TITLE

The Right Man

AUTHOR(S)
Van Dongen, Rachel
PUB. DATE
June 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;6/16/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 23, p12
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Focuses on the success of Plan Colombia, a United States-supported effort to end the Colombian cocaine traffic, under President Alvaro Uribe. An incident in the village of La Sierra, in which Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) troops deserted the village after the arrival of peasant soldiers, may seem trivial in the context of Colombia's four-decade civil conflict against drugs and terror. But it represents a sea change that began with the election of hard-line Uribe in May 2002. A central element of "Plan Colombia" has been the destruction of the country's coca crops, which provide the precursors for 80 percent of the cocaine that enters the United States. The new president has allowed American contractors in Colombia to fumigate coca crops across the country for the first time. Since the launch of Plan Colombia, the United States has spent a mere $83 million on spray planes, chemicals, pilot salaries, the training of Colombian pilots, and other contractor expenses. Some critics of Plan Colombia warn that fumigation will only lead to increased coca growing elsewhere in the region. As Colombian production drops and the United States and Colombia take the fight to the FARC and other groups, the capacity of the main drug-producing country in the region will be decimated, and handling production in smaller neighboring countries will be much easier. Wiping out the armed militias is hardly an easy task, but the United States and Colombia must do so to win the drug war. Sporadic state government has long been a problem in some regions of Colombia, where the weak rule of law has helped foster the rise of armed groups. But, now, Uribe is aiming to station troops in all of Colombia's 1,098 municipalities by filling the army's ranks through the peasant-soldier initiative, and through other measures.
ACCESSION #
9969825

 

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