Regions / Colombia
Violence and warfare in Colombia are often blamed on the drug trade, but their roots run much deeper and go back well over five decades.
U.S. officials have sought to relax restrictions on intelligence sharing with Andean governments at a time when these provisions need to be strengthened.
The Bush administrations Andean Regional Initiative (ARI)largely an expansion of U.S. support for Plan Colombiapassed the House of Representatives in late July, largely intact.
The explosion of U.S. military interest and funding for Plan Colombia, occurring in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from military bases in Panama in December 1999, has given rise to a proliferation of new U.S. bases and military access agreements in the region.
After five months of waiting, Colombians received news last week that former presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, was indeed alive.
The roots of Colombia's conflict are deep and complicated, and will require a creative mix of strategies to solve it.
In pandering to the gun lobby, the Bush administration showed what little regard it has for strengthening international efforts to deal with trafficking in small arms.
The inability of the Colombian State to control its national territory and diverse armed groups is perceived to pose a threat to the other countries of the Andean region.
Even if the U.S. and Colombian governments were to take alternative development seriously, there are staggering obstacles to overcome.
It is time to say " ya no más" and to join together to build a genuine movement for peace.