Spill-Over: Plan Colombia and U.S. Interests in the Andean Region
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In 1999 when the mammoth military aid and training package known as Plan Colombia first came into being, many critics cautioned that more troops, more helicopters, and more advisers were certain to mean greater U.S. military involvement in Colombia’s decades-old civil conflict. Those opposed to Plan Colombia made the case that the so-called war on drugs in that South American country was just a cover for eliminating leftist guerilla groups.
Four years and several billion dollars later, war continues and the cocaine trade still flourishes. The Bush Administration and top brass at the Pentagon maintain that Colombia is a top priority not only to fight drugs but to enhance “national security” in the United States. Is there more to U.S. policy on Colombia than meets the eye?
On this edition, we hear from leaders in Colombian civil society about what they view as Plan Colombia’s broader strategy: regional dominance by U.S. military and economic interests.
Ricardo Esquivia, Mennonite pastor and peace negotiator; Nancy Sanchez, health educator who has worked extensively in the southern Colombian province of Putumayo; Ricardo Vargas, a drug policy expert with Acción Andina; Hector Mondragon, economist and sociologist and leading dissident in Colombia.
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