December 3, 2002


A Report to Congress on United States Policy Towards Colombia and Other

Related Issues


Submitted to the Congress by the Secretary of State, in consultation with

the Secretary of Defense, pursuant to House Conference Report 107-593

accompanying HR 4775 enacted as the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act

P.L. 107-206


Prepared by the U.S. Department of State


United States Policy Towards Colombia and Other Related Issues



House Conference Report 107-593 accompanying HR 4775, subsequently enacted

as the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act For Further Recovery From and

Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States(P.L. 107-206), on pages

152-153, expressed the Managers’ concern that “the Administration has

inadequately articulated clear objectives of U.S. policy in Colombia, what

actions would be required, and what it would cost to achieve those



The Managers therefore directed that the Secretary of State, in consultation

with the Secretary of Defense, submit a report describing in detail:


the President’s policy towards Colombia, the objectives of that policy, and

the actions required by and the expected financial costs to the United

State, Colombia, and any other country or entity to achieve those

objectives; and the expected time schedule for achieving those objectives;

specific benchmarks for measuring progress toward achieving the objectives

of the President’s policy;

the expected reduction, if any, in the amount of cocaine and heroin entering

the United States as a result of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative within

the expected time schedule; and

the mission and objectives of United States Armed Forces personnel and

civilian contractors employed by the United States in connection with such

assistance, and the threats to their safety in Colombia.

Administration representatives from the Department of State, the Department

of Defense, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the U.S. Agency for

International Development, and others, have testified before Congress and

met with many Senators, Representatives and staff on these questions.


President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, during his visit to the United States in

September 2002, also met with Senators and Representatives and provided his

views on developments in Colombia and plans for his government. The

Department of State has also provided a separate report to Congress,

pursuant to Section 601(b) of the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act, on

President Uribe’s determination to take a number of specific actions, many

of which are already underway.


Congress has been a key partner in our efforts to help Colombia and this

report offers an opportunity to address more fully Congress’ concerns.






The President’s policy towards Colombia, the objectives of that policy, and

the actions required by and the expected financial costs to the United

States, Colombia, and any other country or entity to achieve those

objectives; and the expected time schedule for achieving those objectives






United States Policy Towards Colombia


U.S. policy towards Colombia supports the Colombian Government’s efforts to

strengthen its democratic institutions, promote respect for human rights and

the rule of law, intensify counter-narcotics efforts, foster socio-economic

development, address immediate humanitarian needs, and end the threats to

democracy posed by narcotics trafficking and terrorism.


This policy reflects the continuing bipartisan support received from the

Congress for our programs in Colombia.


Before addressing U.S. policy objectives in more detail, it would be useful

to describe Colombia’s importance to the United States, the challenges it

faces and its response to those challenges.


Why Colombia Matters...


At the 2001 Quebec Summit of the Americas, President Bush and the 33 other

freely elected leaders of this hemisphere forged a common vision of

democratic governance and free trade. There exists a remarkable hemispheric

consensus in favor of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and economic

progress through market economies and free trade.


Despite this broad consensus, democratic institutions face a wide variety of

challenges throughout the hemisphere, and nowhere are these more serious

than in Colombia, where the government, civil society and people are under

attack by illegal armed groups of narcotics traffickers and terrorists, who

are often one and the same, and whose methods include murder, kidnapping,

extortion, and bombing.


In addition to our support for a democratic government under assault, and

one with which we have strong and longstanding ties, Colombia is important

to the United States for a number of other reasons:


Colombia is responsible for some 75% of the world’s cocaine production and

90% of the cocaine entering the United States is produced in Colombia or

passes through Colombia. It is also a significant source of heroin. There

were 50,000 drug-related deaths in the United States in 2000; the United

States suffered $160 billion in economic losses in the same year due to

illicit drug use.

Terrorism in Colombia both supports and draws resources from the narcotics

industry, kidnapping and extortion, threatening U.S. citizens and economic

interests. Colombia’s terrorist groups have kidnapped 51 American citizens

since 1992, and killed 10.

Terrorist attacks resulted in over 3,000 Colombians killed in 2001. Another

2,856 were kidnapped, with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of

Colombia), the ELN (National Liberation Army) and the AUC (United

Self-Defense Forces of Colombia), responsible for almost 2,000 of these.

Among the kidnap victims were 289 children, the youngest of whom was only

three years old.

Beyond drug trafficking, terrorism, illegal arms smuggling, and other

criminal activities, there are broad and important U.S. national interests

in Colombia that include stability in the Andean region, trade, immigration,

human rights, humanitarian assistance, and protection of the environment.


Colombia has four times the land area of California and a population of over

40 million people. Its gross domestic product is more than $90 billion a


Two-way trade between the United States and Colombia was Over $11 billion in

2001, with direct U.S. investment of more than $4 billion.

Colombia has important reserves of petroleum, natural gas and coal.

An estimated 50,000 U.S. citizens live in Colombia.

Colombia’s unique eco-system and environment are increasingly threatened by

cultivation of illicit drugs, whether it is the slash and burn cutting of

tropical forest reserves or the toxic chemicals poured by narcotics

processing into streams and rivers.

the Challenges it Faces...


Colombia’s problems are complex and do not lend themselves to any easy or

rapid solution. The country’s present-day troubles reflect numerous,

deeply-rooted problems including limited or non-existent government presence

and law enforcement capability in large areas of the interior, the dramatic

expansion of illicit drug cultivation contributing to endemic violence, and

deep social and economic inequities.


Yet, it is the growing threat posed by the country’s three designated

terrorist organizations, the AUC, ELN, and FARC, and fueled by narcotics

trafficking, extortion and kidnapping, that today most directly affects

Colombia’s ability to resolve its people’s economic and social needs.


The ongoing terrorist offensive against democratic institutions and civil

society has had tragic costs within Colombia. Each year the AUC, ELN and

FARC kill more than 3,000 persons. Their victims have included judges and

prosecutors, journalists, labor union leaders and human rights workers,

soldiers, police, and ordinary citizens. Even clerics and Red Cross workers

not been exempt from the violence. Before his election, the FARC attempted

to assassinate then-candidate Alvaro Uribe on several occasions and it

mounted an attack at his inauguration. The FARC still holds kidnapped

then-Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, whose present whereabouts are



&ldots;and Colombia’s Response


Nevertheless, Colombia is far from being a “failed state.” Its vigorous

democracy is addressing the country’s many problems. The Colombian people,

through their elected leaders, are working to reform the nation’s political

and legal systems, promote socio-economic development, protect human rights,

provide help to displaced persons, enlarge and professionalize the security

forces and combat narcoterrorism.


In 1999, then-President Andres Pastrana took the initiative in responding to

the crisis undermining Colombia’s democratic system, prosperity and security

by developing a long-term program which he called “Plan Colombia.” It was a

comprehensive strategy to deal with the country’s longstanding, mutually

reinforcing problems and called for: substantial social investment;

judicial, political and economic reforms; renewed efforts to combat

narcotics trafficking; and included some important first steps towards

modernizing Colombia’s Armed Forces.


The United States strongly supported Plan Colombia’s objectives of combating

the narcotics industry, promoting peace, reviving the economy, improving

respect for human rights and strengthening the democratic and social

institutions of the country with a $1.3 billion assistance package enacted

in July 2000.


The impressive first round electoral victory, on May 26, 2002, by Alvaro

Uribe confirmed the Colombian public’s apparent recognition that greater

domestic sacrifices would be needed to end the violence and its readiness to

support a more vigorous and unified campaign against terrorism and narcotics



After assuming office on August 7, 2002, President Uribe appointed a cabinet

distinguished by its expertise and emphasis on results, and took a number of

immediate steps.


Soon after his inauguration, in accordance with Colombian law, President

Uribe decreed a “State of Internal Disturbance” under which the government

then imposed a one-time tax on the wealthiest segment of Colombians. This

tax is expected to yield the equivalent of 1.2 percent of gross domestic

product (GD?), between $800 million and $1 billion, to be dedicated

exclusively to security.


President Uribe’s 2003 budget also calls for increased government defense

expenditures which would increase military and police spending from 3.5%

this year to a goal of 5.8% of GD? in 2003. The United States and Colombia

recognize more will need to be done, but these are decisive first steps.


Additionally, the Uribe Administration has introduced an extensive, longer

term tax and pension reform package, which has been submitted to the

Colombian Congress, and is moving to cut bureaucratic overhead by seeking

congressional and public approval in a referendum to reduce government

operating costs.


Still, Colombia will continue to need substantial U.S. help and support if

it is to succeed in defending its democracy and the rule of law from

narcotraffickers and terrorists, improve respect for human rights and

promote economic and social development. On September 19, 2002, President

Uribe wrote President Bush and, consistent with section 601(b) (1) of the

2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act, stated that his government will:


establish comprehensive policies to eliminate the cultivation and

manufacturing of and trafficking in illicit drugs (especially in terms of

providing economic opportunities offering financially viable and sustainable

alternatives to illicit cultivation) and to strengthen the presence of the

Colombian State and to ensure the primacy of the rule of law and respect for

human rights throughout Colombian territory, especially in areas under the

influence of guerrilla and illegal self-defense groups;

adopt major reforms with respect to the budget and personnel of the

Colombian military forces; and

furnish significant additional financial and other resources to implement

those policies and reforms, (especially in order to meet its earlier

commitments with regard to previously earmarked Plan Colombia assistance)

President Uribe also stressed the priority his government assigns to

complementing its security efforts with sustainable rural development

programs, based on a comprehensive approach to regional social and economic

development and to security. In writing to President Bush, he added that

these programs would be focused on regions of strategic importance to the

country, with special consideration given to vulnerable segments of the

population, such as indigenous peoples, victims of violence and displaced



The Government of Colombia, under President Uribe’s instructions, is

completing a broad national security strategy which includes those elements

described above as well as others needed to undertake a comprehensive

campaign to counter the actions of armed groups engaged in illegal

activities such as terrorism and drug production and trafficking that have

plagued Colombia for years. The strategy includes commitments to respect

human rights, dedicate more resources to the Colombian Armed Forces, and

reform the conscription laws to make military service universal and fairer.

These initiatives will build on the restructuring of the Armed Forces begun

during the administration of President Pastrana (1998-2002).


President Uribe stressed that Colombia is undertaking these commitments to

ensure the effectiveness of joint efforts with the United States Government

to achieve our common goals in combating narcotics trafficking and



During his visit to Washington in late September 2002, President Uribe met

with President Bush and members of the Cabinet as well as Senators and

Representatives and the majority and minority leadership. The Administration

conveyed to President Uribe its strong support for the policies he has



United States Policy Objectives

The United States shares Colombia’s vision of a prosperous democracy, free

from the scourges of narcotics and terrorism, which respects human rights

and the rule of law.


To help Colombia’s democracy achieve these aims, U.S. objectives include

programs that will:


Continue assistance to combat illicit drugs and terrorism, defend human

rights, promote economic, social and alternative development initiatives,

reform and strengthen the administration of justice, and assist the

internally displaced;

Enhance counterterrorism capability by providing advice, assistance,

training and equipment, and intelligence support to the Colombian Armed

Forces and the Colombian National Police through ongoing programs as well as

implementing the new authorities and the pipeline protection program; and

Promote economic growth and development through support for market-based

policies and implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

and the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) as well as the Andean Trade

Program and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).

Substantially reduce the production and trafficking of cocaine and heroin

from Colombia by strengthening counter-narcotics programs that: assist with

eradication of illegal coca and opium poppy; advise, train, and assist

counterdrug organizations and units; dismantle drug trafficking

organizations; disrupt the transportation of illegal drugs, precursor and

essential chemicals, trafficker supplies, and cash; •address major

cultivation regions; and respond rapidly to shifts in cultivation regions;

Increase institutional development, professionalization, and enlargement of

Colombian security forces to permit the exercise of governmental authority

throughout the national territory while ensuring respect for human rights;

The United States is committed to helping Colombia in its fight against

narcotics trafficking and terrorism through these assistance programs.

United States policy responds to Colombia’s social, economic, governmental,

narcotics and terrorism challenges in a balanced and comprehensive manner.


Our support reinforces, but does not substitute for, the broader efforts of

Colombian government and society, and is provided in accordance with

legislation that includes:


Title III, Chapter 2 of the Emergency Supplemental Act, 2000, enacted in the

Military Construction Appropriations Act, 2001, (P.L. 106-246);

Title II of the Kenneth M. Ludden Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and

Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2002, (P.L. 107-115); and

The 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act, (P.L. 107-206).

The 2003 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (P.L. 107-248)

To support U.S. policy, goals and objectives, the United States has

undertaken a wide variety of programs assisting Colombia. These provide

training, equipment, infrastructure development, funding, and expertise to

the Government of Colombia and Colombian civil society in areas that include

alternative development, interdiction, eradication, law enforcement,

institutional strengthening, judicial reform, human rights, humanitarian

assistance for displaced persons, local governance, anti-corruption,

conflict management and peace promotion, the rehabilitation of child

soldiers, and preservation of the environment.


In implementing these programs, the Administration and Congress increasingly

came to understand that the terrorist and narcotics problems in Colombia are

intertwined and must be dealt with as a whole. Working with Congress, the

Administration sought and Congress enacted new authorities in the 2002

Supplemental Appropriations Act that would help to more readily address the

combined threat and facilitate the use of FY 2002 funds available for

assistance to the Government of Colombia for supporting Colombia’s unified

campaign against narcotics trafficking and U.S.-designated terrorist

organizations. These provisions also apply to the unexpired balances and

assistance from prior years’ Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts for

Colombia and were renewed in the FY 2003 Department of Defense

Appropriations Act.


In practical terms, the training, equipment, intelligence support and other

U.S. programs described in this report will now be available to support

Colombia’s unified campaign against narcotics trafficking and designated

terrorist organizations. The new authorities will provide some additional

flexibility to help the Colombian government address narcotics trafficking

and terrorism more efficiently and more effectively.


In doing so, the United States will continue its human rights vetting of all

Colombian military units receiving U.S. assistance and will not exceed

present statutory limits of 400 U.S. military personnel and 400 U.S.

civilian contractors providing support to Plan Colombia.


U.S. Policy Achievements

In describing U.S. policy objectives it is also important to review the

accomplishments U.S. programs have had in support for Plan Colombia. U.S.

programs have provided Colombia with assistance to combat narcotrafficking,

strengthen democratic institutions, protect human rights, help internally

displaced persons, and foster socio-economic development. Although much

remains to be accomplished, U.S. assistance to “Plan Colombia” has resulted

in substantial progress to date, including:


Deployment of the Colombian Army’s First Counternarcotics Brigade (made

mobile and effective by the simultaneous provision of USG-funded

helicopters). This U.S.-trained brigade, arguably the best unit in the

Colombian Army, is highly motivated and professional, and has also not been

subject to any credible human rights abuse allegations. The brigade has

moved aggressively against drug labs and other illegal facilities working in

support of the Anti-Narcotics Directorate (DIRAN) of the Colombian National

Police, as well as moving independently against narcotics and associated

terrorist targets.

Delivery has been completed of the 65 helicopters made available to the

Colombian Army (54) and Colombian National Police (11) to support Plan

Colombia under the 2000 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L.


The DIRAN continues its excellent record against trafficking organizations

and drug processing labs, destroying some 84 HCL labs and over 1,000 base

labs, as well as seizing nearly 23,000 kilos of cocaine, in CY 2001 alone.

So far in 2002 the DIRAN has destroyed 51 HCL labs.

Eight AT-802 spray aircraft are being acquired with funds from the 2000

Emergency Supplemental Act (P.L. 106-246) , with 3 already in Colombia, 2

planned to arrive by the end of 2002, and 2 more by March 31, 2003. These

new spray aircraft and the 9 OV-10’s and 4 T-65’s already available, are

contributing to surpassing the record 94,000 hectares of coca crop sprayed

in 2001. Aerial spraying figures for 2002 are well ahead of this and have

already reached nearly 120,000 hectares. Voluntary eradication has accounted

for another 9,000 hectares of coca.

Recent reports from Putumayo Department indicates that the region’s coca

dependent economy has suffered a significant downturn. Business owners (a

good general barometer) in four towns in the heart of the coca cultivation

district complained that commerce was dying, and pointed to a major decrease

in bus traffic, low occupancy rates in hotels, supermarkets moving less

goods, fewer diners in restaurants, reductions in money transfers, and

increases in loan defaults. There is also a reported upswing in the number

of coca worker families leaving the area. While anecdotal, this information

indicates that the spray program does appear to be disrupting the coca


Nearly 2,300 hectares of opium poppy have been sprayed so far this year,

already more than in 2001, and the goal of 5,000 hectares should be reached.

USAID alternative development assistance has been refocused to make it more

effective; hectares of licit crops and livestock supported by this program

increased from about 4,500 in mid-2002 to nearly 12,000 by the end of

September. This quickened pace of implementation is expected to continue.

We have opened 20 “Casas de Justicia” (Justice Centers) to provide

cost-effective legal services to Colombians who have not previously enjoyed

access to the country’s judicial system.

>From May 2001 through October 2002, a USAID-funded program operated by

Colombia’s Ministry of the Interior has provided protection to 3,043 human

rights activists, journalists, and union leaders, ranging from “soft” such

as relocation assistance to “hard” with, for example, armored vehicles.

Working with non-governmental organizations and international agencies, U.S.

assistance has been provided to over 500,000 Colombians displaced by

violence since mid-2001.

Initial steps have been taken in a program to rehabilitate former child

soldiers. A USAID-funded center has been established to receive those

children captured by the army or who have deserted from the illegal armed

groups. Some 300 children have entered the reception center where they have

received treatment, education and shelter.

An Early Warning System (EWS), to help Colombia avert massacres and other

human rights abuses, is being expanded and has had some successes; during

the period June 2001 through September 2002, a total of 150 warnings were

issued through the EWS that identified threats to communities across

Colombia, especially in rural areas, and which resulted in 115 responses by

the military, police and/or relief agencies.

Our justice sector reform programs have provided assistance to the

Government of Colombia to: reform its judicial system and strengthen local

government capacity; implement a comprehensive program to investigate and

prosecute kidnapping and extortion offenses; develop and implement legal

reforms, improve the Prosecutor General’s ability to investigate and

prosecute criminal cases through the development of a well-trained cadre of

professional prosecutors; enhance maritime enforcement capabilities with

respect to international narcotics smuggling; and improve witness and

judicial protection programs.

There has been unprecedented cooperation in extraditing Colombians to the

United States on serious criminal charges; 29 Colombian nationals have been

extradited to the United States so far this year; Since November 1999 there

have been 64 Colombian nationals extradited here for trial.

We are also helping the Prosecutor General’s Office to establish dedicated

human rights units throughout the country to facilitate the investigation

and prosecution of human rights abuses. Eight of these units are now

operating. The Prosecutor’s Office is eager to expand the program to

additional regions in 2003.

The creation of over 140,000 new jobs between 1992-1999 is attributable to

the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) and Colombia expects to continue to

be a beneficiary with its recent promulgation by the President for inclusion

in the Andean Trade Program and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).

Human rights concerns continue to be a central element in U.S. policy. Our

human rights message is making a difference. Then-President Pastrana and now

President Uribe have worked to end collusion between the Colombian military

and the paramilitary AUC.


The Colombian military captured 590 paramilitaries and killed 92 in combat

during 2001. For the period January through September 2002, these figures

have increased with 828 paramilitaries captured and 154 killed.

Eight military personnel, including two colonels and a lieutenant colonel,

were charged in civilian courts with collaborating with paramilitaries or

with committing gross human rights violations in 2001.

The Uribe Administration has successfully sought the extradition from Spain

of a former Colombian cabinet minister charged with aiding and abetting

paramilitary groups in Colombia.

Then-President Pastrana made a determined effort to negotiate peace with the

FARC, a designated terrorist organization, which repeatedly demonstrated it

could not or would not negotiate in good faith. President Uribe has made

clear his intention to pursue a peace process on the GOC’s terms, which

include commitments by the AUC, ELN, or FARC.


The United States fully supports President Uribe’s stated conditions for

such a peace process. To the extent that our assistance helps Colombia

reinvigorate its economy, enhances its governing ability, encourages respect

for human rights and weakens narcotics trafficking and designated terrorist

organizations, it will also promote the broader search for a negotiated

settlement to the conflict.


Expected Financial Costs

The newly-elected Colombian Government has a strong popular mandate to deal

decisively with the country’s national crisis. Nevertheless, the complexity

of Colombia’s problems will require substantial financial support from the

United States and the international community.


The United States supports the Colombian Government’s plans to implement its

policy of providing “democratic security” by devoting increased government

resources to the security forces, developing a strategy aimed at

establishing the rule of law throughout its national territory, protecting

human rights, assisting its internally displaced persons, and waging an

aggressive and comprehensive campaign against illicit drugs.


To do so, since 2000, the United States has responded to that need and

provided Colombia with over $1.7 billion in economic, humanitarian and

security assistance to support “Plan Colombia.” The progress described

earlier in this report has been encouraging, but it needs to be sustained.


The FY 2003 Foreign Operations Appropriations request for the Department of

State seeks $439 million in International Narcotics Control and Law

Enforcement (INCLE) funds to sustain and reinforce our programs and $98

million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds to train and equip

Colombian military and police units to protect the important Cano Limon

pipeline, a major source of Colombian government export revenues. The $439

million INCLE request includes $275 million for the Colombian military and

police and $164 million for democracy programs, alternative development,

assistance to vulnerable groups, human rights protection and promotion of

the rule of law.


Of already appropriated funds for FY 2003, the Department of Defense

estimates that it may spend $102 million to support programs in Colombia.


The Department of State and the Department of Defense are preparing their

budget submissions for FY 2004, and expect to request substantial financial

resources to support the Uribe Administration’s courageous anti-narcotics

and anti-terror agenda.


The Government of Colombia developed Plan Colombia and, under the Pastrana

Administration, committed to spending $4.5 billion over five years on

programs for counterdrug efforts, institution building, and social and

economic development. The Government of Colombia’s contribution to “Plan

Colombia” is being used for counter-drug efforts and social and economic

development projects. The GOC is estimated to have spent $426.5 million to

date on social and institutional development and has spent or has plans to

spend an estimated $2.6 billion for infrastructure projects related to “Plan



With an estimated Colombian contribution of approximately $3 billion spent

or in the pipeline through 2002, the GOC appears to be largely on track to

fulfill its previously undertaken financial obligations under the plan.


In addition, President Uribe has committed to increase resources for

security forces as well as to wage a comprehensive counter-terrorism and

counter-narcotics campaign, which will include funding for programs to

defend human rights, promote economic, social and alternative development

initiatives, reform the administration of justice, and assist the internally

displaced. He has already taken serious steps to meet these commitments.


Minister of Defense Ramirez announced in mid-October that she has set a goal

for defense spending to reach 5.8% of GDP in 2003, up from 3.5% in 2002.

While the GOC awaits the full collection of the one-time tax, resources are

being diverted from other areas to fund increased security needs.

The wealth tax will be paid in four tranches. Since August, the GOC has

raised approximately $240 million through this tax, all of which will

augment the security budget. The GOC reports that it is receiving voluntary

contributions from individuals not subject to the tax (those with net assets

below $60,000).

The GOC also dedicated an additional $213 million by reducing other programs

to finance defense spending:

$183 million will go to MOD to build and improve security infrastructure and

purchase new equipment;

$22 million to acquire new equipment and make security improvements for the


$6 million for Interior/Justice Ministry to support activities related to

the security strategy;

$1.8 million for the Finance Ministry to support activities related to the

security strategy.

The GOC proposes to cut expenditures by 1.3% of GD? (approximately $1.15

billion) through a restructuring and downsizing of the State. The savings,

combined with a tax reform package, should give the GOC the additional

funding (an estimated $600 million) required to maintain an enhanced

security posture after 2005, when the money from the one­time wealth tax

will have been spent.

The tax reforms include raising value added taxes (VAT) on many items (20%

for luxury goods and cellular phones) as well as increasing the universe of

goods covered by the VAT.

The tax reform penalizes, for the first time, tax evasion, setting prison

terms of 4-8 years.

A limit on exemptions will be imposed.

The GOC has frozen salaries, cut travel budgets and limited phone use to

fund enhanced security measures.

The GOC is working with the IDB, World Bank, IMF, and Andean Development

Corporation (CAF) to obtain additional resources (approximately $1.5 billion

a year through 2006) aimed at strengthening the government’s presence

throughout the country, an integral part of the President’s proposed

strategy to restore government authority throughout the country.

The Uribe Administration’s National Security Strategy (NSS), expected to be

released shortly, calls for guaranteeing the security of all Colombians

committed to the rule of law. The NSS incorporates the essential elements of

Plan Colombia: it seeks to force the cultivators of illicit crops out of

business while at the same time developing alternative economic

opportunities and employment. The GOC will create incentives for the hiring

by the private sector of those who leave the cultivation of illicit crops

and abandon the ranks of the illegal armed forces.


The GOC intends to use the additional taxes collected as well as new IFI

resources to fund both Plan Colombia efforts and related follow-on programs

to bring basic services to communities throughout Colombia. It has taken

specific steps to strengthen Plan Colombia’s implementation.


The Uribe Administration has created a cabinet-level Plan Colombia

Coordinator who has clarified the roles of other implementing entities and

the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment now have important alternative

development responsibilities.

It has also reorganized the relief and social rehabilitation organization,

the “Red de Solidaridad” (Solidarity Network), to concentrate on the

emergency phase of the Internally Displaced Program (IDP), e.g., the first

90 days, and has developed a return/re-establishment initiative for an

initial thirty thousand ID? families. These families would be encouraged to

return to the areas from which they fled. The GOC will provide security,

housing and productive projects in these declared “safe areas.” The first

“safe area” has been declared in northern Antioquia.

The GOC has tried to make asset forfeiture an easier, more streamlined

process. It has passed a law allowing only four months for individuals to

contest the confiscation of narcotics financed property. As a result,

properties in question for years, including lands owned by Pablo Escobar and

his family, are now being seized.

Currently, there are 350,000 hectares of narcotics-tainted land being

contested in the courts. Although it is not yet known what percentage of

this land could ultimately be turned over to displaced persons and ex-coca

and poppy growers, this would help solve the land problem and punish drug


The primary responsibility for human rights programs is in the Vice

President’s office, which will oversee additional resources aimed at

protecting those currently in increased danger, such as city mayors and

labor leaders.


Vice President Santos is also leading a campaign to increase transparency in

the government and plans to expand this “culture against corruption” to the

private sector. One of his initiatives is a fiscal responsibility law

currently before the Congress that stiffens penalties for malfeasance and

also makes it easier to dismiss corrupt employees.


The United States is not alone in providing needed assistance to Colombia.


There is international consensus that Colombia’s democracy deserves help.

Individual European nations, the European Union, Canada, Japan and the

United Nations have pledged up to $600 million to Colombian development

programs. Unfortunately, disbursements of these resources has been slower

than hoped, due to bureaucratic, programmatic, and security issues. The

United States will work with these like-minded nations and international

entities to ensure that their commitments are fulfilled.

International Financial Institutions (IFI’s) including the IMF, World Bank,

Andean Development Corporation (CAF), and Inter-American Development Bank

(IDB) are all active in Colombia and the Uribe government is seeking to

extend or expand current programs. The World Bank, CAF, and IDB already

provide hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to support social,

humanitarian and infrastructure development, as well as economic

revitalization. The IMF has signed a letter of intent renewing Colombia’s

Extended Fund Facility.

Time Schedule

As Colombia’s deep-seated internal conflict dates back almost 40 years, it

would be misleading to attempt to provide an expected time schedule for full

achievement of United States objectives in the country.


In other regions of the world such as Angola, Central America, South Africa

and Eastern Europe, the United States has shown that with sustained

engagement, accompanied by political will and courage, we have been able to

respond successfully to entrenched conflicts.


Full realization of U.S. policy goals will require a concerted Colombian

strategy and effort -- backed by sustained U.S. assistance over a period of

years -- to establish control over its national territory, eliminate

narcotics cultivation and distribution, end terrorism, and promote human

rights and the rule of law.






Specific benchmarks for measuring progress toward achieving the objectives

of the President’s policy






As described earlier, U.S. policy is to help Colombia become a prosperous

democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law, and is free from

narcotics trafficking and terrorism. In broad terms, the success of our

programs will be measured by improvements in all areas of Colombian life and

reduction in illegal drug cultivation and terrorism.


Benchmarks for measuring progress on the achievement of these policy goals

would include:


-- Development and implementation by the Government of Colombia (GOC) of a

comprehensive National Security Strategy, outlining its plans to

progressively establish democratic state authority throughout the country.


-- Preparation by the United States, upon publication of the Colombian

Government’s National Security Strategy of an interagency political/military

plan for U.S. support to the GOC National Security Strategy that will

contain additional details and more specific benchmarks.


-- Substantially reduced coca and opium poppy cultivation and production,

and corresponding reductions in the financial benefits such cultivation

provides the terrorist groups.


-- Sustainment of current enhanced levels of aerial eradication of coca and

opium poppy.


-- Expansion of alternative development programs in areas northwest of

Putumayo Department to enhance economic development and increase licit

employment and income opportunities.


-- Significant increases in the financial and manpower resources the GOC

devotes to its security forces. Possible goals would include a schedule for

substantially increasing the size of the Colombia National Police and the

Armed Forces, and raising security spending from its current 3.5% of GDP to

at least 5% of GDP.


-- Continued modernization and expansion of Colombian Armed Forces and

National Police, improving training, recruitment, doctrine, equipment, and

inter-service cooperation (e.g. increasing the number of professional

soldiers; removal of legislative restrictions on nature of service of some

draftees; longer enlistment periods) . Creation of more mobile and effective

Colombian Army units.


-- Continued progress by the Colombian Armed Forces to protect human rights,

end military-paramilitary collusion, and reduce overall number of violent

civilian deaths. Key measures include: increased military/police actions

against the AUC and; suspension of those military personnel credibly alleged

to have committed gross human rights violations or to have collaborated with

the paramilitaries.


-- Strengthened civilian criminal justice system jurisdiction over military

personnel accused of human rights violations; improvements in average time

from initial investigation through final prosecution, especially those with

allegations of egregious human rights violations, military-paramilitary

collusion or high-level drug trafficking.


-- Significant reduction of illegal arms shipments to and from Colombia.


-- Improved efficiency, agility, and reach for Colombia’s criminal justice

system. Important steps would include: reforming criminal code and

procedure; expanding capabilities and numbers of prosecutors; developing

prosecutor/police task forces to address complex crimes; protecting judicial

personnel and witnesses; increasing number of municipalities served by the

justice system; providing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for

matters that need not be heard in criminal justice system; ensuring greater

security in prisons; reducing the number of prison escapes; enactment and

implementation of accusatorial code and procedural reforms.


-- Development of general principles that would apply to possible peace

processes with the ELN, FARC and AUC, and an aggressive, effective

demobilization program targeting rank and file members of all three groups.


-- Concerted GOC-led diplomatic effort to persuade European and other

countries to provide greater financial support for ongoing programs.






The expected reduction, if any, in the amount of cocaine and heroin entering

the United States as a result of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative within

the expected time schedule






U.S. counter-drug objectives in Colombia, through a range of programs, seek

to significantly reduce illegal drug production and to make it economically

unprofitable and are supported by both eradication and interdiction efforts.

Effectively eradicating coca leaf and opium poppy as well as interdicting

their movement and that of precursor supplies, cash or final product can be

expected to reduce the amount of cocaine and heroin entering the United

States. Maintaining effective demand reduction programs will also be key.


In pursuit of these objectives, the Colombian National Police have sprayed

about 120,000 hectares of coca so far this year, and may reach up to 150,000

by the end of 2002. In the first part of 2002 the herbicide used was diluted

so that it was less than fully effective, and the coca treated may not have

been wholly eradicated. Beginning in August 2002, the rate of spraying

increased and herbicide concentration was restored to earlier strength. If

coca eradication continues at the August 2002 rate for the next 12 to 24

months, with annualized spraying of up to 200,000 hectaries, it can be

expected to have a substantial impact on the economic viability of coca



The Colombian National Police have also sprayed nearly 2,300 hectares of

opium poppy so far in 2002, with expectations of spraying up to 5,000

hectares by the end of the year, and 10,000 hectares in 2003.


The aerial spray program now also has the strongest possible support at the

most senior levels of the GOC. We believe that the progress that will now

result from the combination of greatly increased aerial spray capability on

our part, the planned addition of new, high capacity aircraft and the new

political determination of the GOC, will help us to achieve our objectives

of substantial reductions.


Additional pressure can be brought against the illegal drug industry by more

effectively controlling transportation corridors across the Andes that are

used to import chemicals, supplies and cash into the growing areas, or to

move illegal drug products out. If the drug producing areas are isolated

from markets and necessary supplies, the costs and risks of moving narcotics

products will increase. Isolation of the growing areas would contribute to

significantly disrupting the market.


Interdiction of cocaine and heroin at sea and ashore is another important

element for drug market disruption. With U.S. assistance, technology,

intelligence support, and law enforcement training, the Government of

Colombia should be able to maintain increasing pressure on drug warehousing

sites and go-fast boat movements, also resulting in increased seizures of

cocaine and heroin.


If present programs are sustained, then Plan Colombia’s original goals of

reducing coca cultivation in Colombia by 50% by the end of 2005 should be

achieved. In fact, we believe it will be possible to spray even more coca

and poppy in 2003, and have established spray targets of 200,000 hectares of

coca and 10,000 hectares of opium poppy. President Uribe has called for

total eradication by the end of his term of office in 2006.


If these eradication and interdiction objectives are achieved we would

expect to see a major reduction in the amount of cocaine available for the

United States, with corresponding impacts on cocaine price and purity in the

U.S. market. Reductions in Colombian heroin availability might not produce

comparable effects because of the availability of ample heroin supplies from

other parts of the world.






The mission and objectives of U.S. Armed Forces personnel and civilian

contractors employed by the United States in connection with such

assistance, and the threats to their safety in Colombia






U.S. military personnel and U.S. individual civilian contractors in Colombia

are undertaking activities to implement specific aspects of the programs

described earlier in support of “Plan Colombia.” The dangers they face are

well understood by the U.S. Government and the individuals themselves and

extensive security measures are taken to provide for safety.


As described in the bi-monthly reports provided to the Congress in

accordance with the provisions of section 3204(f) of Title III, Chapter 2,

of the Emergency Supplemental Act, 2000, the U.S. Government is carrying out

a wide variety of programs in Colombia in support of U.S. policy objectives.


U.S. military personnel provide training as well as equipment,

infrastructure development, and planning, logistical and intelligence

support, while U.S. civilian contractors are employed by the Departments of

Defense, State, Treasury, Justice, and Commerce, are engaged in programs

that include alternative development, narcotics interdiction and

eradication, law enforcement, institutional strengthening, judicial reform,

human rights, humanitarian assistance for displaced persons, local

governance, anti-corruption, conflict management and peace promotion, the

rehabilitation of child soldiers, and preservation of the environment.


Present ceilings of 400 permanent and temporary U.S. military personnel and

400 U.S. citizen civilian contractors in Colombia in support of Plan

Colombia remain in effect for these purposes. Administration representatives

have also testified to the Congress on several recent occasions that there

are no plans for engagement of U.S. military personnel or U.S. civilian

contractors in a combat role in Colombia.


U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilian contractors do not participate in

combat missions in Colombia. Current Department of Defense policy guidance

prohibits U.S. military personnel in Colombia from accompanying Colombian

military forces during such operations.


Programs with the Colombian armed forces and police are undertaken at bases

where Colombian units provide security. There have, however, been situations

in which U.S. citizen civilian contractors were subject to hostile fire,

although it bears repeating that they do not have any combat role. As a

matter of firm policy, the Administration does not intend to use U.S.

citizen civilian contractors in any combat role.


However, in conducting counternarcotics aerial spraying, the spray aircraft,

piloted by U.S. citizen or third country national contractors, are

accompanied by escort helicopters that carry combined U.S. citizen civilian

contractor or third country national contractors and Colombian National

Police (CNP) crews. On a typical mission, U.S. citizen civilian contractors

accompany the spray operations in these helicopters as pilots or medics, but

not as gunners. The contractors provide support for CNP antinarcotics and

law enforcement operations. U.S. citizen civilian contractors and third

country national contractors have occasionally been subject to hostile fire

in the course of providing their services, for example, in undertaking

search and rescue (SAR) and medical evacuation missions.


U.S. citizen civilian contractors also provide training and logistical

support for the 32 USG-provided UH-1N helicopters that provide air mobility

for the three counterdrug battalions of the Colombian Army. However, these

aircraft are piloted by either Colombian military personnel or Colombian and

third country national contractors.


Since 1998 three U.S. citizen civilian contractors have died in Colombia,

two on July 27, 1998 in an aviation accident when their T-65 aircraft

crashed during a training flight, and a third in an August 2002 runway

accident. Another U.S. citizen civilian contractor died of natural causes on

August 15, 2000, as a result of a heart attack. In 1999 a U.S. military

aircraft crashed in Colombia resulting in five U.S. military fatalities.


We have been fortunate to date to have suffered no killed, wounded or

captured U.S. military personnel or U.S. civilian contractors, or other USG

personnel, as a direct consequence of the violence and conflict in Colombia.

However, casualties cannot be precluded, either as a direct attack by

narcotics trafficking or terrorist organizations or as the result of

violence not specifically aimed at U.S. personnel.


Colombia is a high-risk assignment and the U.S. military personnel, U.S.

civilian contractors and the permanent and temporary United States

Government personnel assigned to Colombia are well aware of this. Our

personnel and official facilities maintain a high state of alert, take every

possible precaution, and are very proactive in matters regarding safety.

They deserve our recognition and we appreciate the support they receive from

the Congress and the American public for their dedication and willingness to






Adam Isacson

Senior Associate, Demilitarization Program

Center for International Policy

1755 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 312

Washington DC 20036

+202-232-3317 fax 232-3440