US Secretary of State, John Kerry said that the fact that the State Department has cut its foreign aid request for Mexico and Colombia in 2015 does not mean the US has changed the priority given to those countries.
The current proposal is projected to reduce US aid to Colombia by as much as 12%, to $280 million in the 2015 fiscal year.
This allegedly includes a $25 million drop or almost 20% decrease in the funds allocated in the fight against drugs, traditionally the focus of US foreign policy with regards to Colombia. According to Colombian media, the cuts to anti-narcotics programs represent over 60% of the total reductions.
In a hearing before the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, Kerry defended the proposed budget, despite reduced funding for security tasks and fight against drug trafficking in Mexico and Colombia.
“In Mexico, our proposal (budget) reflects money that is already in progress, and does not translate into a reduction in any priority or effort,” said Kerry.
“And so it is with Colombia, which has improved their ability to do the things we worked on with Plan Colombia. So we believe there is adequate funding, and we already have the necessary resources underway to do the things we need.”
Key congressman disagrees with cuts
|“And so it is with Colombia, which has improved their ability to do the things we worked on with Plan Colombia. We believe there is adequate funding and we already have the necessary resources underway to do the things we need.”|
Just last week, US Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) said he regretted US President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget proposal includes sizable reductions in aid to Colombia.
“At this moment, when Colombia is in the process of negotiating peace to end its half century-old conflict, we should be preparing for the same or even greater investment in Colombia, not less,” McGovern said.