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Military

CRS Report to Congress

Colombia: Conditions and U.S. Policy Options

Nina M. Serafino
Specialist in International Security Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Updated May 4, 2000


Summary

The continuing, and increasingly complex, drug threat from Colombia, President Andres Pastrana's faltering efforts to make peace with Colombia's two major guerrillas groups, and the Colombian military's inability to check them, have raised questions about the adequacy of U.S. policy toward Colombia. At issue is whether the U. S. should increase assistance to the Colombian military for its counternarcotics efforts, and perhaps provide assistance to combat the leftist guerrillas.

Although the United States and Colombia have cooperated extensively on counternarcotics efforts to staunch the flow of cocaine for over two decades, the cultivation of coca leaf has increased and the changing character of drug trafficking has complicated counternarcotics efforts. Despite eradication spraying, Colombia has surpassed both Bolivia and Peru in acreage of coca under cultivation, and the quality of Colombian coca leaf is improving. As a result, U. S. officials estimated in 1999 that Colombian cocaine production was likely to increase substantially. In addition, Colombian traffickers have increasingly produced and exported heroin, making Colombia the largest supplier of heroin to the eastern United States.

The threat to Colombia's political and economic stability from rapid growth of leftist guerrilla groups and paramilitary organizations has also become a source of concern to U. S. policymakers. Although the two major guerrilla groups have operated since the mid-1960s, they have expanded operations to the point where they influence or control local governments in over half the country's 1,000 municipalities, and have displayed increased strength through widespread actions and attacks on major military targets. President Pastrana's attempts to achieve a negotiated settlement to the guerrilla conflict are complicated not only by the relatively strong position of the guerrillas, who enjoy high levels of income from the illegal narcotics industry, kidnapping, and extortion, but also by the massacres of suspected guerrilla sympathizers committed by paramilitary groups, and by the ineffectiveness, human rights abuse, and links with the paramilitaries of the Colombian military.

As the Pastrana Administration confronts many challenges -- reducing the production of coca and cocaine, attempting to engage the guerrillas in negotiations, curbing the activities of paramilitary groups, and improving the human rights and professional performance of the Colombian military -- U.S. policymakers are debating the wisdom and utility of increasing U. S. assistance to Colombia. Many policymakers have argued for much increased levels of counternarcotics assistance to security forces, not only as a means to decrease coca and heroin production, but also as a means to weaken the guerrillas by attacking one of their major sources of income. Others discount the value of even current levels of counternarcotics assistance to Colombia, arguing that it does not resolve the United States' drug problem, because even if cocaine and heroin production were eliminated in Colombia, it would only move elsewhere. Some policymakers and analysts with each point of view argue that the United States should broaden its policy towards Colombia -- which has focused almost exclusively on counternarcotics -- to provide necessary assistance to improve Colombia's weak institutions and inequitable economy, which are seen as contributing greatly to the country's drug trafficking and guerrilla problems.

Contents

  • Introduction
    • U.S. Interests in Colombia
      • Combat Illegal Narcotics Production and Trafficking
      • Support Colombia's Democracy and Human Rights
      • Support Colombia's Economy
      • Maintain U.S. Trade and Investment
      • Prevent Regional Instability
      • Defense of U.S. Citizens

  • Colombian Democracy and the Current Conflict
    • The Guerrilla Challenge
      • Current Strengths and Actions
      • The Military Situation
      • Guerrilla Participation in the Illegal Drug Industry
    • The "Paramilitary" Presence
      • Relationship with Drug Trafficking
    • Human Rights Controversy
    • The Pastrana Administration's Response
      • Progress of the Peace Process
      • Military Reform and Rehabilitation
      • Securing International Assistance

  • Congressional Concerns and Policy Opinions
    • Congressional Concerns
      • Human Rights Concerns
      • Possible Increase of Drug Trafficking in Demilitarized Zone
    • U.S. Policy Options
      • Increase Military Aid
      • Continue Aid at Current
      • Condition Military Aid More Stringently
      • Terminate Aid to the Military
      • Broaden U.S. Policy to Provide Multi?faceted Aid, and Deemphasize Counternarcotics Efforts

  • Appendix A.
    • Scope of and Restrictions on Current U.S. Assistance to Colombia
    • Human Rights Concerns and the "Leahy Amendment" Restrictions
    • FY2000 Human Rights Restrictions: Texts of the Leahy Amendments

  • Appendix B.
    • Overview of the FARC and the ELN
    • Previous Negotiation Attempts

  • Appendix C.
    • Current FARC Position

  • Bibliography

  • Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Colombia, FY1995-FY1999

  • Footnotes



Colombia: Conditions and U.S. Policy Options
Introduction

Difficult new circumstances face U. S. policy towards Colombia, a country of 36 million people. That policy has focused for almost two decades on joint efforts to destroy drug-trafficking organizations and decrease the flow of cocaine from Colombia, according to U.S. officials, has produced some 75-80% of the world's supply. Now, however, Colombians are cultivating new areas with coca leaf, and a multitude of small, independent trafficking organizations has replaced the two major cartels of the 1980s and early 1990s, complicating those efforts. In addition, within the past few years Colombia's political and economic stability has been threatened by high levels of violence and conflict stemming from the increased strength and illegal activities of leftist guerrilla groups and rightist paramilitary organizations. The efforts of Colombian President Andres Pastrana, who took office in August 1998, to end Colombia's 30-year conflict by making peace with the country's two major guerrilla groups have added a new dimension to the debate about U.S. policy toward Colombia.

Within the last year, the United States has substantially increased U. S. assistance for counternarcotics efforts, most of which currently goes to activities of the Colombian National Police. This year, some policymakers and analysts are arguing for still greater assistance, although with disparate purposes - some believe more aid is needed for greater military participation in counternarcotics efforts, others believe the United States should consider counterinsurgency aid to counter the threat from the guerrillas, and others would broaden U.S. assistance to provide support for economic and political reforms in Colombia.

This report first discusses U.S. interests in Colombia. It then provides information on Colombia's current conflict, with sections on the guerrillas, the paramilitaries, and President Pastrana's efforts to deal with the conflict through the peace process, and the reform and rehabilitation of the Colombian military. The last section describes congressional concerns, and possible policy options.

U.S. Interests in Colombia

The United States' longstanding and, thus far, dominant interest in curbing the production and shipment of illegal narcotics from Colombia has been joined, and some would argue supplanted, by other important U.S. interests in the new situation in Colombia. Developing a coherent U.S. policy to further these interests -- strengthening counternarcotics efforts, supporting Colombia's weak democracy and eroded economy, maintaining U.S. economic ties, and preventing regional instability -- has proven to be a difficult task. In part, the difficulty is due to the problem of addressing sometimes conflicting interests simultaneously, and to the lack of agreement on priorities among these interests, as reflected in the section on U.S. Options, below.

Combat Illegal Narcotics Production and Trafficking. The continuing metamorphosis of Colombia's drug problem presents new counternarcotics challenges for Colombia and the United States. From the early 1980s, Colombia and the United States cooperated in a campaign to deal with the cocaine trafficking of the Medellin and Cali cartels. 1 With the demise of these cartels by the mid-1990s, there was hope that Colombia's drug trafficking problem would be ameliorated. Instead, the problem has, many argue, become more difficult to deal with than before.

For one, the large Medellin and Cali cartels have been replaced by smaller, independent traffickers and splinters from the Cali cartel. As of mid-1998, the Colombian police had counted some 43 independent trafficking groups, about half of them based in the Antioquia Department, of which Medellin is the capital, and the others in the northern Cauca Valley, around Cali. Several groups of independent cocaine traffickers from the northern Cauca Valley have expanded their activities through the sale of cheap, high quality heroin. (Heroin became a significant export from Colombia after 1990, when substantial opium poppy cultivation in Colombia was first reported, and Colombian traffickers are now the largest suppliers of heroin to the eastern United States.) The rise of independent traffickers has complicated efforts to reduce trafficking, according to some analysts. Because they adopt conservative lifestyles, and work in groups of 10 to 20, using small legitimate businesses as fronts, independent traffickers are hard to identify.

In addition, since the mid-1990s, coca leaf production has expanded in Colombia. Less than a decade ago, Colombian traffickers flew semi-processed coca base from Bolivia and Peru into Colombia, where laboratories processed it into cocaine, which was then exported by the trafficking cartels. In 1999, however, according to the General Accounting Office (GAO), as coca cultivation decreased in Bolivia and Peru, Colombia surpassed both countries in acreage under cultivation, dedicating 50% more to such cultivation than in 1998, despite eradication spraying. Figures from the State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1999, of March 2000, show Colombian coca cultivation had growing from over 126,000 acres in 1995 to 251,000 acres in 1998, to 302,600 acres in 1999. The estimated potential cocaine production reportedly increased from 230 to 520 metric tons over the same period.2 The expansion of coca leaf cultivation in Colombia is viewed as particularly troublesome, as Colombian coca leaf has proved to be of a higher quality (i.e. more cocaine can be extracted from a given amount of coca leaf) than previously believed.

Support Colombia's Democracy and Human Rights. For much of this century, the United States has had close relations with Colombia, and often looked to Colombia for diplomatic support in international affairs. In the interest of sustaining this relationship, the United States has played an activist, some would say interventionist, role in buttressing Colombia's political institutions in the face of drug corruption. Although differences over the appropriate methods to deal with Colombia's drug problem have soured or impeded relations with recent Colombian administrations, most notably with that of President Pastrana's predecessor, Ernesto Samper, relations under the Pastrana Administration have returned to the traditional, close mode. Some analysts argue that the United States should now help sustain Colombia's friendly democracy by providing aid to confront its new challenge: the recent intensification of the guerrilla conflict which erodes the Colombian government's legitimacy by bringing into question its ability to provide security to its citizens. A few analysts also argue that the government's survival itself is in jeopardy, as the guerrilla groups are relatively much stronger than the Colombian military and may be able to topple the government if the imbalance persists. Many are concerned, however, that assistance to support the Colombian government only be provided if it will support, rather than undermine, respect for human fights. Some also fear that the problems of Colombian democracy are so complex that U.S. aid will at best provide a palliative, and do little to resolve them. (See section on Congressional Concerns, below.) Drug corruption within the Colombian government is also a continuing source of concern.

Support Colombia's Economy. The Pastrana Administration's political problems are compounded by an economic crisis unprecedented in Colombia in recent decades. For several decades, Colombia's economy was consistently one of the most successful in the hemisphere, with sustained annual growth rates averaging just under 5%, and a negligible public sector deficit. President Pastrana, however, inherited an economy that was deteriorating by most major indices. In 1999, Colombia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted for the first time in over 50 years. (As of early 2000, the economy's decline has been calculated differently by different sources: one source indicated a decline of about 1%, another of 5%.) The country's foreign debt jumped in 1999 to $36 billion, some 41.3% of GDP, up from 34% of GDP in 1998. (Some 57% of this is owed by the public sector.) Unemployment in Colombia's Some GDP growth is expected in 2000. Unemployment in Colombia's seven major metropolitan areas has risen sharply from lows under 10% in the early 1990s, to about 18 percent at the end of 1999. (The year end rate, however, was a drop from a peak of 20% in the third quarter.) State spending expanded beginning in the early to mid-1990s, with a corresponding increase in the public sector deficit. On the other hand, inflation rates have improved, showing a continuous decline over the 1990s, running under 10% at the end of 1999, according to private sector estimates. Declining prices in the late 1990s for coffee and oil, two of Colombia's major imports, exacerbated the country's economic problems, as has the guerrilla insurgency. Colombian experts estimate that the conflict costs the country 3% of growth per year. 3

Many analysts believe that the troubled legal economy not only deprives the government of the funds needed for rural development programs to attract rural inhabitants away from coca cultivation and the insurgency, but also drives many desperate Colombians into the cultivation and trafficking of illegal narcotics. 4 Among these Colombians are the increasing number of unemployed, and the million or so internally displaced persons. 5 Some fear that it may increase the significance of the drug trade to Colombia's economy. According to recent estimates, income from illegal narcotics provides as much As $4 billion to Colombia, or some 5% of the country's $80 billion Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 6

Some GDP growth is expected in 2000, however. Improving petroleum and coffee prices in 2000 may, however, contribute to a marginally improved outlook.

Maintain U.S. Trade and Investment. Economic problems and the continuing guerrilla conflict have economic effects on foreign businessmen trading with Colombia and on foreign investors. Colombia is the United States' eighth largest oil supplier, and its fifth largest market in Latin America. 7 U.S. firms have provided 40% of Colombia's foreign direct investment, of which petroleum investments are an important part. Within the past decade, oil companies have discovered and begun exploitation of significant petroleum reserves in Colombia; estimates of potential reserves suggest that the country may be an important source of petroleum for the United States in the future. The partnership of British Petroleum and Amoco has the largest foreign petroleum investment in Colombia. Another U.S. firm, Occidental Petroleum, has the second largest investment. U.S. environmental and indigenous rights groups have protested proposed drilling by Occidental Petroleum on lands claimed by the U'wa Colombian indigenous group as their "ancestral territory." 8 Foreign traders and investors claim that the need to provide additional security on their own significantly increases the cost of doing business in Colombia. Although profits are large enough for many companies to absorb these costs, the lack of security is viewed as discouraging further trade and investment. According to some reports, Colombia received very little foreign investment in 1999.

Prevent Regional Instability. The spillover effects of the continued insurgency on Colombia's five neighbors is transforming Colombia's internal conflict into a regional problem. Colombian guerrillas have regularly crossed the borders into Panama and Venezuela, using adjacent areas as safehavens, and to conduct criminal activities. Guerrillas reportedly have attacked Venezuelan security forces. 9 In 1995, guerrillas attacked Ecuadoran military and police units; more recently they have harassed Ecuadoran truck drivers in Colombia. In addition, U. S. officials blamed the FARC for the September 1999 kidnapping of 12 foreigners in Ecuador. 10 Paramilitary forces reportedly have pursued guerrillas across the border into Panama and Venezuela; in September 1999 paramilitary leader Carlos Castano declared that Panamanian National Guardsmen who supported Colombian guerrillas were "military targets" and accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of backing the guerrillas. Refugees from Colombia's conflict have also crossed the borders into Panama and Venezuela, seeking safety. (Although many apparently return, some reportedly do so unwillingly.) Such incidents and statements have led to growing concerns about the threats to Colombia's neighbors from growing instability and lawlessness in border areas. Because much of Colombia's borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela lies in the largely unpopulated Amazon Basin, some analysts also anticipate an increase in drug trafficking and arms smuggling, as well as an increase in border crossings by groups of people fleeing conflict.

Defense of U.S. Citizens. The United States has an interest in clarifying the status of three disappeared Americans and in bringing to justice their kidnappers and the killers of three other Americans. The United States has information that the FARC was responsible for the kidnapping of three American missionaries from the New Tribes Mission -- David Mankins, Mark Rich, and Richard Tennenoff -- on January 31, 1993.11 (Their current whereabouts is unknown.) The FARC has admitted that on March 4, 1999, one of its members killed three American environmental and indigenous rights workers -- Terence Freitas, Ingrid Washinawatok, and Laheenae Gay -- who had been visiting the U'wa indigenous group in Colombia. U. S. policymakers doubt that responsibility ends with the soldier that FARC leaders identified as the killer. In mid-February, 2000, President Pastrana, reportedly stated that the Colombian government would not extradite to the United States a captured FARC regional commander, German Briceno, whom the United States accuses of ordering the three killed.


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Colombian Democracy and the Current Conflict

Many observers have viewed Colombian democracy as a paradox. Because of its stable two-party system and regular elections, Colombia was long considered one of Latin America's model democracies. Yet, for decades, it has been rent by almost continuous violence.

Since the 1960s, Colombia's two political parties -- the Conservatives and the Liberals-have peacefully transferred power to one another through elections. This two-party system evolved from the political settlement of a widespread, armed civil conflict, which began in the 1940s, that pitted adherents of the Liberal Party against those of the Conservative Party. In 1957, the two political parties agreed to form a coalition "National Front" government, which shared power and regularly alternated the presidency from 1958 through 1974. That political settlement established peace, at least in the urban areas, putting an end to the period known as "La Violencia," in which an estimated 200,000 partisans and others died.

Yet, conflict continued in the rural areas, where peasant armies joined with leftist guerrillas to gain or retain possession of land. Colombia's counterinsurgency campaign of the 1960s destroyed the nine "independent republics" established by the peasants, several of which were controlled by the Communist Party, but never entirely defeated the guerrillas. Another unfortunate legacy, according to some analysts, was a climate of political intolerance throughout the country.

In subsequent decades, violence remained a prominent feature of Colombian life. The rise of the Medellin cocaine cartel in the 1980s brought high levels of drugrelated violence until its demise in the early 1990s. Since then, Colombia continues to have a high rate of murder committed in the context of criminal acts, and political violence carried out by paramilitary groups and the leftist guerrillas, largely in rural areas.12 Until the guerrillas began operating close to Bogota in the last two years, however, the conflict between the paramilitary groups and the guerrillas went largely unnoticed in Colombia's urban centers, where some 75% of Colombians live.

Even as he campaigned as the Conservative party candidate for the March 1998 election, President Pastrana decided that he must not only curb drug trafficking, but, like other Presidents before him, make an attempt to end political violence by bringing the guerrillas into the political system through negotiations. This task requires him not only to meet the military and political challenges presented by the guerrillas, but also to deal with the paramilitary presence.

The Guerrilla Challenge

While Colombia's guerrilla groups have operated almost continuously and generally unimpeded in rural areas for over 50 years, they have not, in recent decades, controlled and operated in the expanse of territory that they now do, nor fought with such intensity. The two main groups--The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional, or ELN)--now reportedly control or influence local governments in 40% to 50% of Colombian territory, all of it in rural areas. They not only attack police and military forces, but regularly attack civilian populations, commit massacres and extrajudicial killings, collect war taxes, compel citizens into their ranks, force farmers to grow illicit crops, and regulate travel, commerce, and other activities. The ELN routinely bombs oil pipelines. During 1998, some two-thirds of all kidnappings in Colombia were committed by guerrilla groups, with 667 cases attributed to the FARC, 566 to the ELN, and 152 to other groups. 13

Current Strengths and Actions. The guerrillas have gained great strength in recent years. Since the early 1990s, their numbers reportedly have increased substantially (some analysts calculate as much as fourfold) and they have dramatically increased their revenues from kidnapping and involvement in drug trafficking. The larger of the two forces, the FARC, has 10,000-15,000 regular troops according to U.S. estimates, and apparently can also activate other supporters for military actions when desired. This is a substantial increase from 1998, when U.S. officials estimated FARC strength at 7,000-10,000 troops. At 3,000-6,000, the estimated size of the ELN has not changed since 1998.

Guerrilla troops are well clothed and equipped (even better than Colombian soldiers), and paid salaries and pensions, according to U.S. officials and other analysts. Most analysts argue that the FARC and ELN guerrillas have been highly disciplined soldiers, although some believe that their discipline is attributable to fear of punishment rather than loyalty to their organization. There are some recent indications, however, that traditional discipline has broken down. According to Colombian intelligence reports, the FARC, in mid-1999, was equipped with five Cessna aircraft, four reconnaissance helicopters, and one medical evacuation helicopter. 14

The degree to which the guerrillas enjoy popular support among the inhabitants of the areas in which they operate, is a matter of debate. In the areas that they control or where their influence is strong, the guerrillas provide many of the public services of a government, or negotiate with the elected government to undertake certain projects. This may earn them loyalty and active support. (According to one report, the FARC has created a clandestine political party, the Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia, "which actively co-governs in areas of guerrilla influence." 15) On the other hand, observers report that the inhabitants have no alternative but to render the obedience that the guerrillas demand. Recent reports from the "demilitarized zone" created by the Pastrana Administration in November 1998 at the outset of the peace talks and controlled by the guerrillas indicate that at least some inhabitants resent the guerrillas' arbitrary and at times brutal rule. As part of the peace process, the Pastrana Administration has recognized the FARC as a legitimate political force, although a Colombian involved in the previous administration's peace efforts described the guerrillas as "quite weak in political terms." 16

The Military Situation. Over 1998 and 1999, the guerrillas launched extensive attacks, persuading many analysts that they are a more capable armed force than the Colombian military. In the days before President Pastrana's August 1998 inauguration, they launched a nationwide offensive, in which at least 130 people were killed and dozens of policemen and soldiers were taken prisoner. They also destroyed a major military base, Miraflores, in the Guaviare province. In addition, they attacked 40 other installations, including police stations and oil facilities, in over half the country's 32 provinces. 17 Since then, the guerrillas have carried out several other attacks on significant military targets. On July 8, 1999, the FARC attacked an army camp of some 70 soldiers near the village of Gutierrez, 27 miles southeast of Bogota, and then, over the next three days, carried out at least 24 attacks in nine states. Although over 60 military troops and policemen were killed, the Colombian army claimed to have halted the offensive by killing more than 200 guerrillas in several areas. 18 (This, for some analysts, marked a turning point in the army's capacity to counter the guerrillas.) The guerrillas have not yet, however, launched attacks in urban areas, although one Colombian government agency claims that the guerrillas have formed urban militias in the country's main cities which create public disturbances, kidnap people, and extort money. 19 Guerrilla activities have increasingly affected urban life, however, as ELN sabotage of the electrical power system in later 1999 and early 2000 has caused numerous blackouts in highly populated areas, including the cities of Bogota and Medellin.

Guerrilla Participation in the Illegal Drug Industry. Both the FARC and the ELN fund their operations, at least in part, from income generated by their involvement in the illegal drug industry. (The FARC, at least, has been involved since the early part of the cocaine boom in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 20) U.S. officials estimate that some two-thirds of the FARC fronts and one-third of the ELN fronts have some involvement with illegal narcotics. 21 Their major involvement includes protecting crops, laboratories, storage facilities, and airfields from government anti-narcotics efforts, and collecting "taxes" from those who benefit from that protection. According to some sources, some guerrilla fronts are also increasingly engaged in marijuana, cocaine, and heroin production and sales, 22 although Administration analysts state that such production is small. Part of the expansion of the coca cultivation reported in June 1999 by the GAO has appeared in two areas, the San Lucas mountains and the department of Norte de Santander, which are under ELN control, indicating a possible rise in ELN involvement in drug trafficking. 23 The guerrillas deny any involvement in drug trafficking.

Estimates of annual guerrilla income from drug trafficking have varied widely. A 1997 report of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) covered the higher end of the range. It stated that the guerrillas had gained half of their estimated $500 million to $1.5 billion annual income from involvement in the drug trade. Of this income, the INSS report estimated that $20 million was used to purchase weapons and other military equipment and the rest was "invested in land, transportation businesses, and a well-managed portfolio."24 More recent accounts have generally quoted a range of $400 -$600 million. (This is about 10%- 15% of Colombia's total annual estimated $4 billion income from illegal narcotics activities.) However, a September 1999 news report cited a "secret assessment by American intelligence" which estimated a range of only $30 to $100 million. 25 The alleged income from drug trafficking may not be the guerrilla's greatest source of income, however; recent Colombian government estimates indicate that, in 1997 and 1998, the FARC and ELN earned twice as much from kidnapping and "robbery" [i.e., presumably meaning extortion] as they did from drugs, and a little less from kidnapping than from drugs. 26

The "Paramilitary" Presence 27

The many illegal privately armed rightist groups involved in political violence -- including killings, abductions, and intimidation -- have come to be regarded as a sizeable military presence in Colombia. Known in the United States as "paramilitary" groups and in Colombia also as "self-defense" groups, their primary targets are guerrillas, and suspected guerrilla supporters and sympathizers. In addition, they target those suspected of helping the guerrillas, however unwillingly. They have been responsible, according to human rights groups, for the greatest number of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances since 1995. They also demand "war taxes" from individuals, and threaten with death those who refuse to pay.

These groups -- which range in size from small, rural self-defense groups to large forces -- evolved from two types of anti-guerrilla organizations. One was the civilian "self-defense" groups originally organized by the Colombian military. Although the latest of these wee the "Convivir" civilian rural defense organizations, created in 1994, the Colombian military had earlier organized such groups as part of its 1960s counterinsurgency campaign. 28 Other private armed forces were organized by drug traffickers. In 1981, over 200 drug traffickers contributed funds and men to form the "Death to Kidnappers" (Muerte a Secuestradores or MAS) group which vowed to end ransom kidnappings by killing guerrillas. Illegally armed groups subsequently proliferated, with funding from drug traffickers and large landowners, and the participation of small landowners. All have sought to protect themselves against the kidnappings for ransom and extortion of "war taxes" by the guerrillas, to destroy the guerrilla base, and to silence political figures who opposed them. By one account, as of mid-1999, the paramilitary groups controled over 15% of Colombian territory. 29 In 1999, U.S. officials estimated their numbers at 5,000 - 7,000; however in March 2000, the head of the largest organization (see next paragraph) said his force numbers 11,200. 30

The largest organization is the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia or AUC). It was created in 1995 to consolidate at least seven "self-defense" groups operating in northern and central Colombia under one organizational structure, with the goal of gaining both military strength and political recognition. (The term "paramilitary groups" is now most often used to refer to illegal forces carrying out active anti-guerrilla campaigns, the most important of which is the AUC.) The largest AUC group is the Peasant Self-Defense Groups of Cordobd and Uraba (Autodefensas Campesinas de Cordobd and Uarab/ACCU), with more than 2,000 members trained and armed, and other supporters who will engage in specific actions. 31 The founder and head of the AUC (also a leader of the ACCU), Carlos Castano, has stated that the AUC's purpose is to force the guerrillas to negotiate. 32 His forces reportedly are well-paid. (According to some analysts, they have been able to attract fighters away from both the Colombian military and the guerrillas.) As of mid-1999, the AUC/ACCU forces reportedly possessed "over 30" aircraft, including 11 Cessnas, four cargo planes, and "an entire fleet of reconnaissance helicopters." 33

Castano's political standing among the population in the areas where his forces are strong is a topic of debate. He told one human rights observer that he has hired sociologists, anthropologists, and agronomists "to come up with solutions to Colombia's problems" and that the ACCU "sponsors grade schools, cooperatives, land reform, and agricultural credits." 34 Castano has acknowledged ordering killings of those he believes are guerrilla sympathizers, and his forces are feared in many towns. Yet, reportedly he has gained a popular following in some areas, such as Norte de Santander, where "people tend to believe that with their arrival the paramilitaries are not only going to restore peace to the region, but will bolster it economically." 35

Relationship with Drug Trafficking. Some of these paramilitary groups are believed to have continued links to or involvement in drug trafficking, but there are no official estimates on the amount of income they receive from the drug industry, nor the type or extent of their participation in it. In 1999, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights opined that "In general, these groups have moved away from their connection with the drug trade, although paramilitary attacks against judicial officials investigating drug crimes demonstrates that a connection still exists in at least some cases." 36 In April 1998, a Colombian government agency identified Castano, as a leading drug boss in the Medellin area;37 in 1997 and 1998, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) alleged him to be a "major cocaine trafficker" in testimony before Congress. In 2000, the DEA alleged in testimony that the Castano organization "and possibly other paramilitary groups, appear to be directly involved in processing cocaine. At least one of these paramilitary groups appears to be involved in exporting cocaine from Colombia." 38

Castafio has acknowledged that the AUC collects substantial taxes from coca producers, and funding from traffickers. (He has cited the amount of tax on coca producers as 40% of proceeds in one interview, 60% in another.) In an interview reproduced on the AUC website, he denies that the AUC exports cocaine, stating that "we are not narcotraffickers." At the same time, however, he states that the AUC finances about 70% of its operations from "narcotrafficking and narcotraffickers." 39

Human Rights Controversy

Although all parties to the Colombian conflict have been guilty of gross violations of human rights over the past several years, it is generally agree that the incidence of human rights abuses committed by members of the Colombia military has decreased to a few percentage points of total violations. The current controversy over human rights focuses on the degree to which the paramilitaries have become the principal violators of human rights and the degree to which the Colombian army is complicit in its violations. Human rights organizations that keep statistics have documented increases over the past five years in extrajudicial killings and massacres committed by paramilitary groups, as well as a rise in kidnappings committed by the guerrillas. 40

Colombia's military forces have a long record of human rights abuse, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and torture. However, their record has improved somewhat in recent years. The State Department noted in its three most recent reports on the status of human rights in Colombia (covering 1997, 1998, and 1999) 41 that the number of violations committed by the Colombian security forces appears to have decreased. In the first nine months of 1997 all 80 of the politically-motivated extrajudicial killings committed by Colombian security forces were committed by members of the Army, particularly of the 20th Intelligence Brigade. The brigade was disbanded in May 1998, and the army prohibited its successor, the Army Military Intelligence Center, from directly undertaking armed operations. The State Department cited s attributing 21 of the extrajudicial killings in the first nine months of 1998 to security forces, a substantial decrease, and 24 of those in the same period in 1999 to security forces.

Some 2,000 - 3,000 politically motivated murders and extrajudicial killings were believed to be committed in most of those years, although the perpetrator in most cases are never identified. The paramilitaries are widely believed to be responsible for most of such killings over the past few years, although the Colombian security forces have recently disputed that belief. Of those where perpetrator were identified during the first 9 months of 1999, the State Department human rights report cites s form a Colombian non-governmental organization, CINEP, attributing, besides the 24 committed by security forces, some 814 to paramilitary forces and 269 to guerrillas. It also cites different s from the Colombian Defense Ministry, which lists the paramilitaries as responsible for 743 of these killings, and the guerillas for 908.

The guerrillas are cited as responsible for most of the kidnapping which take place in Colombia. Figures collected by Pais Libre, and cited in the State Department human rights report for 1999, show that of 2,945 kidnappings committed during 1999, some 1,645 were committed by the FARC (728), the ELN(695), and a number of other guerrilla groups (122). These s include 136 cases of police and military troops captured in combat, and about 50 mayors. Pais Libre attributes 103 kidnappings in 1999 to paramilitary forces, 300 to common criminals, and 6 to family members. It has not been able to identify the perpetrators of some 891 cases.

While the military's gross human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings, have declined, the continued ties of military officers, particularly army officers, to paramilitary groups have been a source of concern. Many international organizations and human rights groups have found evidence of widespread and continuing links between security forces and paramilitary groups. They have accused members of the military of tolerating the activities of paramilitary groups where they do not actively support them. 42

The most recent report of the human rights community concerning such links, by Human Rights Watch, cites incidents of collaboration between security forces and three Colombian Army brigades (the Third, based in Cali, the Fourth, based in Medellin, and the Thirteenth, based in Bogota). Most saliently, it accuses members of the Third Brigade of organizing the "Calima Front" with active duty, retired, and reserve Third Brigade personnel and members of the ACCU, and providing it with weapons and intelligence, in response to the May 1999 seizure of 140 people attending mass at a Cali church. It cited Colombian government investigators investigations listing "hundreds of cellular telephone and beeper communications between known paramilitaries and Fourth Brigade officers," including two lieutenant colonels, three majors, and one lieutenant. In discussing human rights abuses committed by members of the Thirteenth Brigade, particularly intimidation of human rights workers, the report cites the intimidation and killings of government investigators looking into paramilitary activities. At least some of the later is believed to be carried out by contract killers hired by Carlos Castano working with their own intelligence and intelligence provided by Thirteenth brigade intelligence personnel. These threats and killings were cited as insurmountable impediments to continuing government investigations. 43

In response, the Commander of the Colombian Military Forces, Fernando Tapias Stahelin, stated that the Human Rights Watch report "fails to speak the truth, because it is inexact" and accused it of being politically motivated in order to block or obstruct U.S. assistance. It cited the fact that the report relied on data provided by Colombian government investigators as evidence that "investigations on alleged human rights violations are being conducted" and of "an effective action of the State." He also provided data that the military forces had arrested 289 members of paramilitary groups since 1997, 116 of them in 1999 and 38 in 2000, and killed 87 in the same time frame, 26 in 1999 and y in 2000. (The data indicated that police forces had arrested 403 paramilitaries since 1997, 170 in 1999 and 48 in 2000, and killed 53, 7 in 1999 and 25 in 2000.) 44 General Tapias' response repeated earlier statements made by the Colombian Vice President Gustavo Bell.

(For background on the human rights situation in Colombia and further references through mid-1999, see CRS Report RL30314, Colombia: Human Rights Conditions and U.S. Concerns, of September 21, 1999.)

The Pastrana Administration's Response

Since he assumed office in August 1998, President Pastrana has continued efforts to deal with drug trafficking, has asked for increased U. S. counternarcotics assistance, and has pursued efforts to make peace. Although all his predecessors since 1982 have attempted to negotiate an end to the guerrilla war, President Pastrana perceived that the possibility of success was much greater in 1998 because of a widespread popular demand for peace, and the new involvement of Colombian business and civic groups in the peace process. His peace efforts are three-pronged: (1) to pursue peace talks with the guerrilla groups, (2) to make the army a more effective force, and (3) to secure international economic support, military assistance, and aid for a program of social and political reform.

Progress of the Peace Process. 45 As a first step in the peace process, President Pastrana responded to FARC's request to create a demilitarized zone and ordered the withdrawal of security forces from five municipalities for 90 days, commencing November 6, 1998. (The five municipalities, which cover some 16,000-17,000 square miles -- somewhat over twice the size of Massachusetts -- are Mesetas, Vista Hermosa, La Uribe, La Macarena, and San Vicente del Caguan, primarily in the departments of Meta and Caqueta. Some 80,000-90,000 people live in the area.) His stated intent was to create a climate of trust in which guerrilla leaders and government representatives could establish a negotiating agenda.

On January 7, 1999, President Pastrana traveled to the demilitarized zone to meet with guerrilla leaders as talks began. Talks over an agenda soon broke down, however, when the guerrillas accused the government of breaking its agreement to remove all security forces from the demilitarized zone by leaving a small 130-man caretaker military guard at the base in San Vicente del Caguan. They also asked that the government dismantle the paramilitary groups. Subsequently, the Pastrana Administration removed the caretaker contingent and, in February, extended the "demilitarized" status for the five municipalities through May 7. Government and FARC negotiators resumed talks on the agenda on April 21.

President Pastrana has stated that his objective is to incorporate the guerrillas into Colombia's current political system with appropriate social and institutional reforms to ensure "peace with social justice" and to eradicate the roots of the conflict. In his Administration's 10-point proposal for an agenda at the start of the January talks, the government called for unconditional respect for human rights (with specific mention of an end to kidnappings), an analysis of Colombia's social and economic structure to achieve reforms aimed at reducing poverty and income disparities, political and state reforms to deepen democracy and build a new legal state, and the eradication of drug trafficking accomplished through crop substitution and legal and institutional reforms. 46 The FARC's agenda proposal called for far ranging political, economic, and military reforms. (See Appendix C for a synopsis of the FARC proposal.) On May 6, 1999, the Colombian government and the FARC agreed upon a 12-point agenda for negotiations. Negotiations were initially scheduled to begin in July 1999, but were delayed over issues involving a verification commission. In November 1999, government and FARC negotiations began discussions on procedural issues.

Prograss of the Peace Process in 2000. On January 8, government and FARC negotiators agreed on the procedures for negotiations. They also agreed to begin talks with the topics of economic and social structures, the development of a coherent agrarian policy, and the exploitation and conservation of natural resources, and to devote six months to these topics. In February 2000, FARC and government negotiators traveled together to meet for 25 days with European leaders and experts in six countries and the Vatican as a prelude to negotiations. 47 Public hearings related to economic and social structures began April 9 in the village of Los Pozos, in the demilitarized zone, which appears to have been extended indefinitely. As of early May, the FARC appeared ready to discuss a possible cease-fire as negotiations progressed. FARC appleared ready to discuss a possible cease-fire as negotiations progressed. FARC also announced that it was prepared to institute its own judicial system in San Vincente de Caguan, a major town in the demilitarized zone, and that it would force all individuals and corporation worth more than onel million dollars to pay it a "peace tax." According to some reports, FARC is also seeking belligerent status.

Progress in Peace Talks wit hte ELN. The Pastrana Administration's continued efforts to initiate negotiations with the ELN within the context of tripartite talks among the ELN, and representatives from the government and from civil society appeared to be coming to fruition in late April 2000. Progress to that point had been halting. In May 1999, after the ELN kidnapped parishioners attending church in Cali, the Pastrana Administration announced that it was breaking off all contacts with the ELN, but subsequently contacts resumed. The government has refused, however, various ELN requests to demilitarize areas in northern Colombia as a site for civil society consultations and talks. The latest refusal came when the ELN asked at the end of 1999 for the demilitarization of an area where, reportedly, followers of Carlos Castano have weakened the ELN. News reports indicated that objections from military officers and from the mayors of the municipalities in the area prompted the Pastrana Administration's refusal.48 In late 1999, the ELN commenced an active campaign to blow up electric facilities.

On April 24, 2000, President Pastrana announced that the government and the ELN had reached an agreement in principle concerning the demilitarization of three municipalities -- San Pablo, Cantagallo, and Yondo -- in the oil production region of central Colombia along the Magdalena River to facilitate talks with the ELN. Although details of the agreement appear to be still worked out, Colombian government officials indicated that security forces would not relinquish total control of the areas along the river. Reportedly, some residents of the area, where paramilitary forces also operate, have protested the planned withdrawal of security forces.

Criticisms of and Prospects for a Negotiated Settlement. President Pastrana has been criticized by many Colombians for the slowness with which the peace process has proceeded and the concessions that he has made to the guerrillas. In May 1999, Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Lloreda resigned and 16 army generals offered their resignations, criticizing Pastrana for excessive concessions to the guerrillas and the continued extension of the demilitarized zone. President Pastrana defends his efforts to secure "not peace at any price, but a genuine peace which will strengthen our democracy, maintain territorial integrity, and offer to each Colombian a fair place in our future." 49

Many analysts foresee a lengthy negotiation process that may not be concluded during the Pastrana Administration. Colombian analysts acknowledge that Colombians themselves do not understand the varied and complicated local and regional relationships among drug traffickers, guerrillas, paramilitaries, local elites, public officials, military officers and troops, and local populations, including coca growers, that may well make an agreement difficult to conclude, and subsequently to implement. However, the procedures adopted in January 2000 allow for the implementation of agreements on individual topics as they occur.

Military Reform and Rehabilitation. The Pastrana Administration has attempted to improve the poor performance of Colombia's military (a 121,000-man Army, 15,000-man Navy, and 7,500-man Air Force) on the battlefield. It also has dismissed several army officers who are believed to have supported or tolerated human rights abuses by paramilitary forces.

Efforts to Improve Military Performance. Analysts have advanced several explanations for the military's failure to confront the guerrillas during the last several years, and its general inability to perform effectively when it has tried to engage in combat. Some analysts have perceived the problem as a lack of will and desire to engage the guerrillas. Others have viewed it as a lack of certain basic military tools, such as good intelligence and a coherent military strategy, and still others have believed that officers and troops lack the training, skills, and equipment to do the job. Some also have argued that the military is stretched too thin because it devotes a large number of soldiers to guarding installations 50 and performing administrative duties, and it exempts (by law) conscripts with a high school education from combat. The military is also seen as seriously underfunded by some analysts who have criticized the government for failing to provide the military with adequate training and resources to conduct an effective counterinsurgency campaign. As of 1999, the Colombian government was spending about $3 billion annually on its security forces, according to U.S. officials, an amount some analysts judged to be insufficient to pursue a successful counterinsurgency campaign.

General Fernando Tapias Stahelin, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces since the beginning of the Pastrana Administration, has undertaken reforms to correct the army's weaknesses. Among them are a reorganization of the armed forces to replace conscripts with professional soldiers and to make more soldiers available for fighting, an improvement of intelligence services, the development of a military strategy, and coordination of the activities of the three armed service branches. The military's effective response to the July 1999 guerrilla offensive and its August 1999 seizure of two FARC encampments 60 miles from Bogota has raised some hopes that its performance may continue to improve. Some analysts attribute such improvements in the army's performance to a reorganization of the Colombian intelligence apparatus, and to a U.S. decision, as of March 1999, to share more intelligence with a police and military counternarcotics task force. (See Appendix A for more information on U.S. assistance and restrictions on assistance.)

Efforts to Improve Respect for Human Rights. The Pastrana Administration has taken several steps to foster respect for human rights within the military. Upon taking office, the Administration installed a new military leadership that seemed more sensitive to human rights concerns, according to State Department officials. On April 10, 1999, President Pastrana retired two of the army generals, Rito Alejo del Rio and Fernando Millan Perez, who had been under investigation by the Prosecutor General's office, apparently for involvement with parmilitary groups. Eleven days later, the former commander of the 20th Brigade, retired Col. Bernardo Ruiz, was arrested and charged with arranging the 1995 assassination of Alvaro Gomez Hurtado, a former Ambassador to the United States who had been prominent in Conservative party politics. In August 1999, Colombia's attorney general, whose office has investigated numerous cases of alleged support for paramilitary groups, ordered dishonorable discharges for an army captain and two lieutenants, who had failed to halt a May 1999 paramilitary massacre in Barrancabermeja. On September 2, President Pastrana retired Gen. Alberto Bravo Silva, commander of the Army's 5th Brigade. Although no reason was given for Bravo's forced retirement, soldiers of his command had done nothing to stop paramilitary groups who had killed at least 36 people.

Securing International Assistance. Since he announced his peace initiative, President Pastrana has sought domestic and international funding to support it. Initially, he sought to create a development fund, to be administered by business and civic representatives, that would provide financing for economic infrastructure and jobs in guerrilla areas once a peace agreement was concluded. Little was forthcoming, however. On September 17, 1999, he outlined a new $7.5 billion threeyear plan to bring peace to Colombia. Of this, Pastrana seeks $3.5 billion in international assistance, about half to be used to strengthen and restructure the military and to combat drug trafficking. The Colombian government has previously budgeted $4 billion for the effort, and has received $750 million from international financial institutions for social programs. 51

According to a synopsis from the Colombian Embassy in Washington, D.C., in the countemarcotics area, President Pastrana's "Plan Colombia" calls for (1) reducing by 50% the cultivation, processing, and distribution of illegal drugs over the next six years, (2) the increased interdiction of illegal drugs in the air, on land and on Colombian waterways, (3) the expansion of eradication and fumigation programs; (4) seizure of resources used in the production and distribution of illegal drugs, and (5) cooperation with other governments to halt the import into Colombia of illegal arms and chemicals used in processing.

Other measures include: (1) the promotion of alternative agricultural and economic activities in rural areas, and other rural development projects; (2) the improvement of health care, education, and social services for the "most vulnerable" Colombians, (3) military reform; (4) economic reform; and (5) reforms to improve the judicial system and protect human rights.


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Congressional Concerns and Policy Opinions

For the past several years, congressional opinion on Colombia has been sharply divided. In 1997, 1998, and 1999, Congress approved increasing funding for counternarcotics support to the Colombian police forces, more than had been requested by the Administration. In 1999, it approved considerably more funding, primarily for the police forces, than had been requested by the Administration. Congress, however, also imposed restrictions on that assistance to prevent it from supporting units that included human rights abusers, and it has shied away from consideration of any direct involvement in Colombia's counterinsurgency.

Congressional Concerns

Human Rights Concerns. Because of concerns about the human rights abuses by the Colombian military, Congress has increasingly restricted U.S. assistance to Colombia through the "Leahy Amendment" restrictions. 52 As contained in FY2000 legislation, these prohibit U.S. military assistance supported by funding contained in Foreign Operations appropriations and training from funds in the Department of Defense appropriations, to units of foreign security forces where there is credible evidence that a member of the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. Because of those restrictions, the Administration provides assistance to the Colombian police, 53 air force and navy, and a number of battalion-sized and smaller Army units. It has denied assistance to other units, and constantly reviews the status of units currently receiving assistance for continued compliance.

Additional concerns about the connections between members of the Colombian armed forces and the illegal paramilitary groups have led some Members of Congress to consider additional restrictions on aid. In October 1999 legislation (S. 1758), Senators Coverdall, DeWine, and Grassley, the sponsors, included not only the Leahy Amendment restrictions on funding in the bill, but also proposed that the Leahy amendment restrictions should apply "with respect to the availability of funds for a unit of the security forces of Colombia if the Secretary of State reports to Congress that credible evidence exists that a member of that unit has provided material support to irregular forces in Colombia or to any criminal narcotics trafficking syndicate that operates in Colombia."

Displacement of Civilians. A growing humanitarian concern has been the large number of persons displaced by the violence in Colombia. As the guerrilla and paramilitary offensives have extended throughout the country, increasing numbers of civilians, mostly poor peasant farmers from remote rural areas, have been forced to flee the rising tide of violence. Entire towns with thousands of citizens have been abandoned by a populace terrified by massacres or threat of massacres. Over one million people are estimated to have been displaced since 1985, according to refugee organizations. In the last few years, more and more cases of massive displacements have occurred: 130,000 Colomibans were displaced in 1995, 180,000 in 1996, and 250,000 in 1997, and 350,000 in 1998.54

According to a Colombian non-governmental organization that maintains a data bank on the displaced, 33 percent of those displaced between 1995 and 1997 blamed paramilitaries for their displacement, 28 percent held the guerillas responsible, and 10 percent blamed the armed forces. The rest blamed more than one party or did not know whom to blame for their displacement.55

Some communities have expressed their neutrality in the conflict and declared themselves to be "peace communities." Nevertheless, throughout 1998, there were reports that paramilitaries and the FARC had killed members of these communities, according to Amnesty International.56

Possible Increase of Drug Trafficking in Demilitarized Zone. Many U.S. policymakers have been concerned that President Pastrana's decision to remove security forces from the five demilitarized municipalities would run counter to U.S. efforts to eradicate coca cultivation and control drug trafficking, and could lead to an increase in cultivation in those areas. 57 In early 1999, Administration officials stated that some 3% of Colombia's coca cultivation takes place in the demilitarized zone, and some coca processing labs are located in the demilitarized area. Some suspect the amount has grown: as of February 2000, some U.S. officials state that the guerrillas are forcing peasants to grow coca crops in the zone. According to a State Department official, the "demilitarized" status did not disrupt planned eradication efforts, as those were concentrated on higher priority areas. In addition, the Colombian National Police (CNP) raided a lab in the demilitarized zone in late 1998. Still, the United States capacity to monitor cultivation in the area has fluctuated as surveillance aircraft have been called to other missions.

Policymakers are concerned that the zone may become particularly attractive to traffickers if it becomes a feature of prolonged negotiations, leading to much increased use of the area for production and trafficking. Further, some analysts fear that, in the long run, the weak Colombian military may not provide President Pastrana with the military muscle to negotiate a settlement that would firmly establish government control over the demilitarized zone. They also worry that President Pastrana, or a successor government, might even cede some control to the guerrillas, although Colombian officials deny that they would negotiate such an outcome. This so-called "Balkanization" of Colombia could have adverse affects on perceptions of the Colombian government's legitimacy and even its stability over the long run, and could facilitate the activities of drug traffickers in Colombia.

U.S. Policy Options

As presented to Congress, initially on January 11 and then with the annual budget request on February 7, 2000, the Clinton Administration aid proposal to support the Colombian government's "Plan Colombia" contains over $954 million in supplemental FY2000 funding and over $318 million for FY2001 spending. (This is in addition to about $150 million allocated and planned for existing programs in each fiscal year.) The proposal's centerpiece is the "Push into Southern Colombia" program, which would enable the Colombian government to extend CN activities throughout southern Colombia. The core of the Southern Colombia program would include training and equipping two new army CN battalions, and purchasing Black Hawk and Huey helicopters to transport them. Total funding for the Southern Colombia (SC) program is set at $512 million in FY2000 and $88 million in FY2001. Of this, AID would receive $31 million ($12 million in FY2000 and $19 million in FY2001) to resettle and fund alternative economic opportunities for peasants who would be deprived of their livelihood by operations in Southern Colombia.

The remaining proposed assistance, to be administered by six agencies, is divided into five other categories. These are: (1) drug trafficking interdiction, (2) improving CNP eradication capabilities, (3) economic development, (4) "boosting government capacity," i.e., funding to support human rights monitors and improve the justice system and the rule of law; and (5) other economic assistance and assistance for the peace process.

(CRS Report RL30541 provides details on the Administration proposal, and compares it with other legislation. At the time of this update, the comparison is with H.R. 3908, the emergency supplemental appropriations bill as passed by the House March 30. The bill allocates some $1.4 billion for FY2000 and FY2001 emergency spending for the same purposes as the Administration proposal.)

Colombia's current dilemmas have led to a wide range of opinion about the desirability of altering current U.S. policy and the uses of further aid. Many see the Pastrana peace initiative, which seeks to incorporate the guerrillas into an improved version of Colombia's current democratic system, as providing a needed context for the discussion about Colombia's future; they believe it should be supported whether or not it produces an agreement with the guerrillas in the short run. Virtually all analysts, from a wide range of political perspectives, argue that the United States should be concerned with the problem presented by the paramilitary groups. Differences arise over specific approaches to dealing with drug trafficking and the leftist guerrillas, however. This has led to an active debate over U.S. options, particularly regarding the levels, purposes, and circumstances of U.S. assistance. One unknown factor, which may cause opinion to change over time, is the possible reaction of drug traffickers to alterations in U.S. policy.

Increase Military Aid. Some policymakers and analysts have argued that the United States should increase military aid, some in line with the amount proposed by the Administration. Many would continue to limit that assistance to just counternarcotics purposes, such as greater support and equipment for interdiction and eradication. They believe substantially more assistance, particularly helicopters that can operate at higher altitudes to eradicate opium poppies, are needed by the Colombian army to enable it to provide protection for police operations and to keep the Colombian police from losing ground in their counternarcotics efforts. Others, however, argue that the Administration package provides too much aid to the Colombian military while shortchanging the CNP, which has already proved itself effective in the kinds of operations that aid to the military is designed to allow the army to assist in. 58

Some also believe that the United States should allow assistance of the sort that is currently provided for counternarcotics efforts, such as intelligence and training, to be provided for both counternarcotics and counterinsurgency purposes. Those who argue for dual purpose aid draw the line at direct U.S. battlefield involvement, however; one such analyst urged Congress to place limits on any military assistance to ensure that U. S. soldiers do not "participate in battles between the Colombian army and drug-trafficking rebels." 59

Many policymakers and analysts argue that increased counternarcotics aid, provided to the military, is necessary to provide an incentive for the guerrillas to negotiate. They believe that the primary obstacle to the peace process is the guerrillas' ability to bring in substantial funds from their participation in the illegal narcotics trade. This, they argue, might force the Colombian government to accept a peace accord which would allow the guerrillas a large degree of autonomy over areas where they now have control and where they would continue to grow and process coca unimpeded. In addition, some note that a major reason for the creation and growth of the paramilitaries is that Colombian police and military forces cannot provide protection throughout large parts of Colombia. If the paramilitaries are to be dismantled, they argue, the United States will need to provide the assistance necessary to expand substantially the areas in which police and military troops operate.

In addition, some argue that increased aid would enable the police and military not only to mount more effective counternarcotics efforts, but also, with greater training, intelligence, and other types of support applicable to counterinsurgency, to perform more effectively in strictly counterinsurgency operations. They worry that without substantially more assistance, the Colombian military might at best remain on the defensive against guerrilla attacks and may, within the next few years, suffer significant defeats. However, some analysts who favor increased military aid, even extending to counterinsurgency purposes, caution that it may well be a few years before the military could take the offensive against the guerrillas.60 Others also believe that pressures to dismantle the paramilitaries before the military becomes more effective and can operate over a larger area may relieve any existing pressures on the guerrillas to negotiate.

Some analysts warn that any increase in military aid for eradication efforts may have unintended consequences, some of which it may be possible to guard against by funding a timely program to provide alternative employment for those whose crops are destroyed. For instance, some claim that, in the current economic conditions, many peasants without such alternatives would take up arms offered by guerrillas to defend their crops. The guerrillas could portray the deaths of such peasants as a result of yanqui imperialism, and claim that as a rationale for stalling or pulling out of peace talks.61 (According to a news report of February 2000, the Colombian Defense Minister fear that there will be violent protests when the U.S. trained Colombian Army Counternarcotics Battalion begins operations this year in the southern state of Putumayo, where guerrillas are active. At least six protesters were killed in 1996, when tens of thousands of coca growers marched to protest eradication policies. 62) Alternatively, some coca growers in guerrilla areas might decide simply to move elsewhere to work in areas where drug traffickers run coca plantations or even where paramilitaries provide protection, thus increasing the revenues and power of traffickers and paramilitaries. There does not appear to be sufficient information on the structure of coca and heroin production to evaluate possible effects.

Continue Aid at Current Levels. Other analysts argue that assistance might best be kept at FY1998 or FY1999 levels, or lower. Some view the increase in U.S. assistance in FY1998 (up about $50 million over 1997) as a factor bringing the guerrillas to agree to peace talks with the Pastrana government, and believe that continued assistance at some level will provide an incentive for guerrillas to continue negotiating. However, they fear that increasing aid, particularly if it were focused more on the military than on police forces, would provide the guerrillas with a rationale for breaking off peace talks and placing the blame on the United States. This, they argue, could create an emotional reaction among Colombians that would heighten anti-American sentiments and serve to legitimize the guerrillas and the drug trade. Continuing some aid, these analysts argue, would provide the Colombian government the assistance necessary for continued counternarcotics operations and sufficient leverage on the military to reform and to cut ties with paramilitary groups, but would not give the guerrillas a propaganda tool.

Condition Military Aid More Stringently. Among those who favor continued aid, whether at reduced, current, or increased levels, many believe that the United States should impose new conditions on the Colombian military and government. These conditions would serve several purposes.

In addition to retaining current conditions that assistance only be provided to security forces which respect human rights, many policymakers and analysts believe that the United States must devise conditions that will halt paramilitary activities. The paramilitary groups, many argue, present not only an obstacle to the peace process, as their continued existence discourages guerrillas from negotiating, establishing a cease-fire, and ultimately laying down their arms, but also a threat to the government, as their activities undermine the legitimacy of the state. (On the other hand, paramilitaries and their supporters would argue that their actions provide an incentive for the guerrillas to negotiate, and that the paramilitaries themselves, as groups with political ideas and a popular following in some areas, should be part of the negotiation.) Possible conditions could refuse aid to military and police forces that provide support to paramilitary groups (see proposed language of S. 1748, in the section on Congressional concerns, above), have links to paramilitary groups, or even those that are found to have tolerated paramilitary activities. Some would argue further that the United States should also seek the dismantling of the paramilitary groups as a condition for continued military aid, on the grounds that the military could influence the major groups to disarm. 63

Some would impose greater conditions on the military, providing assistance only if the military evidences good faith in supporting a negotiated solution to the guerrilla conflict. Those who argue for conditions of this sort believe that guerrilla leaders are sincere in seeking peace, and that neither their ideology nor their income from the drug trade is an obstacle to a settlement. They argue that the leaders are pragmatists rather than ideologues, that their recent political statements have sought reform rather than revolution, and that the guerrillas' income from illegal activities is spent to maintain their fighting force, and will no longer be needed when the conflict ends.64 They also note that the Colombian military has hindered previous peace efforts, most recently in the Samper Administration (1994-1998).

Other analysts argue that the United States should not provide greater assistance unless the Colombian people, particularly the business class, are willing to bear a greater part of the burden. In particular, they argue that Colombians must pay more taxes to support the security forces and to fund a good part of the potential costs of post-war reconstruction. Some also believe that the government should lift restrictions on military service, which provide that no one with a high-school diploma or higher will be sent into combat. This not only protects the middle classes and elite from danger when called under Colombia's universal conscription, but also reduces the potential of the Colombian military, depriving it of needed brainpower in combat and lessening the urgency for many voters of providing the military with the resources to fight efficiently.

Terminate Aid to the Military. Two schools of thought underlie arguments that the United States should terminate all assistance to the military (although not necessarily to the police forces.) Some analysts argue that such aid only undermines the peace process by strengthening an abusive, inept and insubordinate army that has no desire to reform or negotiate peace with the guerrillas, and will only block any attempts to reach a reasonable settlement. Other analysts fear that continued U.S. military assistance will allow the guerrillas to convincingly blame the United States if they pull out of talks. Some also argue that the United States may not be able to function as an "honest broker" in the search for an acceptable peace settlement if it is providing military aid, especially if that aid is used for or linked to counterinsurgency purposes.

Broaden U.S. Policy to Provide Multi-faceted Aid, and Deemphasize Counternarcotics Efforts. Many analysts argue that the United States should substantially broaden the scope of funding that it provides to include support for economic, social and political reform, and encourage international donors to contribute aid. These analysts attribute Colombian production of illegal narcotics and the armed violence in large part to institutional and socioeconomic weaknesses, which they argue must be addressed, and note that substantial U.S. assistance for interdiction and eradication has not lead to a decrease in supply. 65 While those who agree with this conclusion have different views on the desirability of aid to the police and military and on its appropriate levels, many view the current U.S. policy emphasis -- and that of the Clinton Administration 2000 proposal -- on counternarcotics as an impediment to a resolution of the Colombian crisis, arguing that the continued emphasis on counternarcotics may well exacerbate the guerrilla conflict. The central dilemma of U.S. policy they identify is that increasing counternarcotics efforts "will push more campesinos into the arms of anyone who can help them," including paramilitary groups and the insurgents.66 Thus, many suggest that counternarcotics may have to take second place in promoting peace. 67

Instead, they argue that the United States should support the Colombian government in devising and implementing agrarian reform and rural development programs which will provide peasants with land and the ability to work it profitably. These could include zones of development established during the conflict in areas where the guerrillas do not currently operate. Such zones, they argue, would not only provide a buffer against further guerrilla expansion, but demonstrate to rebel fighters that (1) the government is willing to make significant socioeconomic reforms, and (2) they would be capable of earning a livelihood if they demobilized. In the long run, these analysts argue, a peace settlement and rural development will do more to curb the production and trafficking of illegal narcotics than will continuing current eradication and other police and military counternarcotics efforts that deprive rural inhabitants of their livelihoods. Others who favor alternative development argue, however, that it must be carried out in conjunction with eradication efforts, because coca profits are so high that growers must be offered both incentives and disincentives if they are to replace coca plants.

Assistance is also required in other areas, according to these analysts. These areas include: humanitarian aid for displaced persons, increased funding for judicial reform, and assistance that would promote social and political reforms, including funding for the growing movement of non-governmental organizations that seek to broaden the political system. Some analysts also recommend that the United States help strengthen Colombia's economy by extending the Andean Trade Preference Initiative, which provides duty-free access to U. S. markets for many Colombian products. Currently, it will expire in 2001.

To secure economic and social assistance of the magnitude that President Pastrana requested in September 1999, international financial institutions and many other countries would have to contribute. Some analysts suggest that an international coalition to provide such assistance "can be assembled only with the leadership of the United States." 68

Some policymakers and analysts argue, however, that U.S. and other international assistance is unlikely to wean Colombia from the drug economy, and improve the political system, without broad social and political changes. These include both those who would argue that such aid would be of little use without a prior demonstration from the Colombian elite of its commitment to carry out necessary reforms, and others who argue that substantial international funding could provide the cushion necessary to make such reforms palatable. Some Colombian analysts have viewed the rise of drug trafficking in Colombia as the result of many intangible factors, including "weakening of religious values, secularisation [sic], the desire for enrichment, the toleration of corruption, the use of violence and the absence of penal sanctions" as both contributing to the development of the drug trade and its corruption of state institutions, and as a result of its existence.69 In addition, many link the current political violence to the 1957 "National Front" political settlement, which resolved the country's political problems at the elite level, but did virtually nothing to address the country's widespread social problems or to bring the majority of the population into the political system. Many also blame the intransigence of economic interests and a lack of political will in several successive governments for the failure of subsequent attempts at agrarian reform and other rural improvements.


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Appendix A.
Scope of and Restrictions on Current U.S. Assistance to
Colombia

U. S. assistance to Colombia, virtually all of it related to counternarcotics efforts, has increased steadily over the last five years. (See Table A at the end of this section.) The United States provides equipment, supplies, and other aid for the counternarcotics efforts, largely for the Colombian National Police, with some assistance to the Colombian military. Most of the funding supports the tracking, interdiction and arrest of traffickers, the destruction of laboratories, and eradication efforts. A small amount supports reforms to the judicial system, and alternative development.

The State Department has been the primary agency in counternarcotics efforts, providing most of the funding for the efforts of the other civilian agencies involved. These agencies include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Agency for International Development. They work with Colombia's judicial system to improve law enforcement capabilities, criminal justice procedures, and the accessibility and fairness of the justice system. They also assist Colombia's eradication and interdiction efforts, providing training, equipment, and spare parts. The State Department runs an air wing which supplies aircraft for the eradication program.

The Department of Defense (DOD) is also a major, and increasingly controversial, source of funding for Colombian counternarcotics efforts. It has provided support for Colombian efforts to detect and monitor illicit narcotics operations, principally the maintenance of five radar sites in Colombia. DOD has also conducted surveillance overflights from locations outside Colombia.70 DOD has also worked with Colombian Naval units to build a riverine patroling and interdiction capability. Through Section 506 (a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, DOD has provided substantial amounts of equipment to the Colombian military and police. In 1999, DOD began to assist in establishing and training a special counternarcotics battalion of some 950 members, which commenced operations late in 1999. It will conduct its own counternarcotics missions and assist the CNP in its operations.71 U.S. uniformed military personnel stationed in Colombia numbered about 80 as of early February 2000. In addition, the number of U. S. military trainers on rotation in Colombia at any one time generally has fluctuated between 175 and 250.

In addition, the United States is funding the construction of the Joint Intelligence Center (JIQ) at Tres Esquinas in southwest Colombia. U.S. officials expect the JIC to strengthen police and military intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities, and encourage the sharing of intelligence between the police and military. (According to U.S. officials, currently the police are reluctant to share intelligence with corresponding military units because of suspicions that they are corrupted by narcotraffickers.)

Many critics of military assistance argue that although provided for counternarcotics purposes, it can often be used to further counterinsurgency efforts. News reports in the summer of 1998 alleged that the United States had provided covert assistance to the Colombian military for counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations, including the participation of active duty military personnel and private contractors.72 At the same time, the press reported the presence of U.S. special operations forces who were training with Colombian military units under the Joint Combined Exchange Training program (U.S.C. Title 10, Section 2011),73 which some interpreted as providing de facto counterinsurgency aid. Although the Clinton Administration denies that the United States provides counterinsurgency assistance, analysts acknowledge that some types of U.S. counternarcotics training provide lessons that can also be applied to counterinsurgency operations. The Clinton Administration has also held that assistance provided to police and military forces in operations targeted at guerrilla drug production or protection activities fits within the definition of counternarcotics aid. In March 1999, the Administration expanded the conditions under which it provides intelligence to Colombian security forces, routinely providing a Colombian police-military Joint Task Force with intelligence information related to the guerrillas, whether or not that information is strictly related to their narcotics activities. Although the United States provides the information to assist with counternarcotics operations, the General Accounting Office reported that the U. S. Embassy in Colombia "does not have a system to ensure that it is not being used for other than counternarcotics purposes." 74

Human Rights Concerns and the "Leahy Amendment" Restrictions

In 1996, Congress adopted the first "Leahy Amendment" provisions in the FY1997 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (as contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 1997, P.L. 104-208). These provisions prohibited the use of FY1997 International Narcotics funds appropriated by the act for assistance to any unit of foreign security forces "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..." In FY1998 (P.L. 105-118, Section 570) and subsequent foreign operations appropriations, this restriction was extended to all other funds made available by the act, including RMET (International Military Education and Training funds), and IMF (Foreign Military Financing). 75

In addition, Congress attached another "Leahy Amendment" restriction to the Department of Defense FYI 999 Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-262).76 As a result of reports that the United States military was providing training to Colombian troops with funds exempt from previous Leahy restrictions, Congress decided to prohibit the use of any funds appropriated by the act "to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary coffective steps have been taken." There are provisions for a waiver in extraordinary circumstances. A related provision in the FY 1999 Foreign Operations appropriations as included in the omnibus appropriations, required the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense to provide jointly to Congress, by January 31, 1999, a report on all overseas military training provided to foreign military personnel under programs administered by DOD and the State Department, including the foreign policy justification and purpose for the training activity, the number of foreign students trained and their unit of operation, the location of the training, and the operational benefit to U.S. military forces and units.

FY2000 Human Rights Restrictions: Texts of the Leahy Amendments

FY1999 restrictions on funding or training of human rights abusers -- the so-called Leahy Amendments -- are continued in FY2000 legislation.

    • The conference report version of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2000 (H.R. 2606, H.Rept. 106-339) contains the "Leahy Amendment" prohibition on providing funds in the act (which include International Narcotics funds, MET, and IMF) to any unit of foreign security forces found to have committed gross violations of human rights. The language is as follows:

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 to believe 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: Provided, That nothing in this section shall be construed to withhold funds made available by this Act from any unit of the security forces of a foreign country not credibly alleged to be involved in gross violations of human rights: Provided further, That in the event that funds are withheld from any unit pursuant to this section, the Secretary of State shall promptly inform the foreign government of the basis for such action and shall, to the maximum extent practicable, assist the foreign government in taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces to justice.

    • The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2000, (P.L. 106-79, H.R. 2561) contains the following human rights restrictions on DOD training:

SEC. 8100. TRAINING AND OTIIER PROGRAMS. (a) PROHIBITION- None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken. (b) MONITORING- The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall ensure that prior to a decision to conduct any training program referred to in subsection (a), full consideration is given to all credible information available to the Department of State relating to human rights violations by foreign security forces. (c) WAIVER- The Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Secretary of State, may waive the prohibition in subsection (a) if he determines that such waiver is required by extraordinary circumstances. (d) REPORT- Not more than 15 days after the exercise of any waiver under subsection (c), the Secretary of Defense shall submit a report to the congressional defense committees describing the extraordinary circumstances, the purpose and duration of the training program, the United States forces and the foreign security forces involved in the training program, and the information relating to human rights violations
that necessitates the waiver.


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Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Colombia, FY1995-FY1999
(Obligations and authorizations, $ millions)

Category of Foreign Aid or
Other Assistance
FY1995 FY1996 FY1997 FY1998 FY1999 FY2000a
State Dept/International Narcotics and Law (INL)

16.4

16.3

38.2

43.0

32.7

50.0

IAE Air Wing

1.5

5.9

19.0

24.0

30.0

35.0

IAE Huey Upgrades

0

0

3.2

14.0

40.0

--

Other; b
UH-60 Helicopters:
Other police aid:
A-3 7 upgrades and radar:

--

--

--

--


96.0
23.2
14.0

--

Agency for International
Development (AID)c

0.1

0.12

0.05

0.02

--

--

International Military
Education and Training (IMET)

0.6

0.1

0.1

0.7

0.9

0.9

Foreign Military Financing

10.0

0

--

--

--

--

Administration of Justice (AOJ)

0

0

1.8

2.0

1.8

--

Department of Defense (DOD)
Sec. 1004/124

NA

NA

42.8

39.7

51.8

60.9

DOD Sec. 1033

NA

NA

NA

2.0

13.3

17.2

DOD Sec. 506 Drawdown

0

40.0

14.2

41.2

58.1

--

Other Section 506 Drawdown
(Departs. Of Transportation,Justice, State and Treasury)
       

14.5

 
Totals:

29.6

62.42

119.35

166.62

375.4

164.0

Sources: Department of State (December 14, 1999 for FY1999, January 27 for FY2000); Department of Defense, January 5, 2000 for revised 1999 and FY2000. DEA, Sept. 14, 1999. This chart includes direct U.S. foreign assistance (i.e., the categories usually counted as U.S. foreign aid, which are in italics) plus the costs of goods and services provided to Colombia from other U. S. government programs supporting counternarcotics efforts in Colombia. The United States also provides a small amount of DOD Excess Defense Articles (EDA) to Colombia. Other funds are spent in Colombia on counternarcotics and other activities that are considered part of U. S. programs: for instance, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spends its own funds on joint operations in Colombia, and U.S. special forces train Colombian military personnel under the Joint Combined Exercise Training (JCET) program whose primary purpose is to train U.S. troops.

a These allocations are from funds appropriated during 1999. The DOD Section 1004/124 and Section 1033 amounts are expected to change, the INL Air Wing may change.

b From FYI 999 Supplemental Appropriations funding.

c AID pipeline funding of $5.0 million authorized in previous years was expended in FY1999, AID also provided some earthquake disaster relief in FY1999. FMF pipeline funding of $13 million authorized prior to FYI 995 and funding available from the FYI 995 IMF authorization was intended to be expended from mid-FYI 997 through FY1999.

NOTE: This chart also appears in CRS Report RS20451. That report will be more frequently updated than this one, therefore more recent aid s may be available in that report.


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Appendix B.
Overview of the FARC and the ELN
77

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberaci6n Nacional, or ELN) both trace their roots back to the warfare of the late 1940s, and were formally organized in the mid-1960s. They are the last of several leftist guerrilla groups which have challenged the Colombian government. The others have largely withered or have joined the political process through peace accords. [A third group, the Popular Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberaci6n Popular, or ELP), is much smaller and apparently largely inactive.]

The harshness and limitations of life in rural areas are often cited as the contributing greatly to the decisions of peasants and other rural dwellers to join the guerrillas. For generations, political conflict in the rural areas has been fed by high levels of poverty among peasants who have been deprived of their land or adequate resources to farm it. In the 1950s, peasants developed armed movements to defend their land against members of the elite who sought to acquire large estates; some subsequently were incorporated into guerrilla groups during and after the 1960s. Even where peasants managed to retain their land initially, they often were forced to sell and move elsewhere because the soil was depleted and when they could no longer afford or because it became increasingly unprofitable to compete with large-scale agriculture.

The FARC was organized in 1966 among peasants living in the remote, isolated mountainous areas largely between Bogota and Cali. There, the Communist Party had organized communities, later dubbed "independent republics," during the early years of la violencia in the late 1940s and the 1950s. The independent republics existed in areas where the national government either had no presence, or its local authorities conceded control to the "republican" leadership. FARC founders, including current leader, Manuel Marulanda Velez (nicknamed Tirofijo, i.e., Sure Shot), of a peasant background, were members of Colombia's Communist Party Central Committee, and identified with a Soviet Marxist-Leninist ideology. Until the mid1960s, the Communist Party had advocated "mass struggle" using the constitutional, electoral system rather than armed opposition to gain power. It organized an armed movement, however, in response to the army's counterinsurgency efforts beginning in 1961, which destroyed the independent republics, and the National Liberation Army's initiation of armed struggle. Although powerful in its first two years, the FARC was debilitated by 1968, but revitalized during the late 1970s.

The ELN launched operations in early 1965. Its leader was a student who had taken part in the Workers', Students' and Peasants' Movement (MOEC). MOEC militants thought they could bring about armed struggle by rearming and organizing peasant guerrillas. In 1984, the ELN began to take action against international petroleum companies operating in Colombia, including the kidnapping of executives, engineers, and other workers, sabotage of pipelines, and extortion of funds. It continues these activities. Unlike all other Colombian guerrilla groups, the ELN has never negotiated independently with the Colombian government; it has only engaged in peace negotiations as part of an alliance with the FARC.

Previous Negotiation Attempts

During the 1980s, the FARC engaged in peace negotiations with successive Colombian administrations, and attempted to join the political process. In March 1984, FARC signed the La Uribe cease-fire agreement in exchange for promises from then-President Belisario Betancour (1982-1986) that his government would present legislation to Congress to improve living conditions for the poor. The accord took effect in May. Although most of the FARC members at that time apparently abandoned armed struggle, some fronts refused to participate. In 1985, those FARC adherents pursuing the political path created the Union Patriotica (Patriotic Union or UP), which won 1.4% of the vote in March 1986 congressional elections and 4% in the May 1986 presidential elections. Although the UP distanced itself from the FARC fighting force, its candidates and followers became targets for assassination. (In late 1987, UP leader and its 1986 presidential candidate, Jaime Pardo Leal, was murdered; by 1989, the UP counted several hundred murdered members, and by 1985, some 2,000.) In July 1987, the main FARC organization resumed armed struggle, joining the ELN and four other guerrilla groups in September 1987 in the Sim6n Bolivar Guerrilla Coordinating Group (CGSB)

Less than two years later, the FARC again attempted to negotiate with the government, but mainly, according to some analysts, because it feared losing political ground to another major CGSB member, the M-19, which had begun to negotiate with the government of Virgilio Barco (1986-1990). In early 1989, the FARC declared a unilateral cease-fire and organized a "commission of notables" which included two former Colombian presidents (one of them Misael Pastrana Borrero, father of the current president) to mediate negotiations with the Barco government. The M-19 laid down its arms in March 1990, forming a political party. During the 1990 presidential election, two former guerrilla candidates were killed: UP candidate Bernardo Jaramillo in March and, in April, Carlos Pizarro, the M-19 guerrilla commander who ran for president on the leftist banner after Jaramillo's death. Despite their deaths, and those of other guerrillas who had joined the political process, the M-19 gained almost 27% of the vote in December 1990 constituent assembly elections. (The killers were not identified in most cases, but they were presumed to be linked to drug interests and paramilitary groups.)

For the next decade, no progress was made in talks between the government and the FARC and ELN, despite continuing initiatives by both sides. In the early 1990s, President Barco's attempts at negotiations with the FARC, ELN, and smaller CGSB groups floundered because, according to some analysts, the FARC and ELN leadership continued to believe that a military victory was possible. This conviction, and the continuing murders of demobilized guerrillas, left the FARC and the ELN as the two major holdouts in peace negotiations with the administration of President C6sar Gaviria (1990-1994), during which several smaller guerrilla groups joined the political process through negotiations. By late 1991, the FARC and ELN had begun a crusade to undermine elections, starting with the municipal elections in October. (It has carried out such tactics in several elections since then.) FARC also began that year to kill demobilized EPL (Ej6rcito Popular de Liberaci6n) guerrillas and its supporters who had formed a political party. Attempts at negotiation by Gaviria's successor, Ernesto Samper (1994-1998), failed to prosper. Among the reasons for the failure, according to some analysts, was that the guerrillas distrusted Samper, who, under pressure from the military, had reneged on promises to create a demilitarized zone to pursue talks. In addition, guerrillas saw no advantage in dealing with a political discredited by his acceptance of campaign contributions from drug traffickers.


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Appendix C.
Current FARC Position

The FARC's " 10-point" negotiating agenda,78 presented to the government when talks commenced in January 1999 calls for far-reaching political, economic, and military reforms. Statements by FARC leader Manuel Marulanda Velez ("Tirofijo") in January 1998 concerning that agenda suggested that the guerrillas were still intent on seeking broad change of a socialist nature, which would incorporate the lessons learned from the Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese and Cuban experiences.79 The agenda first called for a political solution to the country's conflict. The other points included:

  • Political reforms, with a reorganization of various state institutions, including the legislature, the court system, and the attorney general's office, in order to provide "democratic participation at the national, regional, and municipal levels in the decisions that commit the future of society."

  • Economic reforms, including state investment in "strategic areas of national industry," 50% of the national budget invested in social welfare, a reorganization of the tax system to redistribute wealth, an agrarian reform to redistribute land and agricultural policies which would provide ample credit, technical and marketing assistance to producers.

  • Changes regarding the security forces, including a revision of military doctrine to base it on defending Colombia's borders rather than on internal control, reduction of the size of the military and its budget, and the separation of the police from the military hierarchy.

  • Changes in international relations, including a review of military agreements, measures to protect the Colombian economy against international competition, renegotiation of the foreign debt to secure a 10-year moratorium, and "a solution to the phenomenon of production, marketing, and consumption of narcotics and hallucinogens" that would involve "international communities and the commitment of the large powers..."

  • Renegotiation of "detrimental" contracts signed with multinational companies to exploit natural resources such as petroleum, gas, coal, gold, nickel and emeralds "for the benefit of the regions and the country."


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Bibliography 80

Bergquist, Charles, Ricardo Penaranda, and Gonzalo Sanchez, eds. Violence in Colombia: the Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1992.

Crandall, Russell. The End of Conflict in Colombia: The Military, Paramilitaries, and a New Role for the United States. SAIS Review. Vol 19, No. 1. 1999.

Chernick, Mark. Negotiating Peace Amid Multiple Forms of Violence: The Protracted Search for a Settlement to the Armed Conflict in Colombia, in Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America, edited by Cynthia Arnson. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Eisenstadt, Todd, and Daniel Garcia. Colombia: Negotiations in a Shifting Pattern of Insurgency, in Elusive Peace: Negotiating an End to Civil Wars, edited by 1. William Zartman. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995.

Gott, Richard. Guerrilla Movements in Latin America. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., 1970.

Hanratty, Dennis M. and Sandra W. Meditz, eds. Colombia: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1990.

Marcella, Gabriel, and Donald E. Schulz. War and Peace in Colombia. The Washington Quarterly.
Summer 1999.

Martz, John D. The Politics of Clientelism: Democracy and the State in Colombia. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1997.

Melo, Jorge Orlando. "The Drug Trade, Politics and the Economy: The Colombian Experience," in Latin America and the Multinational Drug Trade, Elizabeth Joyce and Carlos Malamud, eds. New York: St. Martin's Press: 1998.

Pereyra, Daniel. Del Moncada a Chiapas: Historia de la Lucha Armada en America Latina (1950-1990). Madrid: Los Libros de la Catarata, 1994.

Richani, Nazih. The Political Economy of Violence: The War System in Colombia. Journal of Interamerican Studies & WorldAffairs. Summer 1997.

Shifter, Michael. Colombia on the Brink. Foreign Affairs. July/August 1999.
--. Colombia at War. Current History. March 1999.

Thourni, Francisco. Political Economy and Illegal Drugs in Colombia. Boulder, CO:
Lynn Rienner Publishers, 1995.


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Footnotes:

  1. The Medellin cartel became prominent in the early 1980s, as cocaine replaced marijuana as Colombia's primary illegal export and Colombia became the source of most of the world's supply. It attempted to force the government to desist from counternarcotics efforts, largely through assassinations and bombings. In the 1980s and early 1990s, hundreds of policemen, judges, and journalists, as well as four presidential candidates were killed, and the Medellin cartel was believed responsible for many of the killings. The cartel's leader, Pablo Escobar, was killed by security forces after escaping from jail in December 1993. Other cartel leaders were arrested; in 1996, Escobar's No. 2 man, Jorge Luis Ochoa, and Ochoa's two brothers, Juan David and Fabio, were released.

    The Cali cartel operated differently, insinuating itself into elite social and political circles, and depending largely on corruption rather than violence to achieve its ends. Much more sophisticated than the Medellin cartel, Call cartel shipped large quantities of cocaine to the United States and invented sophisticated money-laundering schemes. At the height of its power earlier in the 1990s, the Call cartel earned annual revenues of $7 billion, according to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The cartel's activity reportedly declined after the June 1995 arrest of cartel leader Gilberto Rodriquez Orejuela, and the subsequent arrest of the remaining top leaders by September 1996.

  2. U.S. Department of State. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1999. Released March 2000. http://www.state.gov/www/global/narcotics_law/1999_narc_report/samer99_part3.html.

  3. Congressional testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, John P. Leonard, before the Senate Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, Narcotics, and Terrorism, March 24, 1999.

  4. As of 1997, 54% of Colombia's rural inhabitants lived in poverty, and more than half of those inhabitants (29% of all rural inhabitants) lived in extreme poverty. In urban areas, 39% of the inhabitants lived in poverty, and 15% lived in extreme poverty, United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Panorama Social; 1998. LC/G.2050-P. April 1999, p.19.

  5. For more information on the displaced persons in Colombia, see CRS Report RL30314, Colombia: Human Rights Conditions and U.S. Concerns.

  6. This was a very preliminary for 1998, from estimates being prepared by the Colombian government, Larry Rohter, Colombia Adjusts Economic Figures to Include Its Drug Crops. The New York Times, June 27, 1999. P.3.

  7. Colombia is the United States' twenty-sixth largest export market (in 1997 and 1998) and its fifth largest trading partner in Latin America after Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. The United States is Colombia's major trading partner, with $11 billion in two-way trade in 1998. (U.S. exports to Colombia constituted 41.5% of all Colombian imports in 1997, and Colombian exports to the United States were 38% of all Colombain exports.) U.S. exports to Colombia include vehicles, agricultural products, electrical power generators and other machinery, chemicals and plastics. U.S. imports of Colombian goods include petroleum, coffee, cut flowers, semiprecious stones, sugar, and tropical fruits.

  8. John Otis. Death in a Hot Zone: How three American activists were killed in Colombian Drame of Rebels, Oil, Indians. The Houston Chronicle. October 3, 1999. p.A!.

  9. Gabriel Marcella and Donald Schultz. Colombia's Three Wars: U.S. Strategy at the Crossroads, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, March 5, 1999, pp.19-20. [http://carlisle.army.mil/usassi/ssipubs/pubs99/3wars/3wars.htm].

  10. For more on the effects of the Colombia situation on Ecuador, see: CRS Report RS20494, Ecuador: International Narcotics Control Issues.

  11. Jacobs, Andrew. 3 Kidnapped Americans Killed: Colombian Rebels are Suspected. The New York Times, March 6, 1999.

  12. For Analysis and theories of the possible causes of Colombian violence, see the Berquist, Chernick, and Thoumi works cited in the Bibliography.

  13. The information on guerrilla human rights violations in this paragraph is from U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Colombia Country Report for Human Rights Practices for 1998, February 26, 1999. [http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/1998_hrp_report/colombia.html]. For more information on guerrilla violations, as well as those of the paramilitary and the security forces, see CRS Report RL30314, Colombia: Human Rights Conditions and U.S. Concerns.

  14. Jineth Bedoya Lima. The Air Power of the Guerrillas and "Paras." From Semana, July 5, 1999, as translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Document # FTS19990707000040.

  15. Arturo Alape. The Possibilities for Peace, in NACLA Report on the Americas, March/April 1998, p. 36.

  16. Remarks by Daniel Garcia-Pena during a May 1998 conference organized by the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center, as published by the center in Peace and Human Rights in Colombia in Comparative Perspective, a Special Edition of Noticias, December 1998. Garcia-Pena was at that time Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace.

  17. Laura Brooks. Debacle in Colombia Shows Rebel Strength. The Washington Post, August 6, 1998.

  18. Tim Johnson. Colombia says it halted guerrillas, killing 200. The Miami Herald, July 12, 1999.

  19. Security Agency Says Urban Militias Gaining Strength. El Espectador (Internet Version). May 14, 1999, as translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Document # FTS10009515001028. A July 1999 poll conducted in four Colombian cities (Bogota, Cali, Medellin, and Barranquilla) found, however, that many urban dwellers have negative views of the guerrillas, with 79% believing they aid and abet narotraffickers, 93% believing they violate human rights, and 78% believing the FARC is not committed to reaching a peace agreement (79% in the case of the ELN). From a summary "Colombians Voice Overwhelming Pessimism," prepared by USIA's Office of Research and Media Reaction (M-150-99), August 4, 1999, of a Gallup poll. There was no information on opinions concerning the guerrillas' political, social, and economic positions.

  20. Alfredo Molano, "Violence and Land Colonization," in Charles Bergquist, Richardo Penaranda, and Gonzalo Sanchez, ed. Violence in Colombia: the Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1992. Pp.210-216.

  21. Department of Defense briefing, August 1998.

  22. James L. Zackrison and Eileen Bailey. Colombian Sovereignty Under Seige, National Defense University Strategic Forum, No.112, May 1997, p.3. (From the web version at [http://www.ndu.edu/inss/strforum/forum112.html]

  23. Juanita Darling. U.S. Is losing War on Drugs in Colombia. Los Angeles Times, August 8, 1999, p.1.

  24. Colombian Sovereignty Under Seige, op.cit, p.1.

  25. Tim Golden and Steven Lee Myers. U.S. Plans Big Aid Package to Rally a Reeling Colombia. The New York Times, September 15, 1999, p. A12.

  26. Joint Study Sums Up FARC, ELN Earnings. From El Tiempo, May 17, 1999, as translated by FBIS, Document # FTS199990517001601. The study was prepared by Colombia's National Planning Department and the Colombian Army.

  27. Sources for this section include: Human Rights Watch. Colombia's Killer Networks: the Military-Paramilitary Partnership and the United States, New York; Human Rights Watch, November 1996; Amnesty International. Colombia: Paramilitaries, "Disappearance" and Impunity. Document No. AMR 23/39/1998, June 1998. [http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/aipub/1998/AMR/22303998.htm]; Guy Guliotta and Jeff Leen. Kings of Cocaine: Inside the Medellin Cartel, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989; and Human Rights Watch. War without Quarter: Colombia and International Humanitarian Law, 1998. [http://www.hrw.org/report98/colombia].

  28. See: Human Rights Watch, November 1996, op.cit.,pp.10-16, Human Rights Watch describes the use of civilian for counterinsurgency tasks as consistent with "a well-developed U.S. cold war strategy." The U.S. military provided advice and training for the Colombian counterinsurgency campaign in the 1960s. For information on the legal basis for paramilitary groups in the 1960s see: Washington Office On Latin America. i pp.78-83; for information on the Convivir groups, see: Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Third Report of the Human Rights Situation in Colombia. OEA/Ser.L/V/II,102,Doc.9,rev.1, February 26, 1999, pp.22-23,27; and War Without Quarter, op.cit, pp.88-99. The Colombian government ceased authorizing the creation of new groups in July 1998; as of December 28, 1999, of the 414 licensed groups, 20 still had licenses in force. The others, according to information provided by Colombian government, no longer had licenses and had ceased operations.

  29. Doug Farah. U.S. Ready to Boost Aid to Troubled Colombia. Washington Post. August 24, 1999. P. A12.

  30. Tim Johnson. Paramilitary Chief Hopeful about Colombian Peace Talks. Miami Herald. March 3, 1999.

  31. War without Quarter, op.cit. p.108.

  32. Interview with Carlos Castano by Maria Cristina Caballero, Cambio 16, December 15, 22, and 29, 1997, as translated and posted on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) website. Entitled "This War Can't Go On Any Longer," the interview can be accessed at [http://www.icij.org] under "Investigative Reports."

  33. The Air Power of the Guerrillas and "Paras," op.cit.

  34. Robin Kirk. A meeting with Paramilitary Leader Carols Castano, in NACLA Report on the Americas, March/April 1998. P.31.

  35. Maria Jimenez Duzan. Castano, the Liberator. From El Espectador, June 17, 1999, as translated by FBIS, Document #FTS199063001514.

  36. Third Report of the Human Rights Situation in Colombia, op.cit.m p.23.

  37. Latin American Regional Reports - Andean Group. June 23, 1998.

  38. See DEA's Congressional Testimony of July 16, 1997, March 12, 1998, and February 25, 2000, at [http://www.usdoj.gov/pubs/cngrtest.].

  39. Http://www.colombialibre.org/entrivis.htm, page 15 of 28.

  40. Statistics, however, are not comprehensive, and year-to-year comparisons are not highly reliable. The numbers of human rights violations for which perpetrators were not identified tends to be high, and was even higher in the mid-1990s. Also the methods and sources used to gather statistics are not uniform among the groups that collect them, and have changed somewhat over the years. There are several groups which keep statistics and human rights violations. Official Colombian sources include the Colombian government's own Human Rights Ombudsman, and as of late the Colombian military itself. Non-governmental organizations include the Colombian commission of Jurists (CCJ), the Free Country Foundation (Fundacion Pais Libre), and the CINEP (the Spanish acronym of the organization whose statistics are used in the annual State Department reports on human rights, translated by State Department as the Center for Investigations and Popular Research).

  41. Colombia Country Report for Human Rights Practices for 1997, 1998, and 1999. The 1999 report, issued on February 25, 2000, is available at http://www.state.gov/www/globa/human_rights/1999_hrp_report/colombia.html. Previous editions are also available through the State Department website.

  42. In a 1999 report, the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights stated that the security forces' action against paramilitary groups was "occasional and not in proportion to the participation of these groups in serious violations of human rights." She also noted that the Prosecutor General's office could not take action against the paramilitaries based on its knowledge of the location of many paramilitary meeting and training sites because it lacked the support of police and army. United Nations. Economic and Social Council. Report of the United Nations High commissioner for Human Rights on the Office in Colombia. E/CN.4/1998/8. March 16, 1999, Point. 36. The report states that many of the member of the prosecutor general's office who were murdered in 1998 were investigating paramilitary groups, and that several other prosecutors investigating paramilitary groups or security forces were forced to quit their jobs for flee the country. See point 58. [http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridoca.nsf-TestFrame/ff030ceede968d518025675900303d8b-Opendocuemnt].

  43. Human Rights Watch. Americas Division. "The Ties That Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links." February 2000, Vol.12, No.1 (B). [http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/colombia/].

  44. Copy of a letter of March 1, 2000, provided by the Embassy of Colombia.

  45. See Appendix B for background on the FARC and ELN, and on their negotiations with previous Colombian administrations.

  46. These points were summarized from the document as it appeared in El Espectador (Internet Version), on January 12, 1999, and translated by FBIS, Document #FTS19990112001695.

  47. The countries were Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and France.

  48. El Otro Despeje. Semana.com. January 14, 2000. [http://www.216.35.197.109/923/actualidad/ZZUIBGI63C.asp]

  49. Statements before the U.N.General Assembly, September 30, 1999. Text supplied by the Colombian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

  50. The Heritage Foundation, in an early 1999 publication, stated that 55,000 Army soldiers "are committed to protecting urban centers, oil fields, and other key installations," while 30,000 are being used for counter-insurgency operations. "Because it is stretched so thin, the army has established small company and platoon-sized posts wherever possible, but this has enabled the rebels to achieve local numerical superiority, a situation that is exacerbated by the lack of equipment of small Colombian units," Tread Cautiously in Colombia's Civil War, by John P. Sweeney. The Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, No.1264, March 25, 1999. [http://www.heritage.org/library/backgrounder/bg1264es.html].

  51. Larry Rohter. Plan to Strengthen Colombia Nudges U.S. for $3.5 Billion, New York Times. September 18, 1999. P.A5.

  52. For more details on the Leahy Amendments, and their texts as included in the FY2000 legislation, see Appendix A.

  53. U.S. counternarcotics assistance has been largely provided thus far to a special counternarcotics unit of the Colombian National Police. Human rights groups have reported only one case of possible human rights abuse by the counternarcotics unit, i.e., they have charged the unit stationed at the Miraflores anti-narcotics base in the department of Guaviare with complicity, along with army and navy units, in the October 18-20, 1997 paramilitary killings. In a letter to the Secretary of State, human rights observers asserted that these forces "actively supported a paramilitary massacre" because they failed to apprehend paramilitary hit men from the "Southern Self-Defense Group" as the killings were carried out over three days. Defenders of the counternarcotics unit claim that the unit was involved in a counternarcotics operation at the time, and state that, in any case, the unit only has jurisdiction over antidrug issues. See Congressional debate of September 16, 19998, Congressional Record, pp.H7848-H7852.

  54. Gallon, Gustavo. The Challenge of Avoiding Colombia's Extinction. Colombia Update. Spring/Summer 1998, p.3. Gallon is the director of the Colombia Commission of Jurists.

  55. Country Report: Colombia. U.S. Committee on Refugees. [No date given.] www.refugees.org/world/countryrpt/amer_carib/colombia.htm. A massive displacement of civilians occurred in early 1998 in the Choco department, near the Panamanian border, which illustrates how the interaction of all parties has interacted to displace rural populations. There, civilians were subjected to sustained attacks by the ACCU paramilitary organizations, aerial bombardments by the army, and reprisal killings by the FARC.

  56. Amnesty International Report 1998: Colombia. op. cit.

  57. The Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act, passed by Congress October 1998 as part of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for FY1999 (P.L.105-2777) stated that assistance should not be provided if the Colombian government permits the establishment of any demilitarized zone where the eradication of drug production by the security forces is prohibited, with a 90-day waiver permitted if the President determines such assistance is in the U.S. national interest. Administration officials have stated that this prohibition would only apply if the establishment of the demilitarized zone were to interfere with counternarcotics efforts. Those officials have stated that the provision has not be triggered, as no eradication efforts were planned for the current demilitarized area.

  58. In an op-ed piece, Representative Ben Gilman criticized the Clinton Administration for the slow delivery of currently funded helicopters to the Colombian National Police, and stated that the CNP needs 100 helicopters [of which the U.S. has promised about 40] to conduct effective counternarcotics operations. He also urges the Administration to provide "fast-track processing of Colombian army and police aid from U.S. stockpiles." Choppers to Colombia. The Washington Post, September 22, 1999. P.A33.

  59. Tread Cautiously in Colombia's Civil War, op.cit.

  60. Retired Special Forces Major F. Andy Messing Jr. (Director of the National Defense Council Foundation, Alexandria, Va.) and Dillon Twombly. Will Narco-Guerrillas Become the Rulers? Los Angeles Times/Washington Edition, August 3, 1998.

  61. Conversation with Maria Cristina Caballero, Colombian journalist and Research Fellow of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy of Harvard University, September 24, 1999.

  62. Article from CNN-Interactivo, "Colombia Expects Peasants to Fight Cocaine-Crop Removal," February 4, 2000.

  63. Proposing this course, Carols Salinas, Advocacy Director for Latin America and the Carribean at the Washington Office of Amnesty International, USA, also suggests that cattle ranchers and other rural land owners supporting the paramilitaries should be denied visas for travel to the United States. In Foreign Policy in Focus: Colombia: Volume 2, Number 49, November 1997. [http://www.foreignpolicy_infocus.org/briefs/vol2/v2n49col.html].

  64. Testimony of Mark Chernick before the House Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, August 5, 1998.

  65. According to two analysts from the U.S. Army War College, "While military power is essential, it is not sufficient. Indeed, militarizing the effort may be a good indicator of continued failure." Donald Schultz and Gabriel Marcella, Colombia's Three Wars: U.S. Strategy at the Crossroads, op.cit.

  66. Many Colombian peasants who were earning a subsistence living undertook coca cultivation, beginning in the 1070s, as a means to avoid ruin, according to some analysts, and perhaps even to accumulate the capital necessary to enter more lucrative legitimate agricultural enterprises, such as cattle raising and commercial farming. See: Violence and Colombia, op.cit.

  67. See not only Shultz and Marcella, op.cit., but also Michael Shifter, Colombia's Security Predicament and Opportunities for Peace: Guidelines for U.S. Policy, Inter-American Dailogue Policy Brief. [http://www.iadialog.org].

  68. Bernard Aronson. War in Colombia: The U.S. Role, Washington Post, August 5, 1999. p. A23.

  69. Jorge Orlando Melo. The Drug Trade, Politics and the Economy: The Colombian Experience, in Elizabeth Joyce and Carlos Malamud, eds., Latin America and the Multinational Drug Trade. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. P.65.

  70. On July 23, 1999, five U.S. soldiers and two Colombians on a surveillance mission were killed when their De Havilland RC-7 reconnaissance plane crashed while flying over the Putamayo Department in southern Colombia.

  71. Drug Control: Narcotics Threat from Colombia Continues to Grow, op.cit. According to GAO, the battalion will require some $70 million in equipment and training, including $60 million to provide helicopters.

  72. Tod Robberson. U.S. Launches Covert Program To Aid Colombia. Dallas Morning News, August 19, 1998. p.1.

  73. Dana Priest and Douglas Farah. U.S. Force Training Troops in Colombia. The Washington Post, May 25, 1998, p.A1; Diana Jean Schemo and Tim Golden. U.S. To Increase Support for Colombian Army Units, The New York Times, June 2, 1998, p.1. Also see CRS Report RL30034, Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) and Human Rights: Background and Issues for Congress, January 26, 1999.

  74. Drug Control: Narcotics Threat from Colombia Continues to Grow, op.cit., p.21.

  75. There apparently was debate within the executive branch over whether funds extended by the Export-Import Bank were also restricted by the provision; the Bank finally decided that they were.

  76. It was added by a voice vote during Senate Floor consideration of the DOD Appropriations bill for FY1999 (S.2131, as incorporated in H.R.4103) and retained in conference. (Conference Report 105-746, Sec.8130)

  77. This summary draws on several sources, most importantly the Chernick, Eisenstadt, Gott, Hanratty, and Pereyra works cited in the Bibliography, and War Without Quarter, op.cit.. See these sources for a fuller account of the complex history of negotiations during the 1980s and 1990s, including the effects on negotiations of drug violence, the opposition of military leaders, and the activities of the M-19 and other guerrilla groups.

  78. These points were summarized from the document as it appeared in El Espectador (Internet Version), January 12, 1999, and translated by FBIS, Document #FTS19990112001695.

  79. 'Tirofijo' se destapa. Semana, January 18, 1999. [http://www.semana.com.co/users/semana/semana99/ene18/nacio.htm]

  80. Sources consulted in addition to those cited in detailed footnotes.

END


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