Colombia: U.S. Releases More Military Aid & Resumes Controversial Crop Eradication Program

NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs, September 20, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Colombia: U.S. Releases More Military Aid & Resumes Controversial Crop Eradication Program

The administration of US President George W. Bush has certified that Colombia is meeting the required human rights standards for release of US$42 million in military aid, despite strong disagreement from human rights organizations. In an equally controversial decision, the US resumed aerial spraying of coca fields, despite reports from Colombian governors in the affected areas and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the spray causes health problems and destroys legitimate crops.

Before the State Department released its report on human rights, three leading human rights organizations said the US should withhold more military aid to Colombia because its armed forces failed to meet the congressionally imposed conditions on delivery of the aid.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) said the Colombian military had failed to suspend officers responsible for serious rights abuses or cooperate with civilian authorities in prosecuting or punishing them. They also said the military had not ended its support of right-wing paramilitary groups.

In addition, the Colombian government has backed an effort by Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio to dismiss pending investigations and prosecutions of military officers accused of serious human rights abuses.

"Not only has Colombia, once again, failed to meet even the minimum standard necessary to satisfy the human rights conditions, but its level of compliance has deteriorated markedly," the letter said. "We urge you to deny the human rights certification to Colombia and instead insist that it make convincing and demonstrable reforms before receiving any additional funds."

The US is providing Colombia with almost US$400 million in military aid this fiscal year, of which US$104 million was subject to the conditions. In a controversial decision last May, the State Department certified that the conditions were met to disburse about US$63 million, or 60% of the total.

On Sept. 9, the Bush administration cleared the release of the remaining $42 million after the State Department certified that Colombia had met the conditions and was doing enough to prevent abuses of human rights.

Colombian Defense Minister Martha Lucia Ramirez underlined the importance of the State Department's recognition of progress and said the money would allow the military to more effectively combat the guerrillas.

"This certification for the security forces in Colombia clears the way for us to use Plan Colombia resources not only in anti-drug trafficking operations, but also in operations against terrorist groups," Ramirez said.

The certification was assailed by William Schulz, AIUSA executive director. "To say that Colombia has complied with human rights conditions is nothing short of a farce," Schulz said, adding that the ties between the Colombian military and the paramilitary groups persist.

"These brutal groups have ties to Colombian military and units that have benefitted from US funding in the past, making the US party to the injustices suffered by Colombian civilians on a daily basis," Schulz said. "By continuing to provide military aid to Colombia, the US is once again sending the dangerous message that human rights are niceties that are completely dispensable when the going gets tough."

"Providing additional funds at this point is particularly dangerous," said Schulz. "President Alvaro Uribe, only one month into his term, has created an environment that further empowers a military force already acting with impunity."

Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of HRW/Americas, said, "All the evidence we have been able to collect consistently shows there has been a deterioration in human rights in Colombia since May."

As evidence of the lack of progress, human rights organizations point to army Gen.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Colombia: U.S. Releases More Military Aid & Resumes Controversial Crop Eradication Program


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?