HomeNewsAnalysisPlan Colombia
ANALYSIS

Plan Colombia

COLOMBIA / 19 AUG 2004 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

“Plan Colombia” is a multi-pronged, multi-billion dollar effort to battle drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), insurgencies and paramilitary groups in the Andean nation. Passed in 2000 at the tail end of the Clinton administration, the plan enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington and helped initiate and sustain widespread systemic changes in Colombia that have helped the country dismantle several large criminal groups including the North Valley Cartel (Cartel del Norte del Valle – NVC), the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – AUC) paramilitary group and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) insurgency.

The US has given Colombia over $7 billion in mostly military assistance since 2000 as part of the plan. Much of this aid has gone to training, military hardware such as helicopter gunships and advanced intelligence gathering equipment. Colombia did its part by tripling its military budget, nearly doubling the size of its Armed Forces and professionalizing the Armed Forces. Another large portion of the US aid went to eradication efforts, while smaller portions have gone to social and economic programs.

The results have been equally mixed. The military and police have greatly increased their intelligence gathering capacity, and their ability to react quickly to this intelligence has led to the capture or death of numerous criminal leaders and insurgents, including three of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) rebels’ top commanders. The FARC, once an insurgency with close to 17,000 soldiers, is half that size today. The AUC demobilized under pressure from the government. The NVC self-destructed, and the ELN is nearly extinct. Production of coca, which is the raw material for cocaine, dropped as well, but other Andean nations have increased their output, offsetting these gains in Colombia. Kidnappings and homicide levels dropped steeply, but in a troubling sign, the national murder rate has begun to increase again.Plan Colombia continues to stir debate in Washington and elsewhere as policymakers and lawmakers struggle for a strategy to help Mexico and Central America contain the growing strength of criminal groups in the Isthmus. Many politicians, including Bill Clinton, have called for a “Plan Mexico,” and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently likened Mexico to Colombia, a comment that drew strong criticism from Mexican government officials. Policy wonks and non-governmental groups are weighing in as well, offering both criticisms and praise of the policy that promises to be at the heart of most any security strategy in the region for years to come.Resources

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 14 AUG 2015

The trial in Argentina for the murder of a Colombian guerrilla turned top level narco may have left more questions…

COLOMBIA / 21 OCT 2020

Fashion continues to fuel money laundering in Colombia, generating millions in losses for the country's textile industry.

COLOMBIA / 25 AUG 2014

An investigative report by Semana magazine illustrates how contraband medication networks operate in Colombia and Venezuela by taking advantage of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…