Drugs  
comments_image Comments

'Plan Colombia' Turns 10 -- Looking at the Effects of Bill Clinton's Signature Drug War Project

With $7.3 billion spent and 21,000 fighters from all sides and an estimated 14,000 civilians killed, Plan Colombia's positive effects aren't easy to distinguish.

Continued from previous page

 
 
Share
 
 
 

But Uribe will be gone next month, replaced by his elected successor, Juan Manuel Santos. That could mean change, said Isaacson. "He's not as ideologically to the right as Uribe, some of his appointments indicate people who actually have an interest in governance, and he is the principle author of the program they're carrying out in the countryside to get the state and not just the military out there," he said. "He could also be more open to the idea of peace negotiations than Uribe was."

That may or may not be the case, but Plan Colombia under whatever president is not going to solve Colombia's drug problem -- nor America's, said Isaacson. "At home, we need to reduce demand through treatment and other options," he said. "In Colombia, as long as you have parts of the country ungoverned and as long as members of the government have nothing to fear if they abuse the population, there will always be drugs. Colombia needs to build the state and do it without impunity. We built up the Colombian military, but there was no money for teachers, doctors, or any public good besides security."

Read more of Phillip S. Smith's work at the Drug War Chronicle .

 
See more stories tagged with: