The U.S. Department of State recommended Colombia devote more resources to consolidate power in zones affected by violence and drug trafficking, according to the department’s 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR).
After praising Colombia for its fight against drug cultivation, production and trafficking, the Department of State suggested, “To lock in the gains made over the past decade, the Colombian government should devote additional resources to the PNCT [National Plan for Territorial Consolidation 2011] to improve security, increase public service provision, build infrastructure, and generate additional economic opportunities in regions that have historically been heavily influenced by terrorist and criminal elements.”
The PNCT evolved from the National Consolidation Plan (PNC), created in 2009, as a plan to help the Colombian government take control of areas of the country controlled by illegal armed groups including leftists rebels such as FARC and ELN, as well as neo-paramilitary and drug trafficking organizations.
Influential NGO the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) recently criticized President Juan Manuel Santos‘ government for neglecting aspects of the PNCT in their 2012 report entitled “Consolidating Consolidation.” WOLA denounced the reduction of the plan’s budget from an estimated $175 million in 2010 to only $70 million in 2011 and also the cutback from 15 targeted zones to seven and 100 municipalities to 51. “The Colombian government needs to stand by its original commitment: to bring to these chosen zones a functioning, civilian state whose representatives act without impunity” stated the report.
The INCSR however emphasized the positive effects of the efforts against drug trafficking in recent years, citing the important successes of supply reduction tactics and the “robust and extremely productive” extradition process as factors in an estimated 50% decline in coca cultivation since 2007.
The State Department also lauded the Santos government’s “significant efforts” in land restitution of displaced peoples and said that should peace talks between the government and the FARC be successful, they will have wide-ranging political and security implications for Colombia.
In spite of these encouraging statistics the report stresses that “the progress is not irreversible and continued U.S. support to Colombia is needed.”
- 2013 INCSR: Country Reports – Afghanistan through Costa Rica (U.S. Department of State)
- EE. UU. pide a Colombia invertir más en plan de lucha contra drogas (El Tiempo)
- Consolidating “Consolidation” (WOLA)