Translated from the spanish, an article copied and republished by www.farcep.orgThe perverse reality of Plan Columbia by mercedes Oliveros Suarez, Secretary of "Terceros por la paz" Committee for peace in Columbia,architect,and teacher in UNAM. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México ...
The objective announced in the english version of Plan Columbia (1999) was "to reduce by 50%the cultivation ,processing and distribution of drugs" but the results have been a complete failure: the production of cocaine has only diminished by 11.6% according to figures supplied by the United States own project for monitoring the cultivation of illegal drugs. The Washington Department for Latin america affairs(WOLA) denounced the widespread sewing of new coca plants in new areas of Columbia, Bolivia, and Peru.
The reorganization of the drug mafias has generated 22 new cartels operating in these regions. it is not realized internationally the perverse reality of "Plan Columbia", and its companion "Plan Patriot" which has translated into the ruthless expropriation of huge zones of land, rich in strategic resources such as oil and other minerals by government linked paramilitary forces.
The attempt to defeat the popular opposition forces and the insurgents represented by FARC- at all costs- has resulted in the civil population being branded indiscriminately as "terrorists"
The central hub of the plan has been a political/ military strategy with the restructering and modernization of the armed forces of the Columbian government and the strengthening of the paramilitaries, both of which has been achieved by:
The injection of military aid worth 4 billion dollars between 2000 and 2006.
The retraining of the government forces by agencies of the US government such as the "Green Berets".Columbia is the second largest beneficiary of military aid in the world ( after Iraq).
The US supports covert forces such as the 88 columbian army reservists detained in Venezuela for attempting to organize a plot to overthrow Hugo Chavez in may 2007.
other american agencies active in Columbia are: Dyn Corporation (Fumigating and destroying coca crops with aerial spraying of toxic chemicals),
Northgroup Grumman ( Radar installations), Airscan (providing aerial flights/ reconnaissance).
There are seven american military bases in Columbia.
The sinister paramilitary organization, Autodefensas unidas de Columbia (AUC) has been strengthened and institutionilized as a paramilitary arm of the army and the state.The control 35% of congress..They have steadily increased their economic power by appropriating land which was occupied by civiliand displaced by the conflict, and established alliances with narcotrafficing cartels.
They were instrumental in the re-election of President Uribe. Many paramilitaries such as the "Black Eagles" continue to assasinate popular leaders and human rights activists. between August 2002 and December 2004 there were 6332 arbitrary detentions and 3127 extrajudicial executions, and 337 forced disappearances according to official statistics of the CINEP.
The attempted incorporation of the civil population into informer networks has caused unrest and dissent among families and friends alike, and endangered the lives of civilians,unwillingly forced into taking sides in the conflict.
A serious fight to reduce drug production implies the subsidising of alternative crop production by the poor campesinos who actually gain little from the coca leaf.
While american companies continue to profit enormously from producing chemicans to destroy the fields ;the banks who launder drug money remain untouched; and the USA fails to come to grips with both the widespread demand-and the powerful mafias distributing it-the war on drugs will continue as an expensive farse and the poor will suffer and die in latinamerica.