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Colombia and the United States--The Partnership: But What Is the Endgame?

Authored by Ambassador Myles R. R. Frechette. | February 2007

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SUMMARY

The United States and Colombia have cooperated to reduce narcotics smuggling for 30 years, with the U.S. Government's attitude toward Colombia being based on its partner's degree of counternarcotics cooperation. In the mid-1990s, members of the U.S. administration and Congress called Colombia a "failed state." In the late 1990s, as counternarcotics cooperation increased, Colombia was called Latin America's "oldest democracy." Today, Colombia is a U.S. ally, and the United States is strengthening democracy there as part of a worldwide strategy. But after 30 years, there is no endgame.

U.S. policy requires more creativity and greater focus. It needs clearly defined benchmarks and attainable mutual objectives. This monograph discusses how to give assistance realistically, with accountability, and better prospects for success.