Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
March 14, 2001
The Government of Colombia developed "Plan Colombia" as an integrated strategy to meet the most pressing challenges confronting Colombia today -- promoting the peace process, combating the narcotics industry, reviving the Colombian economy, and strengthening the democratic pillars of Colombian society. Plan Colombia is a $7.5 billion program. President Pastrana has pledged $4 billion of Colombian resources and has called on the international community to provide the remaining $3.5 billion to assist this effort.
In response to Plan Colombia, and in consultation with the Colombian Government, the United States is providing a $1.3 billion total U.S. interagency assistance package to Colombia.
Adding to previously approved U.S. assistance to Colombia of over $330 million, the assistance package provided an additional $1.3 billion as an emergency supplemental. The total U.S. interagency assistance package will help Colombia address the broad range of complex and inter-related challenges it faces -- its efforts to fight the illicit drug trade, to increase the rule of law, to protect human rights, to expand economic development, to institute judicial reform, and to foster peace.
Five Components of U.S. Assistance
I. Support for Human Rights and Judicial Reform
The total U.S. interagency assistance package provides $122 million for a broad range of human rights, judicial reform, and other programs designed to support the peace process and to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Colombia. Specific initiatives include protecting nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with human rights ($4 million); strengthening human rights institutions ($7 million); establishing human rights units within the Colombian National Police (CNP) and the Colombian attorney general's office ($25 million); training judges and prosecutors ($7.5 million); and providing funding to train and support Colombian law enforcement personnel in anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, and anti-kidnapping measures.
II. Expansion of Counter-Narcotics Operations into Southern Colombia
The total U.S. interagency assistance package includes $390.5 million to support the Government of Colombia's objective to gain control of the drug producing regions of southern Colombia. These funds will support certain aspects of training and equipping the second and third counternarcotics battalions in the Colombian army. It will fund procurement and support of 14 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters ($208 million); procurement, refurbishment, and support of 30 UH-1H Huey II helicopters ($60 million); and support for 15 UH-1N helicopters ($60 million) for use by the Colombian army.
Funding for this element of Plan Colombia includes important humanitarian assistance and development components. It includes $15 million to help persons displaced by conflict in the region. This funding is in addition to funds previously provided by the U.S. Government to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist internally displaced persons in Colombia. This funding component also provides $10 million in developmental assistance, including technical and agricultural assistance to farmers in southern Colombia.
III. Alternative Economic Development
The total U.S. interagency assistance package provides $81 million to support alternative and economic development programs in Colombia to assist small farmers who now grow coca and opium poppies make the transition to legal economic activity as interdiction and eradication make narcotics farming less profitable. These funds are in addition to funds provided for alternative development associated with the Colombian Government's efforts focused on southern Colombia. Included within this package are $27.5 million to assist internally displaced persons, more than $30 million for voluntary eradication programs, $12 million in assistance to local governments, and $2.5 million for environmental programs to protect fragile lands and watersheds. Funds are also made available for alternative and economic development in Bolivia ($85 million) and Ecuador ($8 million).
IV. Increased Interdiction
The assistance package provides $129.4 million to enhance U.S. and Colombian narcotics interdiction efforts. The majority of these funds ($68 million) are dedicated to upgrading the radar systems in four U.S. Customs Service P-3 airborne early warning interdiction aircraft used to detect and monitor suspect targets destined for the United States from cocaine source zones, including Colombia; $16.9 million has been made available to upgrade the Colombian Air Force OV-10 aircraft, $19.5 million to support Colombian air interdiction programs, $14 million to support and provision Colombia's riverine interdiction program, and $1 million to support the Colombian navy's counternarcotics intelligence infrastructure. In addition $18 million has been made available to support interdiction programs in other countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean, including specifically Bolivia and Ecuador.
V. Assistance for the Colombian National Police
The total U.S. interagency assistance package includes $115.6 million to support the CNP. This includes $26 million for procurement, training, and support for two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters; $20.6 million for 12 UH-1H Huey II helicopters; and $20 million for purchase of Ayers S2R T-65 agricultural spray aircraft and OV-10 aircraft. Funds are also made available for communications equipment, ammunition, spare parts, training, and logistical support.
The Peace Process
The U.S. and Colombian Governments agree that ending the civil conflict is central to solving Colombia's problems. A peace agreement would stabilize the nation, speed economic recovery, and help assure the protection of human rights. A successful peace process would also restore the authority and control of the Colombian Government in the coca-growing region. The U.S. Government is hopeful that the peace negotiations now going on between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group and the Colombian Government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group prove successful.
U.S. assistance in support of Plan Colombia is intended to counter the illicit trade in narcotics. All U.S. counternarcotics assistance to Colombia will continue to be in the form of training, goods, and services. The counternarcotics components of Plan Colombia will be implemented by the Colombian police and the Colombian armed forces.
U.S. assistance to Colombian military and police forces is provided under strict application of U.S. law designed to protect human rights -- the so-called "Leahy Amendment." No U.S. assistance is provided to any unit of the Colombian security forces for which there is credible evidence of gross human rights violations, unless the Secretary of State is able to certify that the Government of Colombia has taken effective measures to bring those responsible to justice. The U.S. Government has in place a rigorous process to screen those units being considered to receive assistance or training.
NGOs report that Colombia has the fourth-largest population of internally displaced persons in the world. The vicious conflict between paramilitaries and guerrillas is largely responsible for the forced displacement of Colombians. A recent UNHCR report estimates an "accumulated total" of 525,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia who have not satisfactorily resettled or returned home. In 1999, the U.S. Government provided $5.8 million to the ICRC's Western Hemisphere operations for assistance to IDPs, with an additional $3 million earmarked for Colombia. The U.S. contributed another $4.7 million to UNHCR's general fund for the Western Hemisphere, a portion of which was used for institutional capacity building in Colombia.
Note: Funding levels as contained in the Military Appropriations Act for FY 2001 (H.R. 4425)