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HomeSpecialPlan Colombia celebrates 20 years of failures and threats to peace...

Plan Colombia celebrates 20 years of failures and threats to regional peace

Plan Colombia reached its twentieth anniversary amid an increase in the cultivated hectares of coca, the resurgence of massacres - or "collective murders" as Colombian President Iván Duque prefers to call them - and the return to the scandals of parapolitics with the deprivation of liberty of Álvaro Uribe Vélez.

This plan, which was born under the presidency of Andrés Pastrana, had its greatest financial and military boom during the two governments of Uribe, who started a doctrine of a "war against drugs and the narcoguerrilla" that left multiple complaints of massacres in its wake. , false positives and nine US military bases in Colombian territory.

Only until 2016, the sum of 9.600 billion dollars had been delivered to Colombia, according to a report promulgated by the United States Department of State to commemorate 15 years of the launch of this plan.

Militaristic Genesis

This plan is associated with the name of Barry McCaffrey, a US general who participated in the "desert storm" war against Iraq, an action that would win him sympathy within the Armed Forces, being promoted to Chief of the Southern Command by George Bush Sr. and later as Head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 1996 by Bill Clinton.

His idea consisted in increasing the military and police cooperation of the United States with Colombia in order to combat drug trafficking and the guerrilla, reduce coca cultivation in the New Granada nation and avoid constant attacks on the infrastructure of oil-producing companies in that territory

This idea was formally announced by Colombian President Manuel Pastrana, who after obtaining its approval in Congress as Law 508, traveled to the United States where he presented it as "Plan Colombia".

Former President Pastrana with then-Drug Czar Barry Mccaffrey

As part of this agreement, in December 1999 the then US Secretary of Defense, William Cohen and the Colombian Defense Minister, Rodrigo Lloreda signed an agreement to increase military cooperation between the two countries, which meant the creation of a group of bilateral work between the Armed Forces of both countries and the specialization of "anti-drug battalions" in the Colombian Army.

In January 2000, President Clinton officially announced the aid for Plan Colombia, which was approved by the US Congress on July 13, 2000, thus beginning the escalation of this plan, which is now 20 years old, surrounded by criticism and complaints.

Goals vs reality

Combating drug trafficking: Despite the growing presence of US military forces and the DEA, gangs dedicated to drug trafficking increased after the dismemberment of the large cartels, which has resulted in an increase in crimes associated with drug trafficking in the entire country, as well as the rise in cocaine production that places this country as the largest global producer with 70% of the total produced in the world, according to the latest report presented by the United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs and Crime.

Coca cultivation: The eradication of the large cartels, far from meaning the reduction of the cultivated hectares of coca, translated into an increase in the areas that went from just over 30 thousand hectares in 1993 (year of Pablo Escobar's death) to 170 thousand in 2000. Then with the implementation of the plan, from 2001 to 2012, a reduction was registered that was always well above what was registered in the best times of the “Medellín cartel” and that today exceeds 200 thousand hectares as reviewed by report of the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the White House (ONDCP for its acronym in English), to which is added an increase in the yield of kilos per hectare.

Security: Despite the one-third reduction in the number of kidnappings and hit men referred to by the Colombian government, the date of implementation coincides with the emergence of paramilitarism that carried out more than 50 massacres, leaving 800 fatalities and thousands of displaced persons. To this are added the false positives that accumulate more than 3.430 deaths according to the Colombian prosecutor's office.

Threat to peace

Despite the opposition it generated on the continent, in 2009 under the Álvaro Uribe Vélez and Barack Obama governments in the US, the implantation of nine US military bases in Colombia began, this under the argument of intensifying the fight against drug trafficking and The guerrilla.

This agreement was signed on October 30 of that year by the then Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez and the United States Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, who has been a fervent defender of a military action against Venezuela.

In addition to the bases, the number of US military missions in the neighboring country increased, as well as joint exercises between both nations that have focused their war game on Venezuela as a potential enemy.

"These bases could be the start of a war in South America," then-President Hugo Chávez would have warned, recalling the precedent of the operation carried out by Colombia on March 1, 2008 when the New Granada army and air force entered Ecuadorian territory to bomb and massacre a group of guerrilla insurgents led by Raúl Reyes.

"We feel threatened, and that is good for Colombia to know," said Chávez warning of possible plans against Venezuela from Colombian territory, which would have the support of US military forces.

“We obtained new evidence from guerrilla camps in Venezuela. I had three options: make complaints, keep quiet, and the other option was a military operation in Venezuela. I lacked time, "said the former president of New Granada in 2012, obtaining an answer from Chávez" he did not lack time, he lacked balls. "

Venezuela and the Plan Colombia Crece

Iván Duque and Donald Trump in a meeting held on March 2, 2020

On August 17 of this year and after public reproaches to the failure of the Colombian governments in the fight against drug trafficking by Donald Trump, President Iván Duque presented the US delegation, led by the National Security Advisor, Robert O 'Brien, the “Plan Colombia Grows”.

"The idea is to reach the municipalities where we have needs for tertiary roads, water and sanitation, electrification, education (...) This will allow us in these communities to reach out with productive tools," said Duque without giving much detail about this new phase of this plan of which he only added that the purpose is "to attack drug trafficking and solidify democracy."

“The signing of the new Plan Colombia implies that our country continues to serve as a platform to destabilize Venezuela, a position that demonstrates the mean and unworthy disposition of this irresponsible government, whose actions compromise the future and well-being of its citizens on the border, as well as the sovereignty of a brother and sovereign country ", denounced the former Colombian senator Piedad Córdoba in her article"Colombia grows".

This notice from Córdoba is based on the constant accusations that the Colombian president launches against Venezuela under the argument of "representing a danger to the region and to the democratic stability of the continent", which are concatenated with those made by the United States through of the decree signed by Barack Obama, declaring the Venezuelan nation as "an unusual and extraordinary threat" and with the warmongering threats of the Trump administration.

In summary, in the 20 years since the implementation of this plan, the objectives that were put forward to justify its creation have sunk into failure, when observing that Colombia has 50% more hectares cultivated in coca in relation to the year 2000 and 70% more kilos per year (951 tons) of cocaine, to which is added paramilitary violence that only in the month of August left four massacres with the balance of six minors, three indigenous community members and seven young people under 26 years murdered.

At the same time and as denounced by analysts and former presidents of the region, the only "achievement" that can be shown is the increase in the US military presence in South America, complying with the premise used by Republican Senator Paul Cordovell, published in a column An editorial in The Washington Post on April 10, 2000, where he pointed out that, given the arrival of Chávez to power, "to control Venezuela it is necessary to occupy Colombia militarily."

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