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Colombia: Origins of the Conflict and U.S. Policy

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Slideshow given to a group of high-school "Model UN" participants, Washington DC, February 2008

Slideshow given to a group of high-school "Model UN" participants, Washington DC, February 2008


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  • 1. Colombia: Origins of the Conflict and U.S. Policy Adam Isacson Center for International Policy 1717 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 801 Washington DC 20036 (202) 232-3317 / isacson@ciponline.org Prepared for NAIMUN, February 15, 2008
  • 2. 1. A Difficult Country to Govern 2. State Weakness and Impunity 3. Armed Groups 4. The U.S. Role 5. Disappointing Results 6. What is Next? 7. Alternative Proposals
  • 3. 1. A difficult country to govern Difficult Geography
  • 4. 1. A difficult country to govern Some of the World’s Worst Economic Inequality 3. The Region’s Real Problems
  • 5. 2. State Weakness and Impunity State Weakness and Impunity
  • 6. 2. State Weakness and Impunity “Ungoverned Spaces”
  • 7. 2. State Weakness and Impunity Coca
  • 8. 2. State Weakness and Impunity Poverty and Coca
  • 9. 3. Armed Groups Conflict Throughout Colombia’s National Territory
  • 10. 3. Armed Groups Illegal Armed Groups 3. Putumayo: Dynamic of the Conflict
  • 11. Mapa 2.4 Distribución espacial de acciones violentas 3. Armed Groups realizadas por las Farc, durante el período 1995-2002 Fuente: Dane, Marco Geoestadístico Nacional, 2001. Observatorio de Violencia–Presidencia de la República. 55 FARC (Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia)
  • 12. 3. Armed Groups Mapa 2.6 Distribución espacial de acciones violentas realizadas por el ELN, durante el período 1995-2002 58 Fuente: Dane, Marco Geoestadístico Nacional, 2001. Observatorio de Violencia–Presidencia de la República. ELN (National Liberation Army)
  • 13. Mapa 2.8 Distribución espacial de acciones violentas 3. Armed Groups realizadas por las Autodefensas, durante el período 1995-2002 62 Fuente: Dane, Marco Geoestadístico Nacional, 2001. Observatorio de Violencia–Presidencia de la República. Paramilitaries
  • 14. 3. Armed Groups Approximate Responsibility for Group Leader Annual income Size civilian murders Colombian Armed 220,000 military, President Álvaro Defense Budget $6 5-10% Forces 180,000 police Uribe billion FARC 30-40% 13,000-18,000, plus Manuel Marulanda, (Revolutionary (most kidnappings, $250 million - $1 support personnel seven-member Armed Forces of about half of forced billion and urban militias secretariat displacement) Colombia) 2,000-4,000, plus Nicolás Rodríguez, ELN (National 0-5% Less than $10 support personnel five-member Liberation Army) (many kidnappings) million and urban militias central command Very decentralized, Probably similar to after a questioned FARC; much Paramilitaries 4,000-8,000 demobilization 50-60% process, over 20 new income goes to groups private fortunes Narcotics At least 4,000 in Significant More than $10 Trafficking 150+ gangs of Decentralized responsibility for billion Organizations varying sizes common crime The Combatants
  • 15. 3. Armed Groups Failed Peace Processes
  • 16. 4. The U.S. Role The U.S. Role
  • 17. 4. The U.S. Role Military and Police Aid Economic and Social Aid $1,000 million $750 million $500 million $250 million $0 million 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008, request Millions of U.S. 2007, 2008, dollars 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 estimate request Military and 306.6 743.6 236.9 398.9 624.4 614.8 597.8 632.2 615.9 603.4 Police Aid Economic and 8.8 231.4 1.4 115.5 136.7 134.5 134.7 132.2 132.2 139.5 Social Aid Total 315.4 975 238.3 514.4 761.1 749.3 732.5 764.4 748.1 742.9 $6.1 billion since 2000
  • 18. 4. The U.S. Role Top U.S. Military-Aid Recipients 1. Iraq 2. Israel 3. Afghanistan 4. Egypt 5. Pakistan 6. Colombia
  • 19. 4. The U.S. Role 821,000 hectares (2.05 million acres) sprayed 2000-2006. That’s 33 acres per hour, 24 hours per day.
  • 20. 4. The U.S. Role •More than 90 helicopters granted since 1999 •At least 56,364 trainees since 1999 •Over $200 million per year for aircraft maintenance •Nearly half of U.S. aid given through contractors •About $150 million for pipeline protection •Army Counternarcotics Brigade; Commando Battalion; Anti-Kidnapping units; Mobile Special Forces Brigades; Police Carabinero units; Navy Riverine Brigade •Support for “Plan Patriota” military offensive Other Military Aid Initiatives
  • 21. 4. The U.S. Role “White Elephants”
  • 22. 4. The U.S. Role Another Sprayed AD Project 5. Plan Colombia: Alternative Development
  • 23. 5. Disappointing Results U.S. Finds No Change in Coca Cultivation
  • 24. 5. Disappointing Results “Because cocaine production in South America appears to be stable or increasing, cocaine availability could return to normal levels during late 2007 and early 2008.” - Department of Justice, National Drug Intelligence Center, October 2007 Cocaine Prices in the United States
  • 25. 5. Disappointing Results Security Gains? 1. Who gets the credit? 2. Rural Areas 3. Extrajudicial Executions 4. Paramilitarism 5. Military Scandals 6. Guerrilla Military Capacity
  • 26. 6. What is Next? (Demobilized paramilitaries eradicate coca in Antioquia) Manual Eradication 9. What Is To Come
  • 27. 6. What is Next? “Integrated Action”: The Same Old Militarized Counterinsurgency?
  • 28. 6. What is Next? “Peace is born from soldiers and police, even though the civilian government must do the negotiating.” - Alvaro Uribe, August 2007 Militarization
  • 29. 6. What is Next? Troubled Peace Efforts
  • 30. Orito, Putumayo 7. Alternative Proposals A Better Policy 10.A Better Policy
  • 31. 7. Alternative Proposals No More Shortcuts: Demilitarize the Policy 1. Rural Governance 2. Displacement, Land and Victims 3. The Justice System 4. A Strategy for Peace 5. Put Our Own House in Order
  • 32. 7. Alternative Proposals 2000: Obey amendment to H.R. 3908 would have delayed most U.S. military aid to Colombia. Lost 186-239. 2000: Ramstad amendment to H.R. 3908 would have cut out most U.S. military aid to Colombia. Lost 159-262. 2001: Lee-Leach amendment to H.R. 2506 to shift funding from the Andean Counterdrug Initiative to the Global AIDS Trust Fund. Lost 188-240. 2001: McGovern et al amendment to H.R. 2506 to cut $100 million from the Andean aid to pay for increased assistance for anti-tuberculosis programs. Lost 179-240. 2002: McGovern-Skelton amendment to H.R. 4775 to cut language broadening the mission of U.S. military assistance in Colombia to include combat against illegal armed groups. Lost 192-225. 2003: McGovern-Skelton amendment to H.R. 2800 to cut military aid for Colombia and transfer it to HIV-AIDS programs. Lost 195-226. 2003: McGovern-Skelton-DeLauro amendment to H.R. 1559 to cut military aid for Colombia that was included in a bill to fund the Iraq war. Lost 209-216. 2005: McGovern-McCollum-Moore amendment to H.R. 3057 to cut military aid for Colombia. Lost 189-234. 2006: Opposition to Burton amendment to H.R. 4939 to increase military aid to Colombia by cutting Iraq prison construction from supplemental funding bill. Lost 172-250. 2006: McGovern-Leach-Payne et al amendment to H.R. 5522 to move $30 million in military aid from the Andean Counterdrug Initiative to the Emergency Refugee and Migration Account. Lost 174-229. Many Amendments
  • 33. 7. Alternative Proposals Military and Police Aid Economic and Social Aid $800 million $600 million $400 million $200 million $0 million 2005 2006 2007 2008 est 2009 req Millions of U.S. dollars 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008, estimate 2009, request Military and 306.6 743.6 236.9 398.9 624.4 614.8 597.8 632.2 615.9 603.4 442.1 Police Aid Economic and 8.8 231.4 1.4 115.5 136.7 134.5 134.7 132.2 132.2 139.5 240.8 Social Aid Total 315 975 238 514 761 749 733 764 748.1 742.9 682.9 A Small Step in the Right Direction
  • 34. Online Resources from CIP “Plan Colombia Database of U.S. Colombia and Beyond” Aid to the Program Home Blog: Americas: Page: www.cipcol.org www.justf.org www.ciponline.org/ colombia