Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Plan Columbia Essay Example for Free
Plan Columbia Essay The term Plan Colombia is most often used to refer to U.S. legislation aimed at curbing drug smuggling and combating aleft-wing insurgency by supporting different activities in Colombia. Plan Colombia can also refer to a wider aid initiative originally proposed by Colombian President AndrÃ ©s Pastrana Arango, which included U.S. military/counter-narcotics aid, but was not limited to it. The plan was conceived between 1998 and 1999 by the administration of Pastrana with the goals of ending the Colombian armed conflict and creating an anti-cocainestrategy. Critics of the initiative also claimed that elements within the Colombian security forces, which received aid and training from the U.S., were involved in supporting or tolerating abuses by right-wing paramilitary forces against left-wing guerrilla organizations and their sympathizers. Another controversial element of the anti-narcotic strategy is aerial fumigation toeradicate coca. This activity has come under fire because it damages legal crops and has adverse health effects upon those exposed to the herbicides. Original Plan Colombia The original version of Plan Colombia was officially unveiled by President Andres Pastrana in 1999. Pastrana had first proposed the idea of a possible Marshall Plan for Colombia during a speech at BogotÃ ¡s Tequendama Hotel on June 8, 1998, nearly a week after the first round of that years presidential elections. Pastrana argued that: [Drug crops are] a social problem whose solution must pass through the solution to the armed conflictDeveloped countries should help us to implement some sort of Marshall Plan for Colombia, which will allow us to develop great investments in the social field, in order to offer our peasants different alternatives to the illicit crops. After Pastrana was inaugurated, one of the names given to the initiative at this early stage was Plan for Colombias Peace, which President Pastrana defined as a set of alternative development projects which will channel the shared efforts of multilateral organizations and [foreign] governments towards Colombian society. Pastranas Plan Colombia, as originally presented, did not focus on drug trafficking, military aid, or fumigation, but instead emphasized the manual eradication of drug crops as a better alternative. According to author Doug Stokes, one of the earlier versions of the plan called for an estimated 55 per cent military aid and 45 percent developmental aid. During an August 3, 1998 meeting, President Pastrana and U.S. President Bill Clinton discussed the possibility of securing an increase in U.S. aid for counternarcotics projects, sustainable economic development, the protection of human rights, humanitarian aid, stimulating private investment, and joining other donors and international financial institutions to promote Colombias economic growth. Diplomatic contacts regarding this subject continued during the rest of the year and into 1999. For President Pastrana, it became necessary to create an official document that specifically served to convene important U.S. aid, as well as that of other countries and international organizations by adequately addressing US concerns. The Colombian government also considered that it had to patch up a bilateral relationship that had heavily deteriorated during the previous administration of President Ernesto Samper (1994Ã¢â¬â1998). According to Pastrana, Under Secretary of State Thomas R. Pickering eventually suggested that, initially, the U.S. could be able to commit to providing aid over a three year period, as opposed to continuing with separate yearly packages. As a result of these contacts, US input was extensive, and meant that Plan Colombias first formal draft was originally written in English, not Spanish, and a Spanish version was not available until months after a revised English version was already in place. Critics and observers have referred to the differences between the earliest versions of Plan Colombia and later drafts. Originally, the focus was on achieving peace and ending violence, within the context of the ongoing peace talks that Pastranas government was then holding with the FARC guerrillas, following the principle that the countrys violence had deep roots in the economic exclusion andinequality and poverty. The final version of Plan Colombia was seen as considerably different, since its main focuses would deal with drug trafficking and strengthening the military. When this final version was debated on the U.S. Senate floor, Joseph Biden spoke as a leading advocate of the more hardline strategy. Ambassador Robert White stated: If you read the original Plan Colombia, not the one that was written in Washington but the original Plan Colombia, theres no mention of military drives against the FARC rebels. Quite the contrary. (President Pastrana) says the FARC is part of the history of Colombia and a historical phenomenon, he says, and they must be treated as Colombians[Colombians] come and ask for bread and you (America) give them stones. In the final U.S. aid package, 78.12 percent of the funds for 2000 went to the Colombian military and police for counternarcotics and military operations. (See graph, below) President Pastrana admitted that most of the resulting US aid to Colombia was overwhelmingly focused on the military and on counternarcotics (68%), but argued that this was only some 17% of the total amount of estimated Plan Colombia aid. The rest, focusing mostly on social development, would be provided by international organizations, Europe, Japan, Canada, Latin America, and Colombia itself. In light of this, Pastrana considered that the Plan had been unfairly labeled as militarist by national and international critics that focused only on the US contribution.