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Plan Colombia: The View from the Presidential Palace

Authored by Mr. Eduardo Pizano.

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Brief Synopsis

The author, a former member of the Colombian Senate and now the General Secretary to the President of Colombia, discusses various misconceptions stemming from the uncertainty and confusion that permeated conference discussions involving U.S. policy in Colombia and the implementation of Plan Colombia. He makes several points that are both compelling and instructive. First, Colombia s sovereignty is being impinged by illegal narco-trafficking organizations and insurgent allies that threaten democratic governance from within. Second, of necessity, Plan Colombia must include strong military and counternarcotics components. Third, Colombia has the military forces necessary to deal with the violence in the country, but the armed forces and the police need training, equipment, and mobility assets. Fourth, Plan Colombia also includes a very strong social component as a matter of fact, the vast majority of the $7.5 billion being allocated for the plan is designated for social and economic development purposes. Finally, he argues that there are no cocksure short-term answers to Colombia s problems. What is certain is that these problems are being dealt with aggressively by Colombia and its friends.

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