Miércoles, 22 de febrero de 2017

| 2009/01/05 00:00

The Truth About Plan Colombia

(From the magazine issue dated Jan 12, 2009) -- The U.S.-backed war on drugs is failing, as coca traffickers stay one step ahead of Uribe.

The Truth About Plan Colombia

By some measures Álvaro Uribe is the world's most successful head of state. Since taking office in 2002, the president of Colombia has routed the ELN terrorist group, broken the FARC guerrillas, demobilized their right-wing paramilitary foes and made Colombia's cities safe again. Homicides are down 40 percent nationwide since his term began, and economic growth is up, from just 2.5 percent in 2002 to 8.2 percent in 2007. Result: 66 percent of Colombians approve of Uribe even during a global financial catastrophe —down from the 80s a few months ago—the highest of any president in a democracy. U.S. policymakers have also hailed Uribe: President George W. Bush has feted his "determination to rid the country of narcotrafficking."

Determination is not, however, enough to win the war on drugs. Since 2000, the United States has sent more than $6 billion to Bogotá to help Uribe and his predecessor stabilize the Andean region, stanch the flow of drugs into America's cities and cut drug production. In what is known as Plan Colombia, Washington sent pilots and choppers to Colombia, trained commandos and furnished weapons to fight traffickers and terrorists. For his part, Uribe and his predecessor raised the military budget from 4 to 6 percent of the national GDP. But instead of cutting drug production in half by 2006, as Plan Colombia intended, the acreage of land dedicated to coca cultivation is up 15 percent since 2000 and now yields 4 percent more cocaine than it did eight years ago. An October report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an oversight agency, says Plan Colombia's goals "have not been fully achieved."

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