 in FY 2001. It consists of programs that will be administered by the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Treasury, as well as AID, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In summary, this package is intended to respond in a balanced manner to Colombia's societal, economic, governmental, and narcotics problems while advancing U.S. interests. It provides necessary equipment to the Colombian Government to meet the urgent need to re-assert sovereignty over Colombian territory. It requires the Colombian Government to ensure that these resources are used only by units that meet stringent human rights criteria. It enhances the ability of the Colombian Government to eradicate narcotics, while simultaneously improving the ability of the Government to administer justice fairly. It provides resources to support developmental initiatives.

The Administration looks forward to working closely with Congress to develop a package that will provide the necessary funding to help Colombia confront its current problems, while stemming the tide of drugs coming into the United States. The attached charts describe the plan in summary.

Total 150 050 FY00 150 050 FY01 150 050
Push into Southern Colombia 599 549 51 512 482 30 88 67 21
State Department 518 470 48
Defense Department 51 30 21
USAID 31 12 19
Drug Trafficking Interdiction 341 192 148 238 131 107 102 61 41
State Department 122 61 61
Defense Department 147 106 41
Treasury Department 2 2 0
Customs 68 68 0
ONDCP 1 1 0
Colombian Nat'l Police Support 95 95 0 68 68 0 28 28 0
State Department 89 0 65 24
DEA 7 0 3 4
Economic Development 145 145 0 92 92 0 53 53 0
USAID 145 92 53
Boost Governing Capacity 88 88 0 42 42 0 46 46 0
USAID 39 22 17
Justice Department 50 21 29
Econ/Peace Assistance 5 5 0 3 3 0 2 2 0
State Department 1 1 0
USAID 4 2 2
1,273 1,073 199 954 818 137 318 256 62
Current Support Programs (Est.) 300 150 150
Total 1,573 1,104 468
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