Colombia: U.S. to Increase Involvement in Guerrilla War and Protect Occidental Oil Pipeline
In a major public policy shift, the administration of President George W. Bush is calling for US military aid to be used against Colombian guerrillas. To sell that change and the increased funding for Colombia in the budget for fiscal 2003 to Congress and the US public, the administration has begun a public relations campaign to include the Colombian guerrillas as targets of the "global war on terrorism."
On Jan. 15, just hours after a breakthrough salvaged the peace process in Colombia (see NotiSur, 2002-01-18), The Washington Post reported that the Bush administration was considering a change in policy that would allow US military aid to be used against the guerrillas.
The same day, John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) arrived in Colombia for a three-day visit to "review" US anti-drug cooperation with Colombia.
"I can't discuss all of the planning. We're doing a review of policy," Walters told reporters in Bogota. "We remain focused on supporting democratic institutions in Colombia. We remain focused on reducing violence where we can make a contribution to doing that, and, most of all, reducing drug trafficking that contributes to the funding of violence, and anti-government activity."
For some time, Colombian President Andres Pastrana has been asking Washington to expand its help to include participation in the war against the guerrillas. In a Jan. 22 interview with The Associated Press, Pastrana said that "the world changed on Sept. 11. The common enemy is terrorism." He called for US troops to train Colombian soldiers to protect oil pipelines and other infrastructure from rebel attacks. He added that he hoped the recent breakthrough in peace talks would lead to a full cease-fire by April.
Bush administration budget ups funding to Colombia …
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Publication information: Article title: Colombia: U.S. to Increase Involvement in Guerrilla War and Protect Occidental Oil Pipeline. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs. Publication date: February 15, 2002. Page number: Not available. © 2009 Latin American Data Base/Latin American Institute. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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