US-Colombia Foreign Policy--Colombia Accompaniment Training Summer 2011

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Training slides on current US foreign policy issues and how they affect Colombia. Includes links and commentary from the IPC

Training slides on current US foreign policy issues and how they affect Colombia. Includes links and commentary from the IPC

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  • Important maps to highlight the displacement of people in Colombia (2010). Note that all the maps are hyperlinked, so when you receive this presentation after the webinar, everything is imbedded if you are interested in more research. This is part of a study done by CODHES (Consulting for Human Rights and Displacement) reviewing the 2009 law of consolidation by President Uribe. Idea to create what are called CCAI’s or Consolidated Centers for Integrated Action, to bring the services of the State to outlying areas (and not just the services of the military).
  • Note that the plan has not reduced the # of illegal armed actors in these areas. And specific note to the North Coast and Pacific Coast (for discussion on were the ministry of the IPC is located and also port of Buenaventura)
  • These zones where the #’s around displacement by force, illegal armed groups have not gone down also happen to be in the zones where there is either great mineral mining or palm production—exactly the areas the FTA has the most to do with. The FTA just has plans for reductions, but no actual numeric drawn-downs of this need to be shown by the Colombian gov’t for implementation. As these maps show, it really hasn’t gone down yet, why should it now? These are the major concerns of the IPC—and especially of the displaced populations, and workers in these areas of trade they work with or who are part of their congregations/communities.
  • Other info about trade/colombia, etc. via Mamie and Richard
  • Prayer to close webinar

Transcript

  • 1. CURRENT US FOREIGN POLICY, TRADE, AND ADVOCACY ISSUES RELATED TO COLOMBIA Plan Colombia US Military Bases in Colombia US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Rev. Shannan R. Vance-Ocampo Colombia Accompaniment Training Summer 2011
  • 2. Questions to Keep in Mind During the Presentation (Q&A at end)
    • What is the key underlying cause of conflict in Colombia?
    • What does “internal displacement” mean? Roughly how many people are internally displaced in Colombia? How many are external refugees? Which groups are particularly vulnerable?
    • Who are some of the key armed actors in Colombia? (Hints – What are the FARC, ELN, AUC, NeoParamilitaries, Bacrim…?) How are they interlinked – with each other, with the army, with politicians? How are they financed? How much of Colombia’s territory do they control?
    • What are meant (in the Colombian context) by: “Disappearances”? Demobilization (and specifically the “Justice and Peace” demobilizations of the AUC)? “False positives”? Impunity?
    • Why are human rights workers threatened in Colombia? What other groups are similarly threatened?
    • What is the “Victims Law”, and what are some of its limitations and the concerns about its implementation?
    • What is Plan Colombia? What else characterizes U.S. involvement in Colombia?
    • What are some of the concerns caused by the Colombia Free Trade Agreement currently in consideration by the U.S. government?
    • What are some of the key points of PC(USA) policy on Colombia?
  • 3. Issue #1 Plan Colombia
    • Signed into law by President Clinton in 2000, conceived by President Pastrana in Colombia
    • Conservatively, over 7Billion in aid since 2000 the vast majority of it given to military for “security enhancement in Colombia”
    • Seen as a success by US/Colombia in that the business climate is better, FARC/ELN are on the run (sidelined), and there is a “more favorable” security situation
    • Billions of US dollars transferred to Colombian military—much of the time under the Uribe Presidency
    • Paramilitary “demobilization” occurred during this time period
    • Colombian scandals erupted during this time: parapolitics, falsos positivos (over 1000 cases so far, and counting), wiretapping and interference with judiciary
    • #1 focus was to sharply lesson drug production
  • 4. “ Collateral Damage” during Plan Colombia
  • 5. Economics of Plan Colombia
    • Initial aid package called for just 51% of aid to be military, 32% to fight drug trade, 16% social/economic, and the small remainder for a negotiated solution to the political conflict
    • In final package, just over 78% went to military and the percentage has never dipped below this level
    • Colombia looked for aid from other countries at this time, did receive some, but mostly on “development” side
    • Focus for Colombia was on creating a new climate in Colombia to prime it for business from overseas
  • 6. “ Demobilization” in Colombia
  • 7.  
  • 8.  
  • 9. How to Keep Up-to-Date on this Issue:
    • Latin America Working Group www.lawg.org
    • Washington Office on Latin America www.wola.org/program/andes
    • Adam Isacson’s podcasts (on iTunes) www.wola.org/wola_podcast
    • Adam Isacson’s ten-year anniversary report on Plan Colombia, “Don’t Call it a Model” http://justf.org/files/pubs/notmodel.pdf
    • This is an over-arching US policy towards Colombia that touches everything else—so keep this policy in mind as you hear/read about Colombia in the future or in what you see in Colombia as you accompany
  • 10. Bridge Issue: Human Rights Certification and Military Aid
    • US Law requires a yearly certification by the State Department of the human rights situation in countries that receive US aid (Leahy Amendment) which is attached to the Foreign Appropriations Acts since 1997
    • “ None of the funds made available by this Act may be provided to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights, unless the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice. ”
    • Defense Appropriations: Covers Training
    • Foreign Operations Appropriations: Weapons Funding and Training
    • FOR Report of 2010 shows direct linkages between US Military Aid and Gross Human Rights Violations in Colombia
    • http://forusa.org/content/report-military-assistance-human-rights-colombia-us-accountability-global-implications
  • 11. Issue #2 US Military Bases in Colombia
  • 12.
    • OVERALL ISSUE : Since 2000, US has spent more than 6B in Colombia, over 80% of it as military aid.
    • OVERALL ISSUE : The UNHCR estimates over 5M internally displaced persons in Colombia. Highest-second highest in world (# fluctuates back and forth with Sudan).
    • Signed by President Uribe (Colombia) and Obama (U.S.A.) in October 2009
      • Later development was in August of 2010 when Colombian Constitutional Court said it was a “treaty” needing Congressional ratification (this only pertains to Colombia)
    • Permits US use of 7(+) Colombian bases (existing) for a ten-year period
    • Bases are of various types (land, air, sea)
    • US legislation officially caps US personnel to 600 military, 800 contractors/advisors—Base Agreement nullifies this
    • Diplomatic immunity on US personnel (military and civilian)
    • No environmental impact studies, immunity from impact
    • Does not prohibit use of bases for activity in Colombia and/or internationally
    • Leave bases “as is” at end of 10-year agreement
    • Follows the loss of US military bases in Panama and Ecuador
    • There is PC(USA) policy language from 2010 against this
    Highlights of US/Colombia Base Agreement
  • 13.  
  • 14.
    • “ We are concerned therefore that the democratic security promoted by the current governement, the increased military cost, and the growth of the army have not shown us the prospect of peace even though they have reduced the actions of illegal armed groups.  It is evident that there is a resurgence or strengthening of former armed groups.  Furthermore, there are tensions with Colombia's neighbors - Ecuador, Venezuela, and throughout the region - because of the announcement of the US Army's use of Colombian military bases. ”
    • -IPC National Synod Meeting, Feb. 2010
    View of the IPC on the Bases
  • 15.
    • Officially the Base Agreement remains unimplemented
    • What this means is that “previous military agreements remain in force”
    • FY 2010 (September) signed contracts for 2.5M in construction on Colombian bases (location classified)
    • US has for FY 2011 $14M for an “integrated logistics center” via a FMS (Foreign Military Sales) account. Money spent by Colombians, but with US intelligence info on the Colombian base shared freely—probably using US contractors
    • Doubling in spending by Army Corp of Engineers in Central/South America since 2009
    • Integration of armed forces (US/Colombian) is already happening on Colombian bases
    • September 2009—US is working on aviation parts on Colombia bases to be sourced to Afghanistan
    • US training Latin American military personnel on Colombian bases (a la SOA)
    Where are the Bases today?
  • 16. How to Keep Up-to-Date on this Issue:
    • FOR’s Research Project on Colombia & Militarism www.forcolombia.org/bases
    • Also FOR blog on Colombia: http://forusa.org/groups/campaigns/end-us-military-aid-colombia
    • Witness for Peace tracks this issue: http://witnessforpeace.org/section.php?id=98
    • Presbyterian Peace Fellowship also tracks this: www.presbypeacefellowship.org
  • 17. Issue #3 US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
    • Still with Obama, to be given to Congress within weeks (after recess), will be on “Fast Track” in Congress (no changes)
    • Labor Action Plan signed by Obama/Santos, non-binding
    • 51 trade unionists killed in 2010, 18 so far this year
    • PC(USA) policy language against this as well as IPC policy language
    • FTA’s are nearly impossible to be undone once implemented
    • Some estimates are that rural poverty will increase by 35% in some zones once fully implemented (in Colombia)
    • Impossible to show any uptick on US jobs in this FTA
    • Potentiality to undo much of the US foreign policy “gains” via Plan Colombia (drug eradication)
    • PPF has been a leading US-based organization working against the FTA over the last six months.
  • 18. Videos of Solidarity from Colombia
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBSJMXqISmA (IPC Statement of Solidarity)
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=US3otnfeWv4 (The Cost of Consuming)
  • 19.  
  • 20.  
  • 21.  
  • 22.  
  • 23. View of the IPC on the FTA
    • “ Free trade was implemented in Colombia in 1990…after twenty-one years of experience there are more than enough reasons to oppose the current free trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States . First, because it seek s to further policies that replace domestic work ers with foreign workers. Second, it destroy s industrial and agricultural production. Third, it privatize s the public sector. Fourth, it hand s over the main sectors of the economy to multinationals. Fifth, it put s the state at the service of plutocracy (or oligopolies) rather than democratic ideals. In summary, the evidence shows that “free trade,” as it is currently conceived, impoverishes nearly all Colombians and, worse, it snatches away our country’s ability to create wealth. Yes, Colombia must relate to the United States and the rest of the world, but not with mule and rider agreements that take away our national sovereignty and turn us into a kind of colony - an iniquitous condition from which we freed ourselves two hundred years ago.”
    • -From IPC Statement in 2010
  • 24. More Information www.calledtocolombia.org Blog of Mission Co-Workers Mamie Broadhurst and Richard Williams
    • They have a post entitled: Trade Policies—Different Perspectives with a snapshot of the many points of view about trade and links to many other articles.
    • Other posts:
    • Colombian Trade—Colombian Voices
    • Trade: Free, Fair, or Just Plain Confusing?
  • 25. How to Keep Up-to-Date on this Issue:
    • Presbyterian Peace Fellowship www.presbypeacefellowship.org/Colombia/FTA
    • Latin America Working Group lawg.org/component/content/article/76-stand-by-colombias-victims-of-violence/863-fta-statements-and-articles
  • 26.
    • God of hope - who consoles our pain.
    • We have seen and heard the testimony of millions of displaced and refugees.
    • Women, children, men, indigenous and afro descendents whose bodies carry the marks of death and terror.
    • God of justice - who walks with us.
    • Our faith and our commitment to Jesus has led us to solidarity and exile.
    • Our bodies carry the scars of fear, violence, poverty and rejection – they are our cross.
    •  
    • God of life – who works with us for peace.
    • Destroy the weapons of war and the trade agreements that displace and destroy your creation.
    • We are your people who yearn to return to our land and, like Jesus, be resurrected.
    • --Rev. Milton Mejia and Rev. Adelaida Jimenez