Small Wars Journal

Some Questions to Help You Better Understand the U.S.-Colombia Security Dynamic and Opportunities to Enhance the Relationship

Share this Post

Some Questions to Help You Better Understand the U.S.-Colombia Security Dynamic and Opportunities to Enhance the Relationship

John Turner

The dramatic increase of Venezuelan refugees entering the country, record-level coca cultivation and cocaine production levels, and the power vacuum created by the disarmament, and demobilization of the country’s oldest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC—Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) in key cultivation and smuggling areas are just a few things for U.S. policy makers, defense officials, and legislators to take into consideration as they evaluate bilateral security assistance to Colombia.  To begin, let’s start with some questions to help you better understand Colombia’s strategic importance and its security challenges going forward.       

Why Does Colombia Matter to the United States?        

The United States shares a deep and multifaceted relationship with Colombia founded on robust security, counter-narcotics, and economic engagement.  The United States is the primary destination of Colombian exports; Colombia is the United States’ 26th largest trading partner and U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Colombia totaled some $7.2 billion in 2017.[i]    

With the inception of Plan Colombia in 2000 under former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Colombia has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid in Latin America.  For nearly two decades, the United States has provided over $10 billion dollars in development and security assistance that has been used to professionalize, and expand Colombian military and civilian security forces, counter-narcotics operations capabilities, and the systematic targeting and dismantling of armed insurgent and transnational criminal organizations involved in illicit activities.[ii],[iii]  U.S. aid programs to Colombia have also been used to implement and advance much-need security sector reforms, bolster government institutions and public confidence in the rule of law, and fostered a culture of respect for human rights.  U.S. funding has also enabled Colombia to increase institutional presence and to expand essential services to vulnerable, rural communities long disrupted and displaced by decades of armed conflict and endemic violence.[iv]                    

How Have U.S. Funding and Assistance Efforts Benefitted Colombia? 

U.S. funding and assistance have had a dramatic impact in improving Colombian security, stability, and economic prosperity. Colombia’s commitment to its own security is without parallel in the region as it devoted 3.1 percent of its GDP to military expenditures in 2017, the highest in Latin America.[v]  Colombia is now the fourth largest economy in Latin America.  Since 2000, GDP has tripled to $315 billion dollars; the World Bank forecasts economic growth in Colombia will increase slightly by 2020.[vi]  In May 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) officially invited Colombia to become a member, only the third Latin American country to become an OECD member, joining Mexico and Chile.[vii] 

U.S. efforts have also reinforced Colombia’s standing as a regional and global security leader by joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a global partner in June 2018.[viii]  Colombia regularly cooperates with regional and international partners for its multi-domain expertise in counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, counter-insurgency operations as well as countering global cyber, maritime domain, and transnational criminal threats.[ix],[x],[xi]  In March, NATO officially welcomed Colombia’s International Demining Centre (CIDES), in Tolemaida, Colombia, into its network of partnership training and education centers.[xii],[xiii]                             

What’s the Status of Colombia’s Peace Agreement with the FARC and How Has it Impacted Colombia’s Security Environment?

In November 2016, the Colombian government signed an official peace agreement with the country’s oldest armed insurgent organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC—Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), officially ending a conflict that spanned five decades, killed over 220,000 people and displaced millions.[xiv]  However, the disarmament, and demobilization, and reintegration process of FARC members has been uneven and has created a power vacuum as other armed insurgent organizations and criminal groups look to fill the void and seize control of lucrative cultivation sites, drug trafficking routes, and challenge government authority in territories previously dominated by the FARC.  Groups like the National Liberation Army (ELN—Ejército de Liberación Nacional) have increased in manpower and conducted brazen, targeted attacks against Colombian security forces like the 17 January 2019 Bogota Police Academy attack that killed 20 and wounded 70 more.[xv],[xvi]  Immediately following the attack Colombian President Ivan Duque ceased peace negotiations with the ELN, begun in early 2017 under former President Juan Manuel Santos.  President Duque underscored the organization’s violent insurgent history, noting its involvement in 5,682 kidnappings in the past 23 years.  President Duque remarked that during the 17-month peace negotiation process between the previous administration and the ELN, the ELN conducted over 400 terrorist activities across 13 Colombian departments, leaving 339 victims.[xvii]  ELN activities coupled with dissident FARC members refusal to lay down their arms help explain why the United States continues to designate both groups as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs).[xviii]  In the past year, ELN manpower increased substantially, from 3,000 to 4,000 personnel.[xix]   As of early January 2019, Colombia’s defense and security sector estimates that the Clan del Golfo had about 1,600 personnel in arms along with other violent insurgent organizations like Los Pelusos, and Los Puntilleros.[xx]  Colombia also estimates that there are 23 criminal organizations with 2,417 independent criminal cells operating throughout the country with varying strength and capacity that threaten to undermine state legitimacy, respect for human rights, and rule of law.[xxi]

How Much of a Priority is Colombia for U.S. President Donald Trump? 

Since assuming office in 2017 reducing illicit drug availability and consumption rates in the United States have been a top domestic and foreign policy priority for the Trump Administration.  The dramatic increase in drug availability and consumption threaten vital U.S. national security interests as they place a tremendous burden on the U.S. health care system, overwhelm law enforcement and judicial sectors, and lead to lost productivity.[xxii]  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2017, a record-high 70,200 drug overdose deaths were reported in the United States, with almost 14,000 Americans dying of an overdose involving cocaine, a 34 percent increase from 2016.[xxiii]  You may be wondering how this involves Colombia?  Well, Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and is the source of 90 percent of the cocaine in the U.S. market.[xxiv],[xxv]  Given current coca cultivation and production trends in Colombia it is reasonable to assume cocaine availability and usage in the United States only stand to increase in the near-term.  Here’s why.              

In 2017, coca cultivation levels reached their highest ever recorded level with 171,000 hectares under cultivation, according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Coca Cultivation Survey Report for Colombia.[xxvi]  UNODC estimates indicate Colombian cocaine production surged by one third from 2015 to 2016, to roughly 866 tons.[xxvii]  The Colombian government’s October 2015 suspension of aerial fumigation operations coupled with illicit farmer compensation incentives to cultivate coca, cultivation in inaccessible and remote areas with limited government presence, and insurgent/criminal organizations’ counter-eradication tactics, such as the emplacement of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), have contributed to the recent record surge in coca cultivation.[xxviii],[xxix]     

In response, the United States has increased bilateral counter-drug cooperation efforts to include all forms of eradication; President Duque has pledged to reinitiate aerial fumigation operations.[xxx],[xxxi]  The United States has also increased alternative crop development and economic opportunities, interdiction, investigation and prosecution, judicial support, and public health cooperation to help Colombia confront record drug production levels, according to the 2019 U.S. National Drug Control Strategy.[xxxii]

Are the United States and Colombia on the Same Page? 

The Trump and Duque Administrations have signaled Venezuela’s political and economic collapse and resulting humanitarian disaster are the region’s most urgent priority.  Both administrations have consistently employed harsh rhetoric and have been explicit in their desired outcome of a peaceful democratic transition of power in Venezuela supporting Juan Guaido, interim Venezuelan President.[xxxiii],[xxxiv],[xxxv],[xxxvi]  Both leaders have favored using multilateral and international organizations like the United Nations to wield diplomatic and economic pressure to further isolate and weaken Nicolas Maduro’s repressive regime.[xxxvii],[xxxviii],[xxxix] Both administrations favor robust bilateral counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, regional security, and economic cooperation initiatives and likely will look to enhance cooperation opportunities in the future.[xl] 

In mid-February, U.S. President Donald Trump hosted his Colombian counterpart, Ivan Duque, for his first official U.S. visit since assuming office in August 2018.  During his visit the United States Congress announced $418 million USD in appropriated funding and assistance to Colombia for FY2019, a six percent increase from FY2018 funding levels; this funding will be used to support Colombia through the following: counter-drug operations, enhance security and stability in the region, strengthen and enhance governance/rule of law, promote economic and social development by improving access to conflict areas through demining programs, assist communities impacted by refugee or migrant populations, and peace agreement implementation between the Government of Colombia and armed insurgent organizations.[xli],[xlii]  Two weeks later, on 25 February, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence travelled to Bogota, Colombia to address the Lima Group and reinforce U.S. commitment to interim Venezuelan President, Juan Guaido, and U.S. regional allies, particularly Colombia; it was Vice-President Pence’s fifth visit to Colombia since taking office.  During his speech, Vice President Pence shrewdly declared, “Colombia is our strongest partner in the region, and any who would threaten her sovereignty or security would do well not to test the commitment to our ally or the resolve of the United States of America”.[xliii]  Shortly thereafter, Vice President Pence announced the United States would commit an additional $56 million dollars in humanitarian assistance to bolster regional partner capacity to address Venezuela’s imploding humanitarian situation.[xliv]  Vice President Pence’s announcement was a step in the right direction but more needs to be done.    

It’s a positive sign that key U.S. congressional members support efforts to develop and enhance bilateral solutions to better equip Colombian security forces to aggressively pursue insurgent elements, criminal activity, and reduce illicit crop cultivation.  In February, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, And Global Women’s Issues, and member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, endorsed Colombia’s 2019 plan to resume aerial fumigation operations which could cost upwards of $100 million dollars.[xlv] Senator Rubio has recommended the United States enhance training, material support, and intelligence sharing to Colombian security forces to better enable them to target armed insurgent and criminal organizations and disrupt illicit drug production.[xlvi]                                      

What are the Implications of Venezuela’s Collapse and Resulting Humanitarian Crisis on Colombia’s Stability? 

The mass exodus of Venezuelans fleeing Maduro’s repressive and brutal regime are already altering regional security, social and economic stability across Latin America and likely will not abate until there is a change of government.  In early February 2019, Admiral Craig Fallon, Commander of U.S. Southern Command, responsible for U.S. military operations and activities across 34 countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that five million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015.[xlvii]

Colombian President Ivan Duque cited the Venezuelan diaspora into Colombia as one of his biggest foreign policy and domestic priorities in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2018.[xlviii]  In his speech, President Duque emphasized the sharp proliferation of Venezuelans entering the country had soared to almost one million migrants, from 171,783 to 1,032,016 in just 16 months.[xlix],[l]  To underscore the severity of the problem, President Duque stated the flow of Venezuelans into the country had eclipsed the annual pace of 600,000 Syrian refugees into Turkey.[li]

The burden these migrants place on Colombia’s heath, social, educational, and security sectors will be acute and likely be felt for years.  In early November 2018, the Colombian Ambassador to the United States, Francisco Santos said “the crisis in Venezuela …is already creating a huge strain in the region and will present the biggest challenge in the region for the next five years and beyond”.[lii]  In October 2018, Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, said Colombia has developed three contingencies to address the rising number of Venezuelans seeking refuge in Colombia with the worst-case scenario of four million Venezuelans possibly living in Colombia by 2021.[liii]  The influx of Venezuelan refugees into the country is a problem Colombia desperately doesn’t need as it already has the largest concentration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world, with 7,671,124 IDPs; the surge of Venezuelan refugees creates a conducive environment for criminal enterprises to recruit and coerce them into illicit drug, weapons, and human trafficking activities.[liv]  Colombia almost certainly will look to the United States or other international partners for assistance in reinforcing its 1,400 mile border with Venezuela.  This assistance likely would include increasing vehicle and aerial surveillance operations, fixed and mobile checkpoint locations, stability policing operations, and biometrics support.                   

Should the United States be Optimistic or Pessimistic About Colombia Going Forward? 

Through the first seven months of his term President Duque’s rhetoric and actions have signaled to the United States and the international community that bolstering security, addressing impunity, and reducing illicit drug production are his priorities.  Let’s take a look at recent Colombian security forces counter-drug operations results.  The Colombian Ministry of Defense reported that 46,681 hectares of coca were manually eradicated from January-October 2018, its highest recorded total in ten years.[lv]  Expect these numbers to only intensify in 2019 as Colombia looks to resume aerial fumigation operations, a key component of President Duque’s counterdrug strategy.[lvi]  Colombian interdictions of cocaine have also dramatically increased with 344 metric tons seized from January-October 2018, a near three-fold increase from 2011 figures.[lvii]  Colombian security forces have also taken a visibly more aggressive posture against insurgent groups and transnational criminal organizations.  Analysis of Colombian Ministry of Defense operations from January-October 2018 against the National Liberation Army (ELN—Ejército de Liberación Nacional) indicates 673 ELN members were captured, a three-fold increase from 2010 figures; Colombia also reported 3,653 organized crime (BACRIM—Banda Criminal) members were captured during this timeframe, its highest total since 2012.[lviii]      

Despite these successes, Colombia's inability to project an enduring security presence in rural, under governed areas prone to violent conflict, high cultivation rates, and transnational criminal activity is having a devastating impact to its long-term security and economic development.  According to the 2018 Global Peace Index, which measures the economic costs of violence and conflict as percentage of GDP per country, Colombia ranked 145 of 163 countries as the economic costs of endemic violence, and insecurity accounted for 34% of Colombia's GDP, eighth highest in the world.  The only country in the Western Hemisphere where violent instability had a higher percentage cost of GDP was El Salvador, at 49 percent.[lix]

The views expressed in this article solely reflect those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Military, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

End Notes

[i] Office of the United States Trade Representative, by Country, Colombia, accessed online, 27 March 2019, https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/colombia

 

[ii] United States Department of State, Foreign Assistance by Country, Colombia, accessed online, 15 March 2019, https://foreignassistance.gov/explore/country/Colombia

 

[iii] United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Foreign Aid Explorer (FAE), U.S. Foreign Aid by Country, Colombia, accessed online 17 March 2019, https://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/COL 

 

[iv] Congressional Research Service (CRS), Colombia: Background and U.S. Relations, updated 08 February 2019, Page 28-29, accessed online, 29 March 2019, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43813.pdf 

 

[v] The World Bank, Military Expenditure (% of GDP) Fact Sheet, Colombia, accessed online, 31 March 2019, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS?locations=CO

 

[vi] The World Bank, Country Fact Sheet, Colombia, accessed online, 26 March 2019, https://data.worldbank.org/country/Colombia

 

[vii] Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 25 May 2018, OECD Countries Agree To Invite Colombia As 37th Member, accessed online, 02 March 2019, http://www.oecd.org/countries/colombia/oecd-countries-agree-to-invite-colombia-as-37th-member.htm

 

[viii] Reuters, 26 May 2018, Colombia To Be NATO's First Latin American Global Partner, accessed online, 26 February 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-nato/colombia-to-be-natos-first-latin-american-global-partner-idUSKCN1IR0E8

 

[ix] Reuters, 26 May 2018, Colombia To Be NATO's First Latin American Global Partner, accessed online, 26 February 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-nato/colombia-to-be-natos-first-latin-american-global-partner-idUSKCN1IR0E8

 

[x] North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 06 December 2018, Relations with Colombia, accessed online, 26 February 2019, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_143936.htm

 

[xi] United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control, March 2018, Page 139, accessed online 22 March 2019, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/278759.pdf

 

[xii] North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 15 March 2019, Colombia’s Demining Centre Joins NATO Network, accessed online, 27 March 2019, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_164677.htm

 

[xiii] Gobierno de Colombia, Presidencia de la Republica, 20 de Marzo 2019, La Otan Aprobó Ingreso Del Centro De Desminado De Colombia A Su Red De Centros De Capacitación, accessed online in Spanish 27 March 2019, https://id.presidencia.gov.co/Paginas/prensa/2019/190320-La-Otan-aprobo-ingreso-del-Centro-de-Desminado-de-Colombia-a-su-red-de-centros-de-capacitacion.aspx

 

[xiv] New York Times, 18 September 2018, El Regreso A Las Armas De Los Exguerrilleros De Las Farc, accessed online in Spanish, 27 March 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/es/2018/09/18/farc-acuerdos-de-paz-rearme/

 

[xv] El Pais, 19 de enero 2019, Duque Da Por Terminada La Negociación Con El ELN Y Pide A Cuba Que Detenga A Su Cúpula, accessed in Spanish online, 24 January 2019, https://elpais.com/internacional/2019/01/19/colombia/1547858528_303881.html

 

[xvi] El Tiempo, 07 de febrero 2019, Las Amenazas Externas Para La Seguridad Nacional, Según El Gobierno, accessed online in Spanish, 24 February 2019, https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/conflicto-y-narcotrafico/las-amenazas-externas-a-la-seguridad-que-ve-el-gobierno-de-ivan-duque-323904

 

[xvii] El Pais, 19 de enero 2019, Duque Da Por Terminada La Negociación Con El ELN Y Pide A Cuba Que Detenga A Su Cúpula, accessed in Spanish online, 24 January 2019, https://elpais.com/internacional/2019/01/19/colombia/1547858528_303881.html

 

[xviii] United States Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, accessed online 29 March 2019, https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

 

[xix] El Tiempo, 07 de febrero 2019, Las Amenazas Externas Para La Seguridad Nacional, Según El Gobierno, accessed online in Spanish, 24 February 2019, https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/conflicto-y-narcotrafico/las-amenazas-externas-a-la-seguridad-que-ve-el-gobierno-de-ivan-duque-323904

 

[xx] Gobierno de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Enero 2019, Política De Defensa Y Seguridad PDS, Para La Legalidad, El Emprendimiento Y La Equidad, Page 23-24, accessed online in Spanish, https://www.insightcrime.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Poli%CC%81tica-de-Defensa-y-Seguridad-%E2%80%93-PDS.pdf

[xxi] Gobierno de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Enero 2019, Política De Defensa Y Seguridad PDS, Para La Legalidad, El Emprendimiento Y La Equidad, Page 23-24, accessed online in Spanish, https://www.insightcrime.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Poli%CC%81tica-de-Defensa-y-Seguridad-%E2%80%93-PDS.pdf

 

[xxii] United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), National Drug Control Strategy 2019, A Report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy January 2019, page 13, accessed online 22 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/NDCS-Final.pdf

 

[xxiii] Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cocaine Drug Overdose Data, accessed online 22 March 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/otherdrugs.html

 

[xxiv] United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control, March 2018, Page 136, accessed online 22 March 2019, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/278759.pdf

 

[xxv] United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), National Drug Control Strategy 2019, A Report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy January 2019, page 2, accessed online 22 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/NDCS-Final.pdf 

 

[xxvi] United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 18 September 2018, Coca Crops in Colombia at all-time high, UNODC Report finds, accessed online 22 March 2019, https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2018/September/coca-crops-in-colombia-at-all-time-high--unodc-report-finds.html

 

[xxvii] United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Drug Report 2018, accessed online 22 March 2019, page 09, https://www.unodc.org/wdr2018/prelaunch/WDR18_Booklet_1_EXSUM.pdf

 

[xxviii] United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Drug Report 2018, accessed online 22 March 2019, page 09, https://www.unodc.org/wdr2018/prelaunch/WDR18_Booklet_1_EXSUM.pdf

 

[xxix] United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control, March 2018, Page 136-137, accessed online 22 March 2019, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/278759.pdf

 

[xxx] United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), National Drug Control Strategy 2019, A Report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy January 2019, page 16, accessed online 22 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/NDCS-Final.pdf 

 

[xxxi] United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control, March 2018, Page 137, accessed online 22 March 2019, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/278759.pdf

 

[xxxii] United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), National Drug Control Strategy 2019, A Report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy January 2019, page 16, accessed online 22 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/NDCS-Final.pdf 

 

[xxxiii] White House, 25 September 2018, Remarks by President Trump and President Duque of the Republic of Colombia Before Bilateral Meetings, accessed online 22 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-duque-republic-colombia-bilateral-meetings/

 

[xxxiv] Semana, 26 September 2018, El Discurso De Duque En La ONU Comentado De Principio A Fin, accessed online 22 March 2019 in Spanish, https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/discurso-de-duque-en-la-asamblea-general-de-la-onu-comentado/584654

 

[xxxv] Politico, 25 September 2018, Full Text: Trump's 2018 UN Speech Transcript, accessed online 22 March 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/25/trump-un-speech-2018-full-text-transcript-840043

 

[xxxvi] White House, 18 February 2019, Remarks by President Trump to the Venezuelan American Community, accessed online 23 February 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-venezuelan-american-community/

 

[xxxvii] Semana, 26 September 2018, El Discurso De Duque En La ONU Comentado De Principio A Fin, accessed in Spanish online, 15 March 2019, https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/discurso-de-duque-en-la-asamblea-general-de-la-onu-comentado/584654

 

[xxxviii] White House, 30 November 2018, President Donald J. Trump Is Promoting Regional Prosperity And Security, accessed online 28 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-promoting-regional-prosperity-security/

 

[xxxix] White House, 13 February 2019, Joint Statement by President Donald J. Trump and President Ivan Duque Marquez on the Crisis in Venezuela, accessed online 03 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/joint-statement-president-donald-j-trump-president-ivan-duque-marquez-crisis-venezuela/

 

[xl] White House, 13 February 2019, Remarks by President Trump and President Duque of Colombia Before Bilateral Meeting, accessed online 27 February 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-duque-colombia-bilateral-meeting/

 

[xli] U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, accessed online, 04 March 2019, https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Complete%20Bill%20FY2019%20Consolidated%20Appropriations%20Act.pdf

 

[xlii] El Pais, 15 Febrero 2019, Estados Unidos Aumentará En 27 Millones De Dólares Fondos Para El Plan Colombia, https://www.elpais.com.co/colombia/estados-unidos-aumentara-en-27-millones-de-dolares-fondos-para-el-plan-colombia.html

 

[xliii] White House, 25 February 2019, Remarks by Vice President Pence to the Lima Group, Bogota, Colombia, Palacio de San Carlos, Bogota, Colombia, 11:45 COT, accessed online 11 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-lima-group-bogota-colombia/

 

[xliv] White House, 25 February 2019, Remarks by Vice President Pence to the Lima Group, Bogota, Colombia, Palacio de San Carlos, Bogota, Colombia, 11:45 COT, accessed online 11 March 2019, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-lima-group-bogota-colombia/

 

[xlv] Rubio, Marco, 12 February 2019, Miami Herald, U.S. Must Support Colombia’s War On Drugs For The Sake Of Regional Peace And Stability, accessed online 18 March 2019, https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article226166820.html

 

[xlvi] Rubio, Marco, 12 February 2019, Miami Herald, U.S. Must Support Colombia’s War On Drugs For The Sake Of Regional Peace And Stability, accessed online 18 March 2019, https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article226166820.html

 

[xlvii] Vergun, David, 07 February 2019, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Defense.gov, Southcom Commander: Venezuela Situation 'Dire', accessed online, 22 February 2019, https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1751565/southcom-commander-venezuela-situation-dire/ 

 

[xlviii] Semana, 26 September 2018, El Discurso De Duque En La ONU Comentado De Principio A Fin, accessed in Spanish online, 15 March 2019, https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/discurso-de-duque-en-la-asamblea-general-de-la-onu-comentado/584654

 

[xlix] Semana, 26 September 2018, El Discurso De Duque En La ONU Comentado De Principio A Fin, accessed in Spanish online, 15 March 2019, https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/discurso-de-duque-en-la-asamblea-general-de-la-onu-comentado/584654

 

[l] Gobierno de Colombia, Departamento Nacional de Planeacion (DNP), CONPES Definió La Estrategia Para La Atención De La Migración Desde Venezuela, accessed online in Spanish, 14 March 2019, https://www.dnp.gov.co/Paginas/CONPES-definio-la-Estrategia-para-la-Atencion-de-la-Migracion-desde-Venezuela.aspx

 

[li] Semana, 26 September 2018, El Discurso De Duque En La ONU Comentado De Principio A Fin, accessed in Spanish online, 15 March 2019, https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/discurso-de-duque-en-la-asamblea-general-de-la-onu-comentado/584654

 

[lii] Gutierrez, Barbara, The University of Miami, 01 November 2018, What is the future of Colombia?, accessed online, 23 February 2019, https://news.miami.edu/stories/2018/11/what-is-the-future-of-colombia.html

 

[liii] El Tiempo, 03 de Octubre 2018, Podrían Llegar Más De 4 Millones De Migrantes Desde Venezuela, accessed in Spanish online, 02 February 2019, https://www.eltiempo.com/politica/podrian-llegar-mas-de-4-millones-de-migrantes-desde-venezuela-276274

 

[liv] United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Country Fact Sheet, Colombia, accessed online 27 February 2019, https://www.unhcr.org/colombia.html

 

[lv] Gobierno de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa (Mindef), Logros De La Política De Defensa Y Seguridad, Page 41, accessed online 26 March 2019, https://www.mindefensa.gov.co/irj/go/km/docs/Mindefensa/Documentos/descargas/estudios_sectoriales/info_estadistica/Logros_Sector_Defensa.pdf

 

[lvi] Gobierno de Colombia, 2018, Ministerio de Justicia, Ruta Futuro: Política Integral para Enfrentar el Problema de las Drogas,  Page 41, Accessed online, 25 March 2019, http://m.minjusticia.gov.co/Portals/0/Documentos/Documento%20final%20Ruta%20Futuro.pdf

 

[lvii] Gobierno de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa (Mindef), Logros De La Política De Defensa Y Seguridad, Page 42, accessed online 26 March 2019, https://www.mindefensa.gov.co/irj/go/km/docs/Mindefensa/Documentos/descargas/estudios_sectoriales/info_estadistica/Logros_Sector_Defensa.pdf

 

[lviii] Gobierno de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa (Mindef), Viceministerio Para Las Políticas Y Asuntos Internacionales, Dirección De Estudios Estratégicos, Grupo De Información Estadística, Información De Criminalidad, Resultados Operacionales, Delitos Contra Las Propias Tropas Y Pie De Fuerza  Año Corrido, accessed online in Spanish, 25 March 2019, https://www.mindefensa.gov.co/irj/go/km/docs/Mindefensa/Documentos/descargas/estudios_sectoriales/info_estadistica/Avance_Politica_Defensa_Seguridad.pdf

 

[lix] Institute for Economics and Peace, June 2018, Global Peace Index 2018: Measuring Peace in a Complex World, accessed online 25 March 2019, http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Global-Peace-Index-2018-2.pdf 

 

About the Author(s)

John Turner is a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) national security professional with 10 years’ experience analyzing Latin America, Asia, and Middle East security issues.  Previously, John served in a staff position with the U.S. Defense Attaché Office in Mexico City and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn.  He holds a M.A. in International Relations/Security Studies from St. Mary’s University.

Comments

Jeff Goodson

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 7:15pm

This is a very good basic rackup, Mr. Turner.  Cogent and helpful.  Thanks for writing it. 

I was last there in January 2018.  The situation is both volatile and complex, increasingly so with the events in Venezuela unfolding next door.  It would be great if you could update us from time to time on how the Colombia situation is evolving generally, and progress with the FARC and other insurgent groups is progressing--or regressing. 

Jeff Goodson