The United States government wants to make severe cuts to Plan Colombia, the State Department’s budget proposals for 2012 show.
The State Department wants Congress to approve $400 million for the U.S.-Colombian joint effort to combat drug trafficking, which is a 15% cut compared to this year’s budget, wrote newspaper El Tiempo. According to Caracol Radio this is 21% less than in 2010.
“We are transforming this program, moving the responsibility from the United States to the government of Colombia,” Caracol Radio quoted a State Department official as saying.
Ealier this month, Colombia’s Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera traveled to Washington to express his concern about the pending cuts to his U.S. counterpart Robert Gates. “It is an issue of concern that Colombia continues to receive the help of the United States, which has been absolutely essential over the past years,” Rivera said then.
In anticipation of the expected U.S. budget cuts, Colombia began assuming some financial responsibility in January by allocating funds from the national budget to combat the cultivation of coca.
Plan Colombia, designed to combat drug trafficking and leftist guerrillas in Colombia, dates from 1999 and has cost the U.S. over $8 billion so far.
Plan Colombia, however, has invited criticism from various sources such as Peruvian President Alan Garcia, who claims that cultivation has largely been redistributed to his country, rather than being diminished.