The United States’ “partnership” with Colombia is “stronger than ever,” said two members of the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee after a visit to Bogota.
According to Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), “Colombia is a true success story and a country where our joint efforts have made a real difference.”
The two representatives praised Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to locally fight crime while trying to come to a peace agreement with the FARC.
“Homicides are down nearly 50% since 2002 while kidnappings have dropped by almost 90%. The Colombian economy has had an average growth rate of 4.7% over the last decade,” the US lawmakers highlighted in a short press release after meeting with Santos on Tuesday.
“Now more than ever, the United States must stand with Colombia as President Santos negotiates a historic peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). If a peace agreement is reached, we pledge to do our part in Congress to continue to provide Colombia with the support it needs,” said Royce and Engel.
Colombia has been lobbying abroad to create support in both Europe and the United States to support the country if ongoing talks with the FARC and ELN result in peace agreements and the country formally enters a post-conflict period.
According to the Colombian government, it will need some $44.4 billion in the decade following a peace deal. So far, the German government has approved a $100 million loan, while other governments have expressed support without mentioning concrete aid.
Colombia has been ravished by political violence since the 1940s. According to official statistics, more than 220,000 were killed since 1956. More than 6 million Colombians have been directly victimized by the conflict.
- CHAIRMAN ROYCE, RANKING MEMBER ENGEL STATEMENT ON U.S.-COLOMBIA RELATIONS (Ed Royce and Eliot Engel)