Rocky transition in Colombia despite U.S. aid


U.S. government agencies have poured nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars into Colombia since 2017.
The Agency for International Development led the way with $349,429,424 in grants and contracts followed by the State Department with $292,510,963 and the Department of Defense, $72,437,788. See details of U.S. grants and aid to Colombia, along with a list of aid recipients.
USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives managed some of that money as part of an effort to enhance “Colombian ability to implement rapid response during the critical 36 months following signature of peace accords.”

Total: $402,396,187

OTI’s website states:

Colombia has experienced armed conflict with insurgency groups for over 50 years. Among the root causes are state weakness and structural inequities that have created two nations: a modern, urban Colombia, and a poor, neglected, rural Colombia, where most of the conflict has taken place.
After four years of negotiations, the Government of Colombia (GOC) ratified a final peace accord with the largest guerrilla insurgency group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), on Nov. 30, 2016. Consequently, the FARC has demobilized and the GOC has begun to enact wide-ranging reforms related to rural development, inclusive political participation, transitional justice and the reduction of illicit crops such as coca. USAID/OTI is in Colombia to help the GOC jumpstart implementation of the peace accords.
USAID/OTI’s program, Colombia Transforma, is part of the U.S. Government’s effort to support a sustainable and inclusive Colombian peace.

Total: $324,206,634

The deluge of money has not solved Colombia’s problems. According to the State Department:

While the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terrorist group, some dissident groups refuse to demobilize.
The National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorist organization continues plotting possible attacks in Colombia. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
U.S. government personnel cannot travel freely throughout Colombia for security reasons.

National Security Adviser John Bolton drew criticism after appearing before journalists with a notepad showing the notation, “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

U.S. government personnel must request advance permission for any travel outside of Bogota and the Atlantic Coast corridor from Cartagena to Santa Marta, and sometimes are required to travel in armored vehicles or carry personnel trackers. U.S. government officials and their families are generally permitted to travel to major cities only by air. They cannot not use inter- or intra-city bus transportation or travel by road outside urban areas at night.

I wonder whether U.S. government agencies and contractors in Colombia would have any role to play if the American government decides to send troops to neighboring Venezuela.

Note: Graphics on this page show a total of $726,602,821 in spending. Not shown is an additional $22,074,437, according to totals.

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