InfoBrief- May 19, 2003


InfoBrief is a weekly news summary of events in the U.S. and Colombia produced and distributed by the U.S. Office on Colombia. Colombia This Week is reproduced with the kind permission of the ABColombia Group in London. Other sources include U.S. and Latin American newspapers, and reports from non-profit and grassroots groups. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Office on Colombia. If you would like to receive InfoBrief please contact indicating why you would be interested in this weekly news service.


U.S. Current Affairs & Media


* CODHES Reports 412,000 Displaced Last Year At a May 12 conference in Washington, the Colombian organization Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) presented its annual report on internally displaced people (IDP), as well as a report on the situation in the predominantly Afro-Colombian province of Chocó. CODHES estimates that 412,000 people were internally displaced in Colombia last year, a 20% increase over 2001. According to CODHES, approximately 2,900,000 Colombians have been displaced since 1985. The report also shows that that Chocó had the highest rate of displacement in the country and that about one-third of IDPs last year were Afro-Colombian. The conference featured presentations by Dr. Francis Deng, the UN Secretary-General’s Representative on Internally Displaced Persons, as well as representatives of Afro-Colombian organizations, the Colombian Embassy, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the UN High Commissioner of Refugees and Catholic Relief Services. Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Lutheran World Relief sponsored the conference. More information on the event is available at and the full CODHES reports are online at


* House Bill Would Require Reports on Colombian Government’s Efforts to Pursue Paramilitaries The House International Relations Committee “reported” the Foreign Relations Authorization bill for FY 2004 and 2005 on May 16 and referred the bill to other committees for consideration of the relevant sections. The bill notes that reports of collaboration between the Colombian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces continue despite the $5 million in U.S. assistance for a military unit to pursue the paramilitaries. The legislation would require the State Department to report every 180 days on the Colombian government’s efforts to capture and prosecute paramilitary leaders. The text of this section of the bill is online at and a summary of this and other sections relevant to Colombia is on the CIP webpage at


* New York Times Editorial Urges Bush to Monitor Rights in Colombia In a May 14 editorial, the New York Times encouraged the Bush Administration to support Colombia, but “not unconditionally.” The editorial warned that the Uribe Administration in Colombia has sought “due-process shortcuts” and that some military commanders maintain links to the paramilitaries. The Times expressed concern that the Administration “may be tempted to disregard its legal responsibility to monitor Colombia’s human rights record closely and to withhold some aid if patterns of abuse emerge.”


* UN’s James LeMoyne Tells Guerrillas to Release, Not Exchange Civilians James LeMoyne, the UN special advisor for Colombia who last year played a key role in facilitating negotiations between the FARC guerrillas and Colombian government, said he would not help negotiate an exchange of captured guerrillas for civilians kidnapped by the FARC. In a public statement in Bogotá on May 10, he said, “Free the hostages and then we’ll sit down to talk about what is a possibility: the exchange of combatants, which has been carried out in many conflicts.”


* ONDCP Announces 25% Decrease in Opium Cultivation in Colombia On May 9, the White House’s Office on National Drug Control Policy reported that approximately 12,103 acres were under opium poppy cultivation in Colombia in 2002, down from 15,932 the previous year. Using a new formula to determine the amount of heroin yielded by each acre of opium, ONDCP also revised its estimate of Colombian-produced heroin in 2001, indicating that Colombia accounted for a much larger percentage of heroin in the U.S. than previously reported.


* UNODC Finds Slight Increase in Coca Cultivation in Peru Last Year Following concerns of coca shifting from Colombia to Peru, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime stated on May 15 that last year coca cultivation increased in Peru 1% to 46,700 hectares. In March, the U.S. State Department reported an 8% increase in Peru for 2002.


Upcoming Events and Seminars in the U.S.


* If you have news of upcoming events in your area please forward them to



Colombia This Week is reproduced with the kind permission of the ABColombia Group in London


Clombia This Week


CTW will not be published this week. It will resume on May 27.



Executive Director

US Office on Colombia

1630 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 201

Washington DC 20009

Phone: 202-232-8090

Fax: 202-232-8092