John Barry






2.1 Geography

2.2 People

2.3 Economy

2.4 History, Politics, and Society

2.5 Origins and Evolution of the Drug Trade

2.6 The U.S. Drug War(s)


3.1 The Scope of the Human Rights Crisis

3.2 Drugs and Human Rights Violators


4.1 Drug War to Dirty War: Repackaging the Narcoguerrilla Thesis

4.2 Plan Colombia: The Dirty Drug War


5.1 Plan Colombia: an Undemocratic Fait Accomplis

5.2 Inconsistencies in U.S. Aid

5.3 Flouting Human Rights Conditions

5.3.1 The Leahy Provision(s)

5.3.2 Other Human Rights conditions on Aid to Colombia

5.3.3 Sidestepping Human Rights With or Without Waivers

5.3.4 Intelligence Gathering and Human Rights

5.3.5 Outsourcing Past Human Rights Conditions and Troop Caps

5.3.6 The Perils of Vetting

6. CONCLUSION       



Pues el caso sería risible si no fuera trágico: los ciudadanos norteamericanos financian las dos partes
 del conflicto: como contribuyentes, ayudan a los Estados que tienen “problemas” con los narcos;
 y como consumidores de estupefacientes, ayudan a los narcos a crear esos “problemas.”

-                                                                                                                                                          Antonio Caballero



On October 5th and 6th, 2001, the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice at the University of Iowa hosted a symposium titled, “The Law’s Treatment of the Disadvantaged: The Politics of the American Drug War” At the symposium, scholars from around the United States presented research on the negative direct and indirect domestic effects of the War on Drugs.  The research of these scholars clearly indicates that the Drug War discriminates along the lines of class, race, and gender.[1]  As a consequence, the Drug War has had a disproportionate impact on persons of color, women, and children.[2] 

In summarizing the scope of inquiry of these scholars into the impact of the Drug War, the forward to the symposium states that

[a]long with our realization of the U.S. drug war’s far-reaching impact on various facets of the law, we saw that the drug war affects various groups of people differently.  In keeping with the Journal’s mission, we wanted to examine the drug war’s disproportionate impact on certain individuals.  At the same time, we knew we did not want to focus on a single grouping such as race or gender.  In order to get a full understanding of the drug war’s scope, we decided to focus on multiple groups of individuals that the drug war has constructed as the ‘other.’[3]

This paper also examines the Drug War’s disproportionate impact on certain individuals who have been constructed as the ‘other’ -- but from an international perspective.  There is no doubt that the War on Drugs has been terribly damaging in terms of its discriminatory effects in the United States, but ample evidence demonstrates that the international impact of the War on Drugs has been worse.  If there were an unfortunate prize for most disproportionate impact suffered by a group “constructed as the ‘other’” by the War on Drugs, it would have been won many times over by Colombians and the other peoples of the coca-growing regions of Latin America. 



On September 30th, 2001, the Colombian army discovered the body of Consuelo Araujo, a popular journalist and former Colombian culture minister, in a rural northeast area of the country.[4]  Nearly one week before her body was discovered, guerrilla soldiers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had kidnapped Araujo and several other people at a roadblock in the Cesar Province in northeastern Colombia.  Army officials speculated that the guerrillas shot Araujo to death because “a patrol had discovered where she was being held, and had been closing in on her captors when soldiers came across her body.”[5]     

The following month, on October 10th, 2001, the Colombian village of Alaska also made international headlines.  Alaska” is the unlikely name of a small village located approximately 150 miles southwest of Bogotá.  Unfortunately, the massacre that occurred there was far from unlikely.  Paramilitary soldiers from the United Self-Defense Forces (AUC) of Colombia entered the village in the early afternoon.[6]   For several hours, the paramilitaries arbitrarily rounded up villagers, divided them by age, and then systematically shot and killed them next to a kindergarten building.[7]  An additional twelve villagers kidnapped by the paramilitaries on the same day are still missing.[8]  

Earlier in the year, on January 17th, approximately fifty paramilitaries murdered twenty-four men in the village of Chengue, Colombia “‘by crushing their heads with heavy stones and a sledgehammer.’”[9]  Local authorities had known about the impending massacre for several months and had alerted the Colombian government.[10]  Their pleas fell on deaf ears.  In the wake of the massacre, two-dozen residents interviewed by a Washington Post reporter said that the Colombian army willingly allowed the massacre to occur.  The residents said that, “the military sealed off the area by conducting a mock daylong battle, allowing the paramilitaries to search out and kill the Colombians they had targeted for death.”[11]  The alleged complicity of the Colombian military in this massacre comes as no surprise given prior cases of military-paramilitary cooperation, amply documented by organizations like Human Rights Watch.[12]

The above descriptions are only a small sampling of the human rights catastrophe currently taking place in Colombia.  Although human rights violations have historically occurred in the country as a result of internal conflicts, external factors have catalyzed these conflicts and have substantially expanded the scope and nature of human rights abuses.  These external factors are the international drug trade and the U.S. Drug War. This paper examines the complex causes of this human rights catastrophe -- causes that go to the heart of the long narcotized relationship between Colombia and the United States.

In summarizing these causes, it can be said that as a consequence of United States anti-narcotics policy and the War on Drugs in general, the U.S. government is both directly and indirectly implicated in the growing human rights crisis in Colombia.  Because of its past and present role in these human rights atrocities, the U.S. is in violation of the Leahy Amendment and similar human rights requirements placed on Colombian aid.  However, beyond the explanation of the specific violations in question, an analysis of the U.S. role in the present Colombian conflict will allow for a more general critique of U.S. Drug War policy.



Just a few decades ago, Colombia brought to mind bucolic images of Juan Valdez and Andean coffee plantations.  Now any mention of the country automatically elicits images of cocaine, powerful drug cartels, mafia kingpins like Pablo Escobar and the Orejuela brothers, guerrilla attacks, kidnappings, paramilitary massacres, and generalized chaos.[13]  The causes of this apparent chaos are varied and complex.  A recently published report by the RAND Corporation used the term ‘labyrinth’ to describe the causes of Colombia’s current instability.[14] 

Even before the growth of narcotrafficking in Colombia in the 1970s, and before the declaration of the U.S. sponsored War on Drugs in the 1980s, the South American country was already wrestling with a series of internal social and political crises.[15]  These crises included massive economic disparities, a burgeoning guerrilla movement, a tenuous peace after a long and terrible undeclared civil war, recurring political violence and corruption.[16]  With the rise of the international drug trade and the Drug War over the last thirty years, this already complex internal situation has become much more complicated and international in scope.

Colombia is a country that is deeply misunderstood by a majority of North Americans for a variety of reasons, most of them related to stereotypes generated by the War on Drugs.[17]  Given these common misperceptions about the country, it is important to provide the reader with some useful, but brief background information to better understand the complex issues addressed in this article.


2.1 Geography

Because of its location between South and Central America, Colombia has been called the “Gateway to Latin America.”[18]  Colombia’s geographical location and its status as a key Latin American country have certain implications for U.S. strategic security interests.[19]  Consequently, the U.S. is concerned with Colombia for much more than the circumstances involving the Drug War.[20]  These strategic concerns help to explain the movement from Drug War to dirty war given the recent refocusing of U.S. military aid to be discussed below.

In comparative terms, Colombia is “slightly less than three times the size of Montana.”[21]  The major urban centers are Bogotá (the nation’s capital), Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena, and Bucaramanga. Bathed by both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the country has an enviable geographical location.  Poised at the northern tip of South America, this is a country of vast plains, high mountains, rivers, and rain forests.[22]  The tropical rain forests of the south, and the hot, vast plains of the east come abruptly to a stop at the base of the Andes Mountains in the west, which make up the vital backbone of western Colombia. 

The Andes enter the country from the south and branch off into three distinct ranges called the East, Central, and West Ranges respectively.[23]  In ascending the Andes, the temperature cools and the environment changes.[24]  Like most of the Native American peoples living in this area at the time of the arrival of the Spanish, the majority of Colombians currently inhabit this mountainous region.[25]  It is also the Andes Mountains and the variety of microclimates found at differing elevations there that have made it possible for Colombia to become the world’s largest coca cultivator and cocaine producer.[26]


2.2 People

By the latest estimates, Colombia has more than forty million inhabitants.[27]  In dispelling the media-hyped myths about Colombians, the distinguished Colombianist and historian, Professor David Bushnell, has said that,

I have had my share of bad experiences in that country as elsewhere, and I have seen things that I would rather not have seen; but I have made firm friends there and have come to love the sights and sounds and smells that assault my senses whenever I again set foot on Colombian soil. I have also observed that the great majority of Colombians (trite as it may be to say so) are peaceable, courteous, and not engaged in any kind of violent or criminal activity.[28]

It is important to add to Professor Bushnell’s observation that although the vast majority of Colombians are not engaged in any violent or criminal activity, more and more Colombians are nevertheless victims of violent crime by groups intimately tied to narcotrafficking and/or the Drug War.[29]


2.3 Economy

Colombia has a variety of natural resources, including petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, and hydropower.[30]  In addition to exporting natural resources, the country exports coffee, clothing and footwear, processed foods, beverages, chemicals, cut flowers, bananas, and many other agricultural and industrial products.[31]  Until a severe recession hit the country in 1999, the economy had been noted for its slow, but steady growth rates since 1931.[32]  Prior to the recession, Colombia had enjoyed “strong business performance. . . a stable currency supported by sound external accounts and an international investment grade rating, manageable fiscal imbalances and a stable and moderate inflation.”[33]  Furthermore, Colombia is the only Latin American country that has never defaulted on its international loan obligations.[34]

It is essential to emphasize the historical strength of legal Colombian economic activities to dispel the myth that Colombia is a “narco-economy.”[35]  In discussing media reports about the country’s economy, Bushnell mentions that there have been “many wildly exaggerated reports about the importance of the drug business to the Colombian economy….”[36]  He continues by stating that cocaine was never more significant to the economy than coffee, “even though there may have been years when net illegal earnings of foreign exchange from cocaine –- for which the best estimates ranged between 2 percent and 3 percent of Colombia’s gross domestic product –- were greater than the total export sales of coffee.”[37] 

Although cocaine earnings may have rivaled coffee earnings at times in the past, the economic impact of cocaine has been much more limited because “coffee [has] employed far more people, both in the growing and, because of its bulk, in handling and transportation.”[38]  It follows that the Colombian economy is by no means “addicted” to the trade in illicit drugs.  However, the fact that Colombia is not a narco-economy does not mean that cocaine has not had a major corrupting influence in Colombian society.  This point is particularly clear when discussing the undeniable corruption of Colombia’s human rights violators by narcotrafficking. ‘


2.4 History, Politics, and Society

In social and political terms, the phrase that has most described these realities in Colombia is La Violencia.[39]  As mentioned in the Introduction, human rights violations historically have occurred in the country as a result of internal social and political conflicts.  Accordingly, the internal factors of these conflicts must be examined to understand how the external factors of the drug trade and the War on Drugs have acted as catalysts to create a human rights disaster.

La Violencia was the term initially used to characterize the undeclared civil war that lasted from the late 1940s to the late 1950s, which began as a conflict between Colombia’s two main political parties and later broadened into a wider social conflict.[40]  There had been political conflicts between the elites of the Liberal and Conservative parties since the nineteenth century, but this conflict differed in that it eventually transformed into a “peasant-based social rebellion.”[41]  The more than 300,000 lives lost during La Violencia are a testament to the scope and intensity of this bloody conflict.[42] 

A military coup in 1953 established a dictatorship that attempted to end the violence, but Liberal and Conservative party elites -- the main contenders at the beginning of the conflict -- united to overthrow the dictatorship in 1957.[43]  Garry M. Leech, publisher of the electronic journal Colombia Report, explains that

[t]he following year the Conservative and Liberal elite implemented a power sharing agreement called the National Front, in which the two parties would alternate four year terms in the presidency with all public positions being distributed evenly between the two parties.  The formation of the National Front brought an end to the nineteenth-century style aspect of La Violencia: conflict between factions of the ruling elite.”[44]

Before it ended in 1974, the power sharing arrangement between traditional political elites was characterized by rampant corruption, high abstention rates, and a complete lack of legitimacy in the eyes of broad sectors of Colombian society.[45]  Since the beginning of La Violencia, peasant groups had been forming self-defense organizations in rural areas of the country.[46]  Liberal and Communist peasants, who instinctively distrusted the central government and large landowners, formed many of these groups.[47]  After National Front governments began attacking these groups as “gangs of Communist bandits” in 1996, many of them joined forces to become the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1966.[48]  During this time, the two other major guerrilla groups, the Army of National Liberation (ELN) and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), were also formed.[49] 

Even though there have been other guerrilla groups since the 1960s, the FARC and ELN are the largest guerrilla organizations today.[50]  Since that time, Colombia has been in yet another undeclared civil war pitting the guerrilla groups against the government.[51]  The guerrillas denounce the government as a violent “false democracy” that lacks complete legitimacy.[52]  Accordingly, the guerrilla groups and their sympathizers believe that an armed struggle against the state is not only a legitimate means to oppose and overthrow the government, but the only means available.[53] 

With the growth of narcotrafficking between 1972 and 1982, a new and often violent social group arrived on the national scene -- the cocaine mafia.[54]  Garry Leech describes the initial relationship between guerrillas and drug lords in the following terms:

During the early years of the coca boom the guerrillas and the drug lords worked together.  The guerrillas controlled many of the coca growing regions while the cartels managed much of the cocaine production and trafficking.  However, this informal alliance soon collapsed when the leaders of the drug cartels in Medellín and Cali began investing their new found wealth in property, primarily large cattle ranches, which placed them firmly in the ranks of the guerrillas’ traditional enemy [i.e., large landowners].  The new narco-landowners soon began organizing their own paramilitary armies in order to fight the guerrillas and the various groups they viewed as guerrilla sympathizers.[55]

Since this time, the Colombian Armed Forces have worked closely with paramilitary forces to fight the guerrillas.[56]  Today, it is the conflict between these three actors -- the Colombian Armed Forces, the paramilitaries, and the guerrillas -- that is the primary internal motor of violence and human rights abuses in the country.[57]  However, it is the vast amount of funds and weapons provided by the external drug trade (particularly because of U.S. Drug War policies) that have fueled the motor of violence and expanded this historical conflict into disastrous proportions.[58]


2.5 Origins and Evolution of the Drug Trade

There are at least six general historical periods related to the production of coca, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin in Colombia.[59]  The first period encompasses the cultivation of coca during pre-Columbian times.[60]  The second period, from the sixteenth until the early nineteenth centuries, involved the cultivation and commercialization of coca leaves.[61]  The third period from 1810 to 1960 witnessed the same ancient cultural use of coca among the indigenous peoples of Colombia as in pre-Columbian times.[62]

The fourth period from 1965 to 1982 introduced the first contemporary form of narcotrafficking with the growth of marijuana cultivation on the northern coast.[63]  The cocaine trade was consolidated during the fifth period from 1972 to 1991.[64]  A sixth period, characterized by the processing and export of both cocaine and heroin, is discernable from 1990 to date.[65]

As mentioned above, the enormous sums of money from the illegal drug trade have had a serious corrupting influence on Colombian society.[66]  In particular, narcotrafficking has had an equally corrupting influence on all of Colombia’s principal human rights violators.[67]  Consequently, the usual attempt to malign only guerrillas and/or paramilitaries for narco-corruption misses the point that government security forces are equally implicated.


2.6 The U.S. Drug War(s)

From President Nixon’s first declaration of war on drugs in 1971 to the current Drug War policy of G.W. Bush, U.S. counter-narcotics programs have experienced an enormous transformation.[68]  When Nixon declared drugs to be “public enemy number one in the United States,” his proposed drug policy focused primarily on treatment, rather than law enforcement.[69]  In spite of compelling research demonstrating the effectiveness of drug treatment programs and the ineffectiveness of law enforcement solutions to the problems caused by illicit drug consumption, U.S. Drug War policy since Nixon has focused primarily on the latter at the expense of treatment.[70]

During the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, Drug War policy became a main priority.[71]  Counter-narcotics policy was expanded and militarized as Customs, FBI, ATF, IRS, Army and Navy were recruited into the Drug War.[72]  The international, supply-side orientation of U.S. Drug War policy began to grow substantially during that time.[73]  This orientation was readily apparent by joint U.S.–Mexico and U.S.–Colombia anti-narcotics operations, which resulted in the confiscation and destruction of nearly four billion dollars worth of illicit drugs in only two well-publicized drug busts in 1984.[74]

The Drug War tendencies of the Reagan Administration were continued and strengthened under the G.H. Bush Administration.  The international application of military force in the Drug War reached new heights with the 1989 invasion of Panama and the conviction of General Manuel Noriega on charges of narcotrafficking.[75]  The presidentialelection of Democrat Bill Clinton did nothing to change the militaristic enforcement focus of the Drug War.  Instead, the trend continued with the Clinton Administration’s support in 2000 of a major military aid package, called Plan Colombia.[76]  Today, in the tradition of the last several administrations, the counter-narcotics policy of G.W. Bush aims to further intensify the military aspect of the Drug War.[77]  As explained in detail below, the military focus of counter-narcotics policies has already converted the Drug War into a dirty war in Colombia.



With this background, it is now possible to examine the current connection between the War on Drugs and human rights violations in the country.  Today, Colombia exports an estimated eighty percent of the world’s cocaine supply and is a growing source of heroin and other opium derivatives.[78]  The United States is the largest consumer of these illicit drugs produced in Colombia.[79]  This narcotized relationship between the two countries has been the main catalyst of Colombia’s current instability and human rights crisis.  As the Colombian journalist and intellectual Antonio Caballero puts it, 

Colombia’s relationship with drugs prohibited by the United States government and consumed massively by the U.S. population can be summarized in a single phrase: it has been, in twenty-five years, the main source of moral and physical annihilation of this third world country due to the envy and hypocrisy of the North American empire.  To summarize this relationship in only two words, it has been ‘a crime.’[80]

In addition to being the world’s largest cocaine producer, Colombia also has the worst human rights record in the Western Hemisphere.[81]  The relationship between the human rights debacle and the drug trade is by no means a coincidence.  As explained above, even though the production and commercialization of illicit drugs is not the sole cause of human rights abuses in Colombia, the drug trade and the attempts to limit or stop it altogether have empowered the actors most implicated in committing these abuses.[82]

According to the Rand Corporation, the ‘synergy’ between the nearly four decade old insurgency in Colombia with drug trafficking has created a situation that threatens not only the stability of the Colombian State, but U.S. national security interests as well.[83]  The U.S. Government appears to have arrived at the same conclusion, given the approval last year of the 1.3 billion dollar support package called Plan Colombia during the Clinton Administration.  President G.W. Bush’s Andean Regional Initiative, the name of the Bush Administration’s counter narcotics strategy for the producing and drug exporting countries of the Andes,[84] has recently adopted Plan Colombia without significant changes.  As the largest aid package ever sent to a Latin American country, Plan Colombia represents a watershed in U.S. – Colombian relations and a major change in Drug War policy.[85]  Approximately seventy-five percent of U.S. Plan Colombia aid is earmarked to provide weapons and training to Colombian military and police forces in the fight against narcotrafficking.[86]

This escalation of the Drug War has created a great deal of concern and criticism.  The European Union, several NGOs, and a number of scholars have accused the plan of being overly militaristic and misguided.[87]  The U.S. is sending hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and training to the Colombian armed forces –- an institution with a deplorable and very well documented human rights record.[88]  All of this is reminiscent of the U.S. support for the bloody armed forces and paramilitary groups of certain Central American countries in the 1980s.[89]

Now it appears that under the pretext of national security, the War on Drugs in Colombia has become a dirty war with U.S. military and financial support.  Once again, the United States is deeply embroiled in a human rights tragedy of enormous proportions in Latin America.[90]  Sadly, the U.S. strategy adopted will almost certainly fail to stem the flow of illicit narcotics on the world market and will miserably fail to address the real problems of illicit drug consumption in the U.S.; however, Plan Colombia is guaranteed to make a bad human rights situation in Colombia much worse.


3.1 The Scope of the Human Rights Crisis

According to statistics, Colombia is arguably the most dangerous place in the Western Hemisphere.  As the RAND report states, “[t]he homicide rate rose from 15 to 92 per 100,000 inhabitants between 1974 and 1995” and “[h]omicide rates for males aged 14-44 years increased from 29 to 394 per 100,000 between 1980 and 1995, a 1350 percent increase.”[91]  Each day, an average of fourteen people are victims of political violence or death in combat.[92]  At 3,000 kidnappings per year, Colombia is the kidnapping capital of the world.[93]  In addition, there are nearly two million forcibly displaced people in Colombia and hundreds of thousands of Colombian refugees in surrounding Latin American countries.[94]  People are regularly threatened, “disappeared,” tortured, kidnapped and massacred. Journalists, community leaders, human rights workers and government investigators are frequently attacked and assassinated.  There are frequent extrajudicial killings, and criminals and human rights violators operate with a high degree of impunity.[95]

The internal refugee situation created by the violence has been so critical that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has maintained a permanent office in Bogotá since 1998 to monitor the refugee crisis as well as general human rights abuses in the country.[96]  Human rights organizations issue permanent alerts about the crisis in Colombia.[97]  Even the U.S. State Department has issued strong statements regarding the human rights abuses in the country.[98]


3.2 Drugs and Human Rights Violators

As mentioned above, the trilogy of human rights violators-- the Colombian military, the guerrillas and the paramilitaries -- are all involved in the drug trade.[99]  In a phrase, the drug trade is an equal-opportunity corruptor.  This fact makes it difficult to assert that any one of these groups is somehow guiltier than the others with regards to involvement with illicit drugs.  

Guerrillas are heavily involved in the protection of illicit crops and laboratories in the regions under their control, in exchange for enormous sums of money that they use to fund their war against the Colombian state.[100]  Paramilitary groups are intimately linked to narcotrafficking.  Created by narcotraffickers to serve as private armies for protecting their land interests against incursions by guerrillas, paramilitary groups were essentially born out of narcotrafficking.[101]  Even though they are now somewhat independent, Carlos Castaño, the former supreme leader of the paramilitary movement, casually admitted during a televised interview that nearly 80% of paramilitary group financing comes from narcotrafficking.[102] 

Colombian security and police forces have also been corrupted by narcotrafficking at all levels.  From individual bribes and drug shipments on military transports, to sustained collaboration with narcotraffickers at the highest levels of government, the extent of the corruption has been alarming.[103]  However, the corruption of the armed forces is perhaps best understood as a particular instance of the general corruption of the entire Colombian state by narcotrafficking.[104]

For the last forty years, the guerrillas have been trying to take over the state and have been largely funded by their traditional kidnapping, extortion, and theft activities.[105] However, the guerrillas have recently been growing in strength and sophistication, due to the influx of drug money.  The paramilitary groups, also largely funded by drug money, are violently contesting guerrilla control throughout the country.  In fact, the paramilitary groups are by far the most macabre and violent of Colombian human rights violators.[106]  Government security forces, now well trained and well armed by the U.S. Government via the War on Drugs in general and Plan Colombia in particular, work directly with the paramilitaries to eliminate guerrillas and “guerrilla sympathizers” under the justification that they are eliminating the “narcoguerrilla” threat.[107]  It is the actions of these three “armed actors” fueled by drug money, or by money to fight drugs that have created Colombia’s current human rights crisis.



Consumers of illicit drugs in the United States are indirectly involved in the human rights crisis by inadvertently funding the guerrilla and paramilitary groups engaging in human rights abuses.  In contrast to U.S. consumers, the U.S. government is directly and consciously implicated in the Colombian human rights crisis by providing training and military hardware for Colombian military forces and, by logical extension, for their paramilitary allies.  It is important to mention that the only reason U.S. consumers are involved is because Drug War policies have succeeded in creating a growing and astronomically profitable illegal market that, among other unpleasant things, is fueling Colombia’s human rights crisis. 

Referring to the quote by Antonio Caballero in the epigraph of this paper, it is now possible to understand how the Drug War is as absurd as it is tragic:  first, drug supply control policies create lucrative markets for narcotrafficers in the U.S.; second, U.S. consumers pay billions of dollars a year for illicit drugs; third, the drug moneys from these consumers end up destabilizing countries like Colombia by corrupting the government and arming guerrillas and paramilitaries; and fourth, to “support” countries like Colombia, the U.S. government redoubles and militarizes its Drug War policies and provides arms to attack the organizations inadvertently sponsored by U.S. consumers.  This is the vicious cycle of the Drug War, and its most natural consequence is the instability of Colombian society, the precariousness of its institutions, and its glaring human rights crisis.

What is worse, the Drug War now resembles a U.S.-sponsored low intensity conflict against Colombian rebels.  Plan Colombia does not focus on eradicating narcotrafficking networks.  It does not focus on controlling the billions of dollars laundered every year by legitimate financial institutions.  It does not provide viable crop alternative programs for Colombian peasants, who grow coca and poppies not to become rich, but to simply feed their families.  Plan Colombia focuses almost exclusively on the guerrillas and on the peasants producing the illicit crops.  The U.S. has gone from Drug War to dirty war.  In short, the United States government has engaged in a course of action that will not only embroil it in a counterinsurgency war with devastating human rights violations, but will fail to achieve its objective of stemming the drug trade. As U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has said regarding the Drug War:

Everyone wants to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, but we have spent billions trying to do that and the flow has gotten worse, not better.  What we are seeing is a dramatic ratcheting up of a counter-insurgency policy in the name of a counter-drug policy.  The Administration’s purpose is to inflict enough damage to the guerrillas that they feel compelled to negotiate.  That sounds appealing, but it is a costly and dangerous policy as we saw in Central America in the 1980s.  Before going down that road the Administration needs to tell us what they expect to achieve, in what period of time, and what the costs and risks are.  And we at least need to see a concerted effort by the Colombian Army to thwart the paramilitary groups, who are responsible for most of the atrocities against civilians, and a willingness by the Colombian Armed Forces to turn over to the civilian courts their own members who violate human rights.[108]


4.1 Drug War to Dirty War: Repackaging the NarcoGuerrilla Thesis[109]

The RAND Corporation has been one of the most important architects in the construction of American foreign policy for over half a century.[110]  RAND is an ostensibly private organization, but its long and intimate relationship with the U.S. government has rendered its private status dubious at the least.  One of RAND's subdivisions has been advising the U.S. Air Force for years on a variety of policy issues.  Aptly named "Project Air Force," this subdivision has the mission of providing the Air Force "with independent analyses of policy alternatives affecting the development, employment, combat readiness, and support of current and future aerospace forces."[111]  Project Air Force has turned its interests in independent analysis toward Colombia with the recent publication of a study mentioned above titled Colombia Labyrinth - The Synergy of Drugs and Insurgency and Its Implications for Regional Stability.[112]

Coauthored by RAND researchers Angel Rabasa and Peter Chalk, "Colombia Labyrinth" sets itself the ambitious task of identifying the sources of instability in Colombia.  Rabasa and Chalk assess the relative strengths and objectives of the armed actor trilogy of government, guerrillas, and paramilitaries, and evaluate the impact of the U.S.-funded Plan Colombia.  Finally, the co-authors provide several possible scenarios of how present circumstances may play out in the near future.  All of this is rigorously done from the perspective of U.S. strategic interests, so it is largely indifferent to human rights concerns and to the real complexities of Colombia's problems.

"Colombia Labyrinth" is rightly critical of the nature of the 1.3 billion dollar aid package provided by Washington for Plan Colombia, but for all the wrong reasons.  Instead of criticizing the clearly military orientation of the package with its fleets of Huey and Blackhawk helicopters, the study surprisingly concludes that the military orientation does not go far enough.[113]  According to Rabasa and Chalk, Plan Colombia and U.S. foreign policy toward Colombia in general is so concerned with drug policy issues that they neglect what are considered to be equally important counterinsurgency issues affecting U.S. national security interests.[114]  It is clear from the title of the study that Rabasa and Chalk think the main threat to those interests are guerrillas and illicit drugs.  In so many words, they have appropriated the "narcoguerrilla" thesis manufactured in the 1980´s by the Colombian military, added some sophisticated RAND make-up, and resold it as an original RAND product.[115]

This repackaged narcoguerrilla thesis simply holds that the core of the problem, the weakness of the Colombian State, stems from the potent combination of the underground drug economy and armed challenges to state authority.  The proceeds earned by the FARC and ELN in their participation in the production and commercialization of cocaine and heroin have served to expand their base of financial and territorial support, to purchase sophisticated weaponry, and to make possible a more concerted assault on the power of the central government.[116]  Because drugs and insurgency have coalesced, say Rabasa and Chalk, the solution is to do what the Colombian Generals have been saying all along: annihilate the guerrillas.  Erasing the line between counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency, as the study advocates in theory and as the U.S. government has done in practice, has represented a change from a Drug War to a dirty war.

The new U.S. policy in the region, to be explained in more detail below, translates into arming the Colombian Government to battle “narcoguerrillas.”  It also translates into arming Colombia’s neighbors to avoid, in the words of Rabasa and Chalk, “the spillover of the drug trade and the civil conflict in Colombia and the risk of regional destabilization.”[117]  Therefore, Colombia is to be quarantined while more fuel is added to the raging fire.

With the Central American experiences of the 1980s, it is not difficult to see what the consequences of the escalation of an already thoroughly militarized foreign policy approach will be.  More telling examples of the negative consequences to come are detailed in the U.S. Department of State’s Human Rights Report on Colombia for 2000, released in February of 2001.  After analyzing information accumulated over last year, the report concluded that the

“[Colombian] Government’s human rights record remained poor. . .security forces continued to commit serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, authorities rarely brought higher-ranking officers of the security forces and the police charged with human rights offenses to justice . . .[and] security forces collaborated with paramilitary groups that committed abuses.”[118]

It follows that even without Rabasa and Chalk’s suggested acceleration of a 1980s-style dirty war, the current orientation of Plan Colombia promises to be a human rights disaster.


4.2 Plan Colombia - The Dirty Drug War

In Plan Colombia, the U.S. provides explicit support for the Colombian Armed Forces and also knowingly provides support indirectly to paramilitary forces.  These very facts alone demonstrate U.S. government complicity with human rights violations in Colombia.  However, there appears to be a consensus in Washington that human rights atrocities are an acceptable price to pay for drug supply control.  The best evidence for this affirmation comes from General Barry McCaffrey while he was still the U.S. Drug Czar.  When President Clinton chose to waive nearly all of the strict human rights conditions placed by Congress on Plan Colombia aid in the name of national security, McCaffrey defended the decision by saying, “[y]ou don’t hold up the major objective [drug supply control] to achieve the minor [i.e. human rights].”[119]

Plan Colombia is the blueprint for another militarized, supply-side, enforcement-oriented counter-narcotics program that we have come to expect from U.S. administrations since Nixon.  It is also the blueprint for a dirty war.  Plan Colombia is grossly misconceived for a number of reasons and it will only serve as a mechanism for continuing and worsening human rights abuses in Colombia.  As mentioned previously, Plan Colombia is misconceived because it focuses on the guerrilla-held drug producing regions of the country and does very little or nothing to target urban-based narcotrafficking networks and money-laundering networks.  Consequently, Plan Colombia is really a plan for creating a counterinsurgency or “dirty” war.[120]

Plan Colombia consists of providing training and weapons for special anti-drug battalions and massive illicit crop fumigations targeting the cocaine and heroin producing regions of guerrilla-held southern Colombia as mentioned above in the geography section.  The practical effect of Plan Colombia will be as follows: first, human rights abuses will worsen as the U.S.-funded Colombian military and its paramilitary allies challenge the guerrillas in southern Colombia; second, the crop fumigations will create even more displaced peasants; third, displacing peasants will create more support for guerrillas, which will then exacerbate the undeclared civil war between the guerrillas on one side and the government and paramilitaries on the other; fourth, peasants will be driven further into the Colombian jungle to continue planting illicit crops, thus defeating the purposes of the eradication program; fifth, drug crop cultivation will simply be relocated to neighboring countries; and finally, undeclared warfare and population displacements will further destabilize the surrounding countries of Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.[121]


5. The MANY Problems with HUMAN RIGHTS CONDITIONS IN U.S. Aid to Colombia

This section analyzes problems with human rights conditions on U.S. aid to Colombia in more detail.  It addresses, from the general to the specific, the tremendous shortcomings of human rights legislation regarding Plan Colombia.  In addressing these shortcomings, it becomes clear that the problems in question move well beyond the U.S.-Colombian relationship to indict the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment.


5.1 Plan Colombia: an Undemocratic Fait Accomplis

Perhaps the most serious problem with the U.S. aid package to Colombia is that it poses a major policy shift without adequate congressional participation.[122]  The policy shift in question changes the nature of U.S. counter-narcotics policy in Colombia by focusing funding primarily on the Colombian military rather than on the Colombian National Police.[123]  The Center for International Policy explains this policy change in the following terms:

. . .the focus on Colombia’s army represent[s] a major change in the direction of U.S. aid to Colombia. Before 1999, Colombia’s national Police received the vast majority of U.S. assistance.  Years of aerial herbicide fumigation of coca (the plant used to produce cocaine), however, caused cultivation of the crop to move to the south, in particular to the department of Putumayo along Colombia’s border with Ecuador.  U.S. and Colombian officials consider Putumayo, a stronghold of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) guerrillas, to be too dangerous for the police-centered strategy followed throughout the 1990s.[124]

As this paper argues, this shift in U.S. policy changes the long and unsuccessful Drug War into a dirty war against Colombian peasants and rebels.

Consequently, Plan Colombia logically positions the U.S. directly in the center of Colombia’s longstanding counterinsurgency conflict.  With Plan Colombia, counter-narcotics strategy becomes indistinguishable from counterinsurgency operations.  Such a dramatic change would surely involve careful congressional reflection and deliberation. Such a change would also ostensibly require a democratic vote in Congress.  Unfortunately, in the beginning stages of the policy change, Congress was not consulted.[125]  In fact, the Pentagon essentially presented a fait accomplis policy to Congress.[126]

The Center for International Policy again explains this fait accomplis as follows:

[t]hough the [policy change] began in April 1999 – the result of a December 1998 agreement between the Pentagon and Colombia’s Defense Ministry – Congress did not have an opportunity to vote on it until the 2000 aid package, when the strategy was well underway.  The first [so-called anti-narcotics] battalion’s training and non-lethal equipment were funded through the Defense Department’s ‘section 1004’ counter-drug aid authority, which does not require reporting to Congress.  Later aid included a September 1999 drawdown of weapons and parts, and a ‘no-cost lease’ of U.S.-owned UH-1 helicopters in November 1999.  Neither transfer is subject to legislative approval or debate, as the law merely requires that Congress be notified.  By the time Congress was asked to fund counternarcotics battalions, the first unit was already fully trained and equipped.[127]

Human Rights Watch also corroborates this information.[128]  In fact, Human Rights Watch goes much further by stating that, “U.S. officials deployed the bureaucracy in a way that allowed them to create the battalion without first gaining the approval of the U.S. Congress or risking a congressional suspension.”[129]

Essentially, secret Pentagon agreements, funding provisions without Congressional oversight, unaccountable “drawdowns” and “no-cost leases”, bureaucratic stonewalling, and deliberate executive subterfuge explain how Plan Colombia was undemocratically conceived.  Given the fact that Plan Colombia originated during the Clinton Administration, it demonstrates that Republican and Democrat presidents alike are guilty of undermining Congress with regards to foreign policy.[130]  In this way, the undemocratic maneuvers to make major changes in U.S.-Colombian counter-narcotics policy affect much more than U.S. policy towards this South American country.  Such maneuvers call into question the general legitimacy and the decision-making process of the U.S. foreign policy establishment.


5.2 Inconsistencies in U.S. Aid

Another serious problem with U.S. aid to other countries, including Colombia, is that the U.S. government sends mixed and confusing messages to aid-receiving states regarding the importance of human rights.[131]  There is simply a lack of consistency in the application of human rights principles throughout the U.S. government.[132]  This lack of consistency is manifest in a variety of different examples. 

First, there is a patent lack of consistency between U.S. human rights policy and the actions of top executive cabinet members.  The rather callous quote above by ex-Drug Czar General McCaffrey is a clear example of this.[133]  Congress’ message to the Colombian government, which has been to stop abuses of the armed forces, to cease conspiring with paramilitaries, and to bring violators to justice,[134] is seriously subverted by comments such as these.

Second, there is a lack of consistency between congressional human rights legislation and the actions of the President.[135]  Even more disturbing is the President’s lack of consistency between his actions and pronouncements.  As Human Rights Watch has pointed out in the case of former President Clinton, the “President . . .[has] said publicly that breaking these ties [with paramilitary groups] and ensuring accountability for human rights crimes were among the most important goals of U.S. policy.”[136]  However, in 2000, President Clinton waived virtually all human rights conditions placed on U.S. military aid to Colombia.[137] 

The effect of this waiver was to send the message to the Colombian government and armed forces that human rights concerns were nothing more than empty rhetoric.[138]  According to Human Rights Watch, President G.W. Bush has shown no signs of altering the course set by his predecessor.[139]  In fact, with regards to the human rights waiver, a senior U.S. official at the Embassy in Bogotá stated, “I think we will waive human rights conditions indefinitely.”[140]

Third, there remains an inconsistency between U.S. human rights policy and the actions of agencies such as the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),[141] which are largely independent of Congressional oversight.  Congressional human rights legislation may apply only weakly or not at all to instances involving DOD programs, and they do not apply at all to CIA programs.[142]  Even in cases where Congress has attached human rights conditions to DOD programs, there is an unjustifiably broad and unaccountable human rights waiver provision that may be invoked for “extraordinary circumstances.”[143]

Consequently, there is a clear need for a coherent and consistent approach to human rights conditions on foreign aid packages.  Human rights should be more than superficial diplomatic rhetoric.  In addition, exceptions for “extraordinary circumstances” or exceptions “in the interest of national security” should be given Congressional oversight with transparent criteria.


5.3 Flouting Human Rights Conditions

Another serious problem involving U.S. aid to other countries, including Colombia, is that officials and institutions of both the U.S. government and foreign governments actively and routinely flout human rights conditions on foreign aid packages.[144]  Human rights conditions are ignored through a battery of practices ranging from subtle non-compliance to outright violations.[145]  To fully understand the details of this non-compliance with human rights conditions on foreign aid packages, particularly with respect to Plan Colombia, an exploration of specific Congressional human rights conditions is necessary.


5.3.1 The Leahy Provision(s)

Short of a wholesale transformation of U.S. Drug War policy, one of the most promising avenues for stopping at least direct U.S. government support of human rights abuses in Colombia is enforcing and strengthening what is known as the “Leahy Law” or the “Leahy Provision.”  The Leahy Law prohibits U.S. military aid, such as the aid provided the Colombian government through Plan Colombia and through regular Drug War appropriations, to foreign armed forces that violate human rights with impunity.[146]  What began as a small footnote in foreign aid requirements has expanded to cover many of the security assistance programs under Congressional supervision.[147]  Human Rights Watch properly points out that, “[t]he Leahy Law applies to funds no matter which country is destined to receive them.”[148]  However, foreign aid to Colombia has to date been the main focus of the law.[149]

There are really two different Leahy Law versions: one is attached to Foreign Operations Appropriations, and the other is attached to Defense Appropriations.  For example, the Leahy Law in the 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, located in Section 563 of P.L. 106-429 under the title “Limitations on Assistance to Security Forces,” states that

None of the funds made available by this Act may be provided to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights, unless the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.[150]

It is important to point out that this Leahy Law version covering Foreign Operations Appropriations contains no waivers.

While the above Leahy Law covers both training and assistance, such as weapons grants, the Leahy Law in the 2001 Defense Appropriations Act (Sec. 8092 of P.L. 106-259) covers only training.[151]  Similar to the Leahy Law for Foreign Operations Appropriations, this Leahy Law states that

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that [a member of such] unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken.[152]

However, this Leahy Law has a waiver allowing the Secretary of Defense to ignore all of the above requirements in the presence of “extraordinary circumstances.”[153]  After mentioning similar human rights conditions on U.S. aid to Colombia in the section below, a thorough critique of the problems with the Leahy Laws and with other Congressional human rights conditions will follow.


5.3.2 Other Human Rights Conditions on Aid to Colombia

In addition to the Leahy Laws above, the Plan Colombia package, known also as Public Law 106-246, contained human rights conditions specifically tailored to Colombia.[154]  Section 3201 of Plan Colombia declares that the U.S. Secretary of Defense must make the following lengthy certification that is worth reprinting in its entirety:

(1) Certification required: Assistance provided under this heading may be made available for Colombia in fiscal years 2000 and 2001 only if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees prior to the initial obligation of such assistance in each such fiscal year, that--

(A)    (i) the President of Colombia has directed in writing that Colombian Armed Forces personnel who are credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights will be brought to justice in Colombia's civilian courts, in accordance with the 1997 ruling of Colombia's Constitutional court regarding civilian court jurisdiction in human rights cases; and

(ii) the Commander General of the Colombian Armed Forces is promptly suspending from duty any Colombian Armed Forces personnel who are credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights or to have aided or abetted paramilitary groups; and

(iii) the Colombian Armed Forces and its Commander General are fully complying with (A)(i) and (ii); and

(B) the Colombian Armed Forces are cooperating fully with civilian authorities in investigating, prosecuting, and punishing in the civilian courts Colombian Armed Forces personnel who are credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights; and

(C) the Government of Colombia is vigorously prosecuting in the civilian courts the leaders and members of paramilitary groups and Colombian Armed Forces personnel who are aiding or abetting these groups.

(D) the Government of Colombia has agreed to and is implementing a strategy to eliminate Colombia's total coca and opium poppy production by 2005 through a mix of alternative development programs; manual eradication; aerial spraying of chemical herbicides; tested, environmentally safe mycoherbicides; and the destruction of illicit narcotics laboratories on Colombian territory;

(E) the Colombian Armed Forces are developing and deploying in their field units a Judge Advocate General Corps to investigate Colombian Armed Forces personnel for misconduct.[155]

The reason for including this substantial passage of Plan Colombia is to demonstrate that, at least superficially, it appears that the issue of human rights violations is seriously addressed.  The requirements above include, among other things, the certification that human rights violators of the Colombian armed forces must be brought to justice, that the military-paramilitary link must be severed, and that human rights violators of all stripes must be vigorously prosecuted in civilian courts.[156]

What is also promising, at least on the surface, is subparagraph 2 of Section 3201, which states that, “[t]he Secretary of State shall consult with internationally recognized human rights organizations regarding the Government of Colombia's progress in meeting the conditions contained in paragraph (1), prior to issuing the certification required under paragraph (1).”[157]  From this passage, it appears that organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, organizations that have been documenting human rights abuses in Colombia and elsewhere, would play a vital role in the certification process.  Unfortunately, subparagraphs 1 and 2 of Section 3201 are rendered virtually meaningless by the following waiver in subparagraph 4, which asserts that,”[a]ssistance may be furnished without regard to this section if the President determines and certifies to the appropriate committees that to do so is in the national security interest.”[158]


5.3.3 Sidestepping Human Rights With or Without Waivers

On August 22, 2000, in spite of the compelling evidence from the State Department and human rights organizations explored previously regarding the continuing links between Colombian security forces and paramilitaries, President Clinton invoked the waiver in Section 3201.[159]  Perhaps to lessen the impact of the waiver somewhat, he certified that Colombia had complied with Section 3201 (1)(A)(i), which is only one of many conditions included in Section 3201.[160]  Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch rejected the certification and the waiver.[161]  As mentioned above, the waiver only communicates the message that human rights are subservient to other, allegedly more pressing goals.  It also sends the message that the U.S. will turn a blind eye to the continued cooperation between the Colombian military and paramilitary forces.

It now appears that the U.S. government has decided to forgo even the issuance of such bogus waivers to eliminate any pretense of respecting human rights in Colombia altogether.  This is manifest in the announcement by the Clinton Administration in January 2001 that no new waivers or certifications would be issued due to a convenient legal loophole.[162]  There are few better examples of such a case of deliberate and arrogant disregard for congressional human rights legislation.  With President Bush, the practice of using or even waiving the waiver is expected to continue.[163]  


5.3.4 Intelligence Gathering and Human Rights

The lack of Congressional oversight over the DOD and the CIA has already been mentioned above in the beginning of Section 5.  Nevertheless, a specific example of this oversight with regards to the CIA is in order.  Intelligence gathering and sharing is one of Plan Colombia’s primary objectives.[164]  Fifty-five million dollars of the plan covers a secret intelligence program outside of congressional oversight.[165]  Given the notorious relationship between CIA intelligence programs and human rights abuses throughout Latin America, Congress should be allowed to know the details of such programs.[166]  Specifically, there should also be congressional oversight to make sure that intelligence activities are limited to counter-narcotics activities. 


5.3.5 Outsourcing Past Human Rights Conditions and Troop Caps

An additional problem involves the outsourcing of human rights accountability.[167]  In the case of human rights violations in Colombia, there is a dual outsourcing of human rights accountability.  First, the Colombian armed forces “outsource” a great deal of their dirty work to paramilitary groups in the attempt to show that they are not directly involved in human rights violations.[168]  Second, the U.S. government “outsources” defense-contracting work to private mercenary companies (like DynCorp) to implement its counter narcotics strategies throughout South America.[169]  The Leahy Law must be adjusted to take into account this dual outsourcing.

Supporters of Plan Colombia claim that the Colombian government is not the only or even most egregious human rights violator in Colombia.[170]  Such supporters point to the statistical improvements in the human rights record of the Colombian police and armed forces.[171]  But these statistical improvements are largely a farce given the intimate links between Colombian security forces and the paramilitary groups –- who are arguably the most egregious human rights violators in the Colombian conflict.[172]  These links serve to show that the Colombian armed forces have been properly schooled in limiting their human rights exposure by “outsourcing” the most atrocious operations in their counter-insurgency warfare to the paramilitaries.  Given the inclination of the U.S. to “outsource” its foreign policy adventures in Colombia and around the world to mercenary multinationals like DynCorp and Military Professional Resources International (MPRI) for the purpose of limiting exposure risks and accountability, it is no wonder where the Colombian military got the idea.[173]

U.S. outsourcing makes it possible to bypass “troop cap” legislation that limits the number of official U.S. military personnel in Colombia.[174]  Troop caps are in place to avoid an escalation of U.S. involvement in the Colombian conflict.  Using outsourced personnel violates the most basic tenets of accountability and creates the risk that mercenaries will be used to unofficially expand U.S. involvement.


5.3.6 The Perils of Vetting

“Vetting” is the process by which the U.S. must certify that individual soldiers and military units receiving U.S. training or aid are not human rights violators.  There are two main problems with vetting that directly violate the terms of the human rights conditions placed on aid to Colombia. First, instead of adequately punishing human rights violators in the Colombian armed forces, the Colombian government has chosen to transfer them to other units that are not receiving U.S. aid.[175]  In addition, vetted units are uninhibited in sharing resources and intelligence with “dirty” units.[176]  Regarding this open defiance of the terms of the Leahy Law and additional human rights conditions, Human Rights Watch rightly states that, “[f]ar from promoting accountability and the rule of law, the practice simply allows the Colombian government to feature supposedly ‘clean’ units eligible for U.S. aid while ‘dirty units’ continued to operate normally.”[177]  The Colombian government is thus in open violation of the Leahy Law.

The second problem is that the vetting process is equally violated by representatives of the U.S. government.[178]  Vetting procedures are not applied consistently, especially if they “threaten[] the a unit considered key to U.S. strategy.”[179]  Human Rights Watch has extensively documented one case of such a violation, lending proof to the claim that “the U.S. will violate the Leahy Provision in order to continue funding and training . . . a unit. . .considered important enough to Drug War objectives.”[180]  Given the structural weakness (e.g. waivers) of the Leahy Law and other human rights conditions on Colombian aid, the deliberate violation of these fragile legislative pronouncements makes them completely pointless.



To recapitulate, as a consequence of United States anti-narcotics policy as manifest in Plan Colombia in particular and in the War on Drugs in general, the U.S. government is directly and indirectly implicated in human rights abuses in Colombia in violation of the Leahy Law and of similar congressional human rights conditions on aid to Colombia.  Given the blurring of U.S. policies in Colombia between Drug War and dirty war, it can be said that the U.S. is currently involved in a “Dirty Drug War.”  In order to stop the continuation of the human rights catastrophe in Colombia, the U.S. must show its commitment to human rights by denying funds to human rights violators and by raising its concern for human rights to at least the same level as its concern for narcotics control.  Such a reordering of priorities would substantially transform counter-narcotics policy. 

Before concluding, it is important to mention that the military solution contemplated in Plan Colombia is not something the U.S. would consider doing domestically (at least not to the same scale) to eliminate illicit drug cultivation.  The U.S. would not engage in mass fumigation programs or send armies across its own territory to murder, torture, and displace hundreds of thousands of people.  The U.S. government has done a great many things to test the limits of this last statement with regards to the terrible domestic consequences of the Drug War, but it is clear that the social anomie and instability in Colombia are far greater, and the violence far worse.  This is a testament to the Drug War “other-izing” mentioned in the JGRJ Symposium.

There is a great deal of truth to the claim that guerrillas and other groups have become heavily involved in narcotrafficking, although it would be closer to the truth to say that narcotics have thoroughly invaded all aspects of Colombian society -- and far closer to the truth to say that narcotics have thoroughly invaded all aspects of global society.  This realization demonstrates the fallacy of the military solution proposed in Plan Colombia or the more hard-line approach being peddled by RAND.  A real long-term solution will necessarily involve a fundamental change in global drug policy and drug laws, as well as a change in the current state of international economic relationships.

Without sweeping changes, whether or not the guerrilla threat in Colombia is eliminated, the human rights abuses and instability will surely continue.  New violent actors in Colombia and abroad will replace the current actors, eagerly attracted by the enormous amounts of money and power derived from the drug trade.  Consequently, the tragic War on Drugs will continue to guarantee thriving profits as well as flagrant human rights abuses in Colombia and elsewhere.

The strategies and objectives of the Drug War have proved to be a spectacular failure in terms of supply control, addiction, and human rights.  This fact makes it possible to pose a hard question: should the U.S. continue to pursue its currently ultra-violent supply-side oriented foreign policy or should it focus more on legislation and programs dealing with internal consumption and drug treatment?  The question must be addressed because it is difficult to conceive continuing with supply-side strategies -- like Plan Colombia -- without creating enormously negative consequences in terms of human rights abuses and instability.   Even if the Leahy Laws and other human rights legislation were somehow strengthened, it is difficult to imagine how the U.S. would be able to cross back over the line from its current involvement in Colombia’s dirty war into the realm of the Drug War.  In fact, it is difficult to imagine that there ever was a line separating them.





1.      Angel Rabasa & Peter Chalk, Colombian Labyrinth: The Synergy of Drugs and Insurgency and its Implications for Regional Stability 11 (Rand Corporation 2001).

2.      Antonio Caballero, Drogas: La Guerra de la Dependencia, in ¿Qué Está Pasando en Colombia? Anatomía de un País en Crisis 119, 121 (El Áncora Editores 2001) (2000)

3.      CIA, The World Factbook: Colombia, at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publicationsfactbook/geos/co.html.

4.      Colombia: Old Wars – New Guns, XXXIV No. 2 NACLA Report on the Americas (2000).

5.      Dario Betancourt & Martha L. García, Contrabandistas, Marimberos y Mafiosos: Historia Social de la Mafia Colombiana 1965-1992 (Tercer Mundo Editores 1994).

6.      David Bushnell, The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself (University of California Press 1993).

7.      Gary M. Leech, Fifty Years of Violence, Colombia Report 2-12 (1999), at http://colombiareport.org/fiftyyearsofviolence.htm.

8.           Human Rights Watch, Colombia’s Killer Networks: The Military – Paramilitary Partnership and the United States, (Human Rights Watch 1996), available at http://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/killertoc.htm. [I will be making heavy use of this for the unfinished sections above]

9.           Human Rights Watch, The “Sixth Division”: Military-paramilitary Ties and U.S. Policy in Colombia 10 (Joanne Mariner & Malcolm Smart eds., Human Rights Watch 2001). [I will be making heavy use of this for the unfinished sections above]

10.    Human Rights Watch, Americas Overview, (Human Rights Watch 2001), available at http://www.hrw.org/wr2k1/americas/index.html.


[1] Symposium, The Law’s Treatment of the Disadvantaged: The Politics of the American Drug War, J. Gender, Race & Just. (2001).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Scott Wilson, Colombian Guerrillas Kill Popular Official: Death Puts Peace Efforts in Doubt, Wash. Post, Oct. 1, 2001, at A16.

[5] Id.

[6] Scott Wilson, Colombian Rightists Kill 24 Villagers: Massacre May Be Largest This Year, Wash. Post, Oct. 12, 2001, at A29.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Human Rights Watch, The “Sixth Division”: Military-paramilitary Ties and U.S. Policy in Colombia 10 (Joanne Mariner & Malcolm Smart eds., Human Rights Watch 2001) [hereinafter The “Sixth Division”].

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] See, e.g., Human Rights Watch, Colombia’s Killer Networks: The Military – Paramilitary Partnership and the United States, (Human Rights Watch 1996) [hereinafter Colombia’s Killer Networks], available at http://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/killertoc.htm (report provides compelling evidence of a military – paramilitary partnership in human rights violations in Colombia).

[13] David Bushnell, The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself vii (1993); Andrew Miller, Colombia in Crisis, Foreign Policy In Focus, May 2001, at http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol6/v6n20colombia_body.html.  

[14] Angel Rabasa & Peter Chalk, Colombian Labyrinth: The Synergy of Drugs and Insurgency and its Implications for Regional Stability xiii-xx (Rand Corporation 2001).

[15] Garry M. Leech, Fifty Years of Violence, Colombia Report 2-12 (1999), at http://colombiareport.org/fiftyyearsofviolence.htm.

[16] Miller, supra note 13.

[17] Bushnell, supra note 13, at vii.

[18] Embassy of Colombia: Washington D.C., Understanding Colombia, at http://www.colombiaemb.org/understanding_colombia.htm (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).

[19] Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at iii; Max G. Manwaring, U.S. Security Policy in the Western Hemisphere: Why Colombia, Why Now, and What Is to Be Done?, Strategic Studies Institute, June 2001, at 10.  In this recent publication of the U.S. Army War College, the broad contours of U.S. strategic security interests in Colombia and in Latin America in general are explained as follows: “[i]n the post-Cold War scenario, security in Latin America means for the United States more than keeping Communism out of the Hemisphere, which it once did.  It now means underpinning democracy and free-market economics, plus close cooperation on the immense ‘shared problems’ of drugs, crime, immigration, and environmental concerns for the hemisphere.”  The publication continues to warn about the potential regional, hemispheric and global threats posed by the current situation in Colombia – threats that allegedly require U.S. intervention.  The report is silent about the U.S. role in creating the unfortunate situation in Colombia and like the RAND report above, advocates a course of action that will prove disastrous for human rights in Colombia.  Furthermore, the publication is little more than another extended apology for U.S. military intervention in Latin America.  Id. at v.

[20] Id. at 10.

[21] CIA, The World Factbook: Colombia, at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/

factbook/geos/co.html (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).

[22] Bushnell, supra note 13, at 1.

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Planet Latino, Latin American History: Colombia, at http://www.planetlatino.net/colombia.htm (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).

[26] See CIA, supra note 21 (explaining that Colombia supplies the vast majority of cocaine to the U.S.)

[27] Id.

[28] Bushnell, supra note 13, at ix.

[29] Michael Reid, Drugs, War and Democracy, The Economist (Apr. 19, 2001) available at www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_ID=576197. In describing the seriousness of violent crime in Colombia, Reid explains that, “[t]he murder rate climbed steadily in the 1980s; it then remained broadly constant during the 1990s. In proportion to the population, it is the world’s highest.”

[30] CIA, supra note 21.

[31] Id.

[32] Presidencia de la República de Colombia: Departamento Nacional de Planeación, Colombia: The Beginning of a New Era, at http://www.embacol.org. au/Documents/Colombia%20The%20Beginning%20of%20a%20New%20Era.pdf (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).

[33] Id.

[34] Embassy of Colombia, supra note 18.

[35] See Bushnell, supra note 13, at 259 (though Bushnell does not specifically utilize the term “narco-economy”, such a concept can be inferred from the text). 

[36] Bushnell, supra note 13, at 259.

[37] Id. at 261.

[38] Id.

[39] The original term in Spanish will be used since the English translation, “Violence”, does not capture the term’s full meaning.  See Carlos Miguel Ortiz Sarmiento, Historiografía de la Violencia, in La Historia al Final del Milenio: Ensayos de Historiografía Colombiana y Latinoamericana 371 (Editorial Universidad Nacional 1994) (Ortiz Sarmiento argues that even though the phrase ‘la violencia’ used to characterize the period from the mid 1940s until the mid 1960s, the use of violence in social and political life in Colombia has continued until the present).

[40] Alfredo Molano, The Evolution of the FARC: A Guerrilla Group’s Long History, in XXXIV No. 2 NACLA Report on the Americas 23-24 (2000) [hereinafter The Evolution of the FARC]; Daniel Pécaut, Pasado, Presente y Futuro de la Violencia (fragmento), available at http://www.upaz.edu.uy /procesos/pamerica/ colomb/pasado.htm (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).

[41] Leech, supra note 15.

[42] Molano, supra note 40. 

[43] Leech, supra note 15.

[44] Id.

[45] Leech, supra note 15; Pécaut, supra note 40.

[46] Leech, supra note 15.

[47] Id.

[48] Id.

[49] Pécaut, supra note 40.

[50] See Embassy of Colombia: Washington D.C., Why is Colombia Violent?, at http://www.colombiaemb.org/Why_violent.htm (last visited Jan. 5, 2002)(This source discusses the existence of the two main guerrilla groups operating in Colombia).

[51] See id. The Colombian government uses the term “ongoing internal conflict” instead of “undeclared civil war” as a linguistic attempt to downplay the seriousness of the current situation.  In addition, this publication by the Embassy of Colombia in Washington rightly points out the links between narcotrafficking, on the one hand, and guerrilla and paramilitary groups on the other.  However, the links between Colombian armed forces and paramilitary groups as well as between the Colombian government and narcotrafficking are conspicuously missing in the document.

[52] Pécaut, supra note 40.

[53] Id.

[54] Darío Betancourt & Martha L. García, Contrabandistas, Marimberos y Mafiosos: Historia Social de la Mafia Colombiana 1965-1992 255 (1994).

[55] Leech, supra note 15.

[56] Id.

[57] See Human Rights Watch, Colombia: Current Human Rights Conditions -
Press Backgrounder for U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's Visit to
Colombia (Sept. 10, 2001) [hereinafter Colombia: Current Human Rights Conditions], at http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/americas/powell0910.htm.  HRW states that, “[i]n addition to military and paramilitary abuses, Colombians are also vulnerable to international humanitarian law violations committed by rebels. . .”; cf. the German Federal Foreign Office, Results of the Policy Planning Staff Workshop on "Reducing, Managing and Preventing Conflict in Colombia", available at http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/www/en /aussenpolitik/planungsstab/veranstaltungen/kolumbien/#a (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).  This publication by the German government lists “social inequality”, a “culture of violence”, and the “traditional weakness of the [Colombian] state” as the “origins and reasons for. . . the 40-year conflict in Colombia.”  The growth of narcotrafficking and U.S. supply control efforts also deserve to be included in this list of structural background elements in the conflict.  However, these structures are not the direct causes of human rights violations in Colombia.  On the contrary, military personnel, paramilitaries, and guerrillas are the direct causes (agents) of these violations.  In explaining the relationship between these structural elements and the violent actions of human agents, it is perhaps better to explain that such structures inform, but do not implacably determine, the violent practices of Colombian human rights violators.  

[58] See Tony Karon, Peru Plane Tragedy Highlights a Troubled War on Drugs, Time, Apr. 24, 2001, available at http://www.time.com/time/columnist/printout/0,8816,107559,00.html.  Karon points out that, “[t]he more government agencies succeed in choking the supply, the higher the price it fetches and the greater the incentive for producers, traffickers and dealers to take the risk of bringing it to market”; Embassy of Colombia, supra note 50.  This Colombian government publication asserts that, “Drug trafficking, an international problem with widespread financial tentacles became the single most important engine of Colombia’s internal conflict.”

[59] See Betancourt & García, supra note 54, at 253 (explaining the first five historial periods); see also Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at 19 (explaining the sixth historical period).

[60] Betancourt & García, supra note 54, at 253.

[61] Id.

[62] Id. at 254.

[63] Id.

[64] Id.

[65] Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at 19.

[66] CRS Rep. No. 98-152 F, at 9 (1998).  It is necessary to point out, however, that narcotrafficking has also doubtlessly had a serious corrupting influence in the U.S., although this assertion is beyond the scope of this paper.

[67] See Carlos M. Salinas, Foreign Policy in Focus: Colombia, Foreign Policy In Focus, Nov. 1997, at 2.  Salinas states that, “[i]t is true [. . .] that drug traffickers and guerrillas often operate in the same regions and have converging interests.  Many guerrilla fronts tax drug trafficking operations, just as they tax anyone in areas they control.  Thus some fronts protect the fields of traffickers.  But for protection, traffickers also get the help of members of the Colombian security forces.  If one is going to advance a narcoguerrilla argument on the basis of sometimes converging interests, one should also advance the narcomilitary and narcopolice hypotheses.  Drug traffickers are highly opportunistic and will work with anyone willing to advance their interests.”

[68] See Thirty Years of America’s Drug War: A Chronology, Frontline, at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/cron/ (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).  This excellent chronology provides highlights of the Drug War since the 1960s and implicitly demonstrates the enormous transformations in question.

[69] Id.

[70] Dennis Cauchon, White House Balks at Study Urging More Drug Treatment, USA Today, June 14, 1994, at 2A; Frontline, supra note 68.

[71] Frontline, supra note 68.

[72] Id.

[73] Supply-side Drug War policies refer to those policies directed at reducing or eliminating the cultivation and manufacture of illicit drugs abroad.

[74] Frontline, supra note 68.

[75] Id.

[76] Id.

[77] Gina Amatangelo, Andean Regional Initiative: A Policy Fated to Fail, Foreign Policy In Focus, Aug. 2001, at 1.

[78] Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at 11.

[79] Id. at 12.

[80] Antonio Caballero, Drogas: La Guerra de la Dependencia, in ¿Qué Está Pasando en Colombia? Anatomía de un País en Crisis 119, 121 (El Áncora Editores 2001) (2000) Caballero states that, “La relación de Colombia con las drogas prohibidas por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos y consumidas masivamente por la población de los Estados Unidos también se puede resumir en una frase: ha sido, en veinticinco años, la empresa de aniquilamiento moral y físico de un país del Tercer Mundo por la codicia y la hipocresía del imperio norteamericano. O en solo dos palabras: un crimen.”

[81] Human Rights Watch, Americas Overview, (Human Rights Watch 2001) [hereinafter Americas Overview], available at http://www.hrw.org/wr2k1/americas/index.html (last visited Jan. 5, 2002).

[82] Caballero, supra note 80, at 130-131. See Colombia: Current Human Rights Conditions, supra note 57; Karon, supra note 58; Embassy of Colombia, supra note 50; and Salinas, supra note 67. Caballero’s conclusion can be drawn through a combination of the individual conclusions made in the articles in question.  Human Rights Watch identifies the three main actors in the conflict, namely the military, paramilitaries, and “rebels” (i.e. guerrillas).  Karon demonstrates the impact that U.S. drug supply control policies have had on increasing incentives and profits for narcotraffickers, and hence to other groups involved with narcotraffickers or with the drug trade.  The Embassy of Colombia in the U.S. affirms how narcotrafficking has become the “single most important engine” in the Colombian conflict.  Finally, Salinas reveals the equally corrupting influence of narcotrafficking funds on all three armed actors.

[83] Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at 93-99.

[84] Amatangelo, supra note 77.

[85] Winifred Tate, Repeating Past Mistakes: Aiding Counterinsurgency in Colombia, XXXIV No. 2 NACLA Report on the Americas 16 (2000).

[86] Id.

[87] Old Wars, New Guns, XXXIV No. 2 NACLA Report on the Americas 15 (2000).

[88] U.S. Dept. of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2000 (U.S. Department of State 2000), available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/wha/index.cfm?docid=741.

[89] See Drug War & Colombia, Foreign Policy In Focus, at http://www.fpif.org/ colombia/index_body.html (last modified Oct. 12, 2001).  This publication briefly discusses the Drug War in the broader context of historical U.S. interventionism, stating that the “three-decades-long war on drugs, and [the] practice of military intervention in Latin America – have intersected in [the] U.S support for military solutions to the political, economic, and security crises in Colombia.”

[90] Leech, supra note 15.

[91] Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at 6.

[92] Americas Overview, supra note 81.

[93] Id.

[94] Id.

[95] U.S. State Dept., supra note 88.

[96] UNHCR, UNHCR Briefing Notes, available at http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendoc.htm?tbl=NEWS&id=3ae6b8266c&page=news (last visited Jan. 5, 2002.

[97] U.S. State Dept., supra note 88.

[98] Id. The State Department report asserts that, “The FARC and the ELN regularly attacked civilian populations, committed massacres and summary executions, and killed medical and religious personnel.”  It also states that “[g]overnment security forces continued to commit serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings. . .[t]he armed forces and the police committed serious violations of human rights throughout the year. . . [t]he Government’s human rights record remained poor. . . [t]hroughout the country, paramilitary groups killed, tortured, and threatened civilians suspected of sympathizing with guerrillas in an orchestrated campaign to terrorize them into fleeing their homes. . .[p]aramilitary forces were responsible for an increasing number of massacres and other politically motivated killings.”

[99] Cynthia J. Arnson & Andrés Franco, U.S.-Colombian Relations: Recent Developments, Woodrow Wilson Center (Fall 1998), available at http://lasa.international.pitt.edu/arnsonfranco.htm.  This article makes use of the terms “narcodemocracy” and “narcoguerrilla”, which were coined to explain the relationships of the government and the guerrillas with narcotrafficking.

[100] Id.

[101] Nazih Richani, The Paramilitary Connection, NACLA Report On The Americas, Sept./Oct. 2000 at 38, 38-39.

[102] Id. at 40.

[103] Caballero, supra note 80, at 133.

[104] Id. at 130-31.

[105] Context for the Analysis of the Human Rights Situation in Colombia, Report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, OAS (1999), available at http://www.cidh.oas.org/countryrep/Colom99en/chapter-1.htm.  

[106] Americas Overview, supra note 81.

[107] Alfredo Molano, La Paz en su Laberinto, in ¿Qué Está Pasando en Colombia? Anatomía de un País en Crisis 93,112-116 (El Áncora Editores 2001) (2000) [hereinafter La Paz en su Laberinto].

[108] Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on the Administration’s proposal for Assistance to Colombia (2000), at http://www.senate.gov/~leahy/s/2000/200001/000111.html.

[109] Miller, supra note 13. Miller provides an explanation of the narcoguerrilla thesis, affirming that, “[a]ccording to the State Department, ‘the fight against drugs remains the principal U.S. national interest in Colombia.’  Yet for the Colombian army, the principal fight is against leftist guerrillas.  In recent years, the misleading but politically expedient term narcoguerrilla has been coined to merge these two fights.” 

[110] Robert E. Hunter, Think Tanks: Helping to Shape U.S. Foreign and Security Policy, U.S. Dept. of State International Information Programs (Mar. 2000), available at http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/itps/0300/ijpe/pj51hunt.htm.  Hunter’s multiple vocations - a Senior Adviser at RAND, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Clinton Administration Official, and Associate Professor at Harvard University – also serve as evidence to support this claim.  The “RAND” name is an acronym for ‘Research and Development.’

[111] Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at iv.

[112] Id.

[113] Id. at 93-99.

[114] Id. at xviii.

[115] See id. at xviii-xx (Rabasa and Chalk are clearly sympathetic to the narcoguerrilla thesis throughout their work, although the origins of this thesis are never explicitly mentioned).

[116] Rabasa & Chalk, supra note 14, at xviii-xx.

[117] Id. at xx.

[118] U.S. State Dept., supra note 88.

[119] Americas Overview, supra note 81, at 97.

[120] Richani, supra note 101.

[121] Ricardo Vargas Meza, Biowarfare in Colombia? A Controversial Fumigation Scheme, in XXXIV No. 2 NACLA Report on the Americas 20-22 (2000).

[122] See Just the Facts: A Civilian's Guide to U.S. Defense and Security
Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean
, Center for International Policy, at http://www.ciponline.org/facts/co.htm (Last modified Nov. 27, 2001) [hereinafter Just the Facts] (This report states how the Pentagon essentially presented Congress with an already implemented policy change in U.S.-Colombian counter-narcotics strategy).

[123] Id.  The report states that one of the main thrusts of Plan Colombia is to train and equip three large anti-narcotics battalions to “secure conditions for police anti-drug activities, including aerial fumigation, in the southern departments of Putumayo and Caquetá, a coca-growing region dominated by guerrillas and paramilitary groups.” Id.

[124] Id.

[125] Id.

[126] Just the Facts, supra note 122.

[127] Id.

[128] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 88. 

[129] Id.

[130] The Iran-Contra scandal of President Reagan is one of the most palpable examples.

[131] See Americas Overview, supra note 81, at 97 (the McCaffrey quote mentioned in this publication is just one example).

[132] Id.

[133] Id.

[134] See Military Construction Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 106-246, § 3201, 114 Stat 511 (2000)(This is an example of a human rights “Leahy Provision,” named after its author, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)).

[136] Id.

[137] Id.

[138] Andrew Miller, U.S. Military Support for Plan Colombia: Adding Fuel to the Fire, 8 Hum. Rts. Brief 8 (Fall 2000) [hereinafter U.S. Military Support].  Miller states that, “[b]y waiving the human rights conditions of Public Law 106-246, and allowing for the flow of military assistance into Colombia, the United States sends the message that human rights considerations are not a priority and that the Colombian government need only make a superficial effort to address these issues in order to secure future aid.” Id. at 11. 

[139] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 84.

[140] Id.

[141] See The “Sixth Division,” supra note 9, at 86 (this publication demonstrates that these two institutions are largely immune to Congressional oversight, and are thus largely able to pursue policies that may be antithetical to protecting human rights).

[142] Id.

[143] Id.

[144] See The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 91 (where examples of both U.S. and Colombian resistance to the implementation of human rights conditions are provided). 

[145] Id. at 84-106.

[146] Just the Facts, supra note 122.  

[147] Id. 

[148] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 87.

[149] Id.

[150] Foreign Operations, Export Financing -- Appropriations, Pub. L. No. 106-429, § 563, 114 Stat 1900 (2000).

[151] Department of Defense Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 106-259, § 8092, 114 Stat 656 (2000).

[152] Id.

[153] Military Construction Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 106-246, § 3201, 114 Stat 511 (2000).

[154] Id.; U.S. Military Support, supra note 138.

[155] Military Construction Appropriations Act §3201.

[156] Id.

[157] Id.

[158] Id.

[159] U.S. Military Support, supra note 138.

[160] Id.

[161] Id.

[162] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 94.

[163] Id. at 84.

[164] Just the Facts, supra note 122.

[165] Id.

[166]  See U.S. Military Aid Implicated in Human Rights Abuses, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, at http://www.icij.org/about/LatAm.html (last visited Jan. 5, 2002) (The most recent and spectacular example of CIA wrongdoing in Latin America involves its longtime backing of Peruvian Vladimiro Montesinos, a convicted human rights violator and international criminal).

[167] Outsourcing is the process of subcontracting work to outside third parties.

[168] See Leech, supra note 15 (Leech describes the partnership between paramilitary and military forces -- a partnership that could be described as an example of an outsourcing relationship).

[169] Interview by Washingtonpost.com with House Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Washington Post.com (May 31, 2001), at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/01/world/shakowsky0531.htm.; Jeremy Bigwood, DynCorp in Colombia: Outsourcing the Drug War, CorpWatch (May 23, 2001), at http://www.corpwatch.org/issues/PID.jsp?articleid=672.

[170] See La Paz en su Laberinto, supra note 107 (Molano states that, “[l]as Fuerzas Armadas colombianas han encontrado en los paramilitares el instrumento perfecto para no comprometerse – o hacerlo de manera omisiva – con la guerra sucia.  Las cuentas son claras: mientras la responsabilidad de la fuerza pública en violación de los derechos humanos disminuye aceleradamente, en la misma proporción y ritmo aumenta la de os paramilitares.  La de la guerrilla se mantiene constante.  Esta correlación permite al Pentágono pasarse por la faja de la enmienda Leahy y al ejército colombiano convertirse en el tercero en discordia.  Sin duda es una de las más importantes funciones que cumple el paramilitarismo”).

[171] Id.

[172] Id.

[173] See Just the Facts, supra note 122 (examples of this outsourcing enthusiasm are amply provided).

[174] Id.

[175] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 95.

[176] Id. at 100

[177] Id. at 95

[178] Id. at 96.

[179] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 96.

[180] Id. at 96.


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[173] See Just the Facts, supra note 122 (examples of this outsourcing enthusiasm are amply provided).

[174] Id.

[175] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 95.

[176] Id. at 100

[177] Id. at 95

[178] Id. at 96.

[179] The “Sixth Division”, supra note 9, at 96.

[180] Id. at 96.


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