The United States Senate extended Plan Colombia for another year Thursday, guaranteeing its help in combatting leftist guerrillas and the production and trafficking of cocaine in Colombia.
Both the continuation of Plan Colombia and axtra financial help for Mexico en Belize’s counternarcotic effort make part of the general defense bill for 2010, Spanish press agency EFE reported Thursday.
Since 2000, the U.S. spent US$6 billion in Plan Colombia. U.S. former officials like President Bill Clinton and the current administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe have called the plan a success. Colombia has lobbied a continuuation of the plan.
Critics say the investment did not result in the reduction of cocaine and has shown little effect on the U.S. cocaine market. The aerial fumagation of coca crops that was a vital part of Plan Colombia initially received criticism for its impact on the health of those living in areas where spraying took place and its devestating effect on other crops.
U.S. Congress included in the bill that the U.S. military is not allowed to station more than 800 soldiers and 600 civilians in Colombia. These troops are part of a pending cooperation that allows the U.S. to use seven military bases in Colombia to fight terrorism and drug trafficking.