Colombia’s Senate president said Thursday that the United States should support a sequel to military aid program Plan Colombia to financially support the South American country’s efforts to make peace between leftist rebels and the state.
Senator Juan Fernando Cristo (Liberal Party) said so in a debate organized by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a think tank focused on US foreign policy in Latin America.
“The United States has been a successful strategic ally,” referring to the billions of dollars Washington invested since 1999 in efforts to combat drug trafficking and push back the rebels of the FARC and ELN who by the end of the 1990s had conquered large parts of Colombia’s national territory.
Now that the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos is involved in talks that could lead to an end to the 50-year-old conflict with the FARC, the US should “rethink” its strategy in Colombia in an eventual post-conflict situation and show “the same commitment,” said Cristo.
“There should be a Plan Colombia II, a Plan Colombia for the victims of this conflict,” said the lawmaker who has been a vociferous supporter of the talks.
The administration of President Barack Obama has expressed support for the peace talks on several occasions, but is not openly involved with the negotiations held in Cuba.
The US government has spent more than 8 billion dollars in military aid for Colombia since the two countries agreed to the joint military strategy in 1999.