Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Money, Money, Money....

President Bush met today with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at his Crawford, TX ranch, and discussed the possibility of continued US aid for "Plan Colombia."

The US has already contributed over $3 Billion worth of aid to Colombia, to fight the drug problem in that country, as a part of Plan Colombia. Plan Colombia is a topic I've done a good bit of research on (including a paper examining the inevitable failings of Plan Colombia), and so it is a topic I am interested in. On top of that, as a taxpayer, people should know where their $3 Billion is going and what it's doing.

There are a lot of opinions on the good, the bad, and the ugly of Plan Colombia. I've spoken with soldiers who've operated in Colombia, who say that it's pretty interesting. P.W. Singer, in his book "Corporate Soldiers" examines US-based Private Military Firms' involvement in Colombia, and why they are being paid by the US government to be there. In the future I may list some interesting sources for information on Plan Colombia. However here, I'm mostly interested in this news bit because the President wants to continue funding Plan Colombia.

As a political move, I do not see how one could avoid continuing to fund the US Drug War in Colombia. There have been some positives from Plan Colombia, but there are also a lot of negatives (many in Congress are concerned about human rights violations by the Colombian Army and law enforcement). I think that it will be very interesting to see how much money is allocated in the next round of aid, and even more interesting to see how much of it goes to private firms.

This graph shows US Congressional hearings on Latin America and Colombia. The graph also includes US Budget Data for both International Development and Security Assistance budgets, reflecting a jump in the Security Assistance budget in 1998 and 1999, when Plan Colombia was implemented. Graph from Policy Agendas Project, www.policyagendas.org. Not included in this graph is US defense spending in Colombia, since information that specific is not available from the Policy Agendas website (as of the time this graph was designed).

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