The Impact of the United States' War on Drugs & Terrorism in Colombia


Carolina Aldana, MINGA, Association for Alternative Social Policy

Eder Sanchez, National Association of Small Farmers, Putumayo

Jason Hagen, Washington Office on Latin America


6:00- 8:00 PM, Wednesday, October 16, 2002


McDowell Formal Lounge, McDowell Hall, American University

Intersection of Massachusetts and Nebraska Avenues, NW Washington, DC


Along with a significant increase in U.S. military aid to Colombia in the

last few years, the country's long-standing internal conflict - and its coca

production - continues to escalate as well. But the over-simplification of

the Colombian dilemma as merely a war on drugs and terrorism is not wholly

accurate. Colombia's war pits leftist guerrilla forces against the

right-wing paramilitaries, who often function with the collusion of the

Colombian army. But by far the most casualties in the decades-long war are

civilians who are caught in the brutal crossfire.

While the suffering continues in Colombia, the U.S. government is sending

massive amounts of military aid to introduce more weapons and war to an

already horrific situation. The panelists will address the implications of

U.S. aid to Colombia, as well as some of the controversial polices of the

new Uribe administration - such as the state of emergency, restrictions on

travel to zones of public order, and the formation of network of civilian

informants to assist the Colombia military in gathering intelligence.


Carolina Aldana works for MINGA, a leading human rights organization in

Colombia. She is responsible for research and communications for projects

in northwestern Colombia, and leads programs on the peace process and 'civil

society strengthening'. She previously worked in the Colombian Defensoría

del Pueblo researching children's rights.


Eder Jair Sanchez is a lawyer and social leader of the National Association

of Peasant Farmers (ANUC). For the period spanning 2001-2003, he is serving

as a delegate to the Departmental Assembly of Putumayo. Between 1995 and

2001, he headed a team that developed proposals for manual eradication of

illicit crops in Putumayo. At present, he is the promoter of the

Association for Social Pacts for Voluntary Manual Eradication of Illicit

Crops in Putumayo.


Jason Hagen is the Associate for Colombia at the Washington Office on Latin

America (WOLA).


Sponsored by US Office on Colombia, Colombia Human Rights Committee, Amnesty

International - AU chapter, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy - AU



For more information, contact: Kelleen Corrigan, CHRC,, 202-422-4125