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PLAN COLOMBIA: A masquerade (abstract)

Observatorio de Paz

 The diverging versions of the Plan Colombia have been a cause for controversy and discussion among analysts. The new turn taken by the Plan under pressure from the United States would make clear the reasons for the contradictory discourse and the ambivalence which characterizes the Plan. The version of the Plan presented at Puerto Wilches (a municipality located on the Magdalena River in the Santander Department) in December of 1998 proclaims that the Plan Colombia is the "central axis of the peace policy" and was designed following a diagnosis according to which Colombia's problems are of a structural nature. The goal was to bring about the economic, social, cultural and environmental changes required to attain long-term sustainable peace. It was "maintained that, in the struggle against the drug cartels, the insurgent groups could be an important ally" and it makes a distinction between large and small crop growers of crops used for illicit purposes.

The solutions are in accordance with the diagnosis. The second semester of 1999 version of the Plan is manifestly different in its ideological platform and it reformulates strategies, areas of intervention, and budget. It focuses on an attempt to guarantee the state's presence in the whole of the national territory, institutional strengthening and modernization of the armed forces. This new version ties together the fight against narcotics and armed groups under the assessment that it is the degradation of the rule of law which is at the root of the chaos, thus proceeding to disregard the appeal to surmount Colombians' social and political inequalities.

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