Unplanned Colombia: Washington’s undermining of liberal democracy



It remains tempting to look at a compilation of Colombia’s statistics from 2000 to the present and draw several feel-good conclusions about U.S. foreign policy. Namely, that the U.S.-aided escalation in targeted kinetic operations against Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) brought the insurgency back to the negotiating table and improved Colombia’s prospects for a stable, democratic future, concomitantly cementing a Bogotá-Washington strategic partnership. U.S. officials and analysts frequently proffer such conclusions, often accompanied by a bewildering barrage of hard statistics.1 But wait, there’s more: Plan Colombia also earned for itself a reputation as the ideal example of what America’s strategic partnerships should look like in the future.2 With just over $9bn in mainly military aid and a hefty contingent of Green Beret advisers, the U.S. defeated a longstanding insurgency, beat back cocaine production, and added a South American ally to balance the nascent adversarial alliance of leftist countries in the hemisphere. Almost every major institution outside Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch laud unqualified praise on U.S. special operations forces (SOF) involvement in Plan Colombia.

111026_0_Colombia 4

Coca farmer and her daughter, enjoying a post-fumigation stroll; Carlos Villalon/Getty Images.

At least, so goes the established narrative. Nowhere in Washington’s conclusions are considerations of how Plan Colombia’s components affected the practice of Colombian democracy or fit into overarching U.S. democracy promotion policy. The U.S. policy input directly stated that Plan Colombia had been crafted to “fight the illicit drug trade, to increase the rule of law, to protect human rights, to expand economic development, to institute judicial reform, and to foster peace.”3 A major gap exists between stated U.S. policy and its implementation.

The omission of democratic considerations may reflect either a calculated attempt at clientalism, a misunderstanding of Colombia’s needs, or simple bureaucratic inertia. No matter which, the architecture and implementation of Plan Colombia exacerbated Colombia’s structural problems and undercut U.S. credibility as the self-described champion of liberal democracy. The viability of Colombia as a long-term strategic ally is directly, if quietly, undermined by the failure of Plan Colombia to address fundamental problems in the practice of Colombian democracy.


The bizarre neglect of democracy in U.S. formulation and evaluation of Plan Colombia results partially from where Colombia itself lands on the spectrum of “democracy.” Troy University scholar Steven Taylor cautions: “That there are deep contradictions in the very fabric of Colombian politics is indisputable, and hence neither the ongoing violence nor the history of successful electoral politics provides a sufficient point of departure for understanding Colombia.”4 If the standard for “practicing democracy” is simply met by holding free and fair elections, Colombia undoubtedly qualifies. Plan Colombia supporters point to continuation of the country’s electoral competency as evidence that the Plan achieved its goals without significant drawbacks. Supporters might mention “some human rights abuses” or “continued violence” as acknowledgments that the strategy did not avoid all the typical pitfalls, but the scale and scope of negative effects rarely merits discussion.

When one defines democracy more comprehensively, Plan Colombia’s effects suddenly appear far more deleterious to Colombian civil society. In a wider sense, an assessment of Colombian democracy must include voter turnout, the responsiveness of elected officials and state institutions, indices of corruption, political gerrymandering, unaccountability and the rule of law. These represent the “liberal” component of liberal democracy and set, for example, the United States and Turkey apart. While both boast relatively free and fair elections, the practice of democracy in between electoral seasons remains quite different. In Colombia, an increasingly authoritative executive, massive refugee flows, and the accelerated breakdown of judicial order all resulted from the Plan’s final instantiation.


By 2002, four factors dovetailed to enable the worst aspects of a military-only Plan Colombia: the election of the cantankerous Álvaro Uribe, the inception of Washington’s war on terror, a renewed streak of U.S. unilateralism, and an inchoate left-leaning movement in Latin America.

First, the increased salience of “terrorism” in the post-9/11 world allowed U.S. and Colombian officials to redefine political violence in a manner auguring poorly for non-military responses to FARC.5 For example, both U.S. and Colombian officials increasingly referred to FARC as either drug traffickers, terrorists, or, in a linguistic flourish, narcoterrorists.6 Late in 2001, the U.S. State Department designated FARC, Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) and Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs).7 Governments do not enter peace processes with drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) or terrorists. Such revisions in the perception of FARC objectives rest on weak factual basis as measured by the group’s negotiating demands, which primarily consist of socioeconomic grievances.

One way to think about the discrepancy between common perception and reality in analysis of Plan Colombia lies in creating parallels with other nonstate actors. Brookings scholar Vanda Felbab-Brown conclusively demonstrates that the political relationship between FARC and the Colombian state remains far more important than the group’s DTO activities. In short, FARC views both coca cultivation and terrorist tactics as means to a reasonable end, an end designed to be defined in the peace process.8 Contrasted with pure DTOs like the Medellín Cartel, which sought political power to increase its profits, FARC uses its profits to seek political power. Similarly, FARC bears much more in common with territorially defined insurgencies that engage in terrorist tactics for specific political objectives than with utopian transnational terrorist groups. In other words, FARC deserves analytical comparison with Hamas or Hezbollah rather than the Sinaloa Cartel or al-Qaeda. Crucially, the first two remain engaged in sporadic peace processes with a defined end-state, whilst analysts consider the latter two irredeemable transnational actors that maintain no interest in negotiation. Finally, FARC’s perceived reticence to negotiate has merit. It stems from the “political genocide” committed against its electoral expression, Union Patriótica (UP), created during the 1984-87 ceasefire. Over 2,300 of UP’s political operators and candidates had been murdered by paramilitaries by the beginning of Pastrana’s peace process in 1998, creating the impression within FARC that Bogotá did not truly desire full political pluralism.9

President Andrés Pastrana’s original Plan Colombia recognized these analytical distinctions and called for a multipronged stability effort to restore Colombian liberal democracy. The framework focused primarily on democratic metrics: “a sustainable peace will only be achieved if poverty and underdevelopment in the countryside are addressed and if democracy is strengthened.”10 Military and nonmilitary offensives should receive equal funding, the peace process should continue to be Bogotá’s main strategic offensive, and regional and international support should be sought for both funding and implementation.

Little of the original plan came to fruition, largely owing to the influence and interference of Washington. Most significantly, the U.S. revision identified drug trafficking, rather than political exclusion and socioeconomic shortcomings, as the root cause of Colombia’s insurgency.11 One Clinton-era official went so far as to complain that the peace process had conflicted with counternarcotics efforts.12 Washington leaned heavily on Colombian leaders, marginalizing nonmilitary initiatives and incentivizing behavior by the Colombian state that it could not have implemented absent U.S. backing.

There exists a temptation when considering Plan Colombia to view Washington’s collusion as simply additive; that is, to view the withdrawal of Bogotá from peace negotiations and the resumption of widespread high-intensity operations as a fait accompli with which the U.S. merely tagged along.

This view vastly underestimates the U.S. role in formulating Plan Colombia with full knowledge of the ineluctable effects on Colombian civil society. The Clinton national security cabinet formulated and vetted the plan on specific grounds of national security in August of 200013 and subsequently waived all human rights provisions by invoking “national security.”14 Following Felbab-Brown’s statistical analysis of FARC’s revenue sources, coca eradication and populace-affecting direct kinetic operations did not represent logical courses of action for Bogotá in combating FARC.15 The degree to which U.S. diplomatic backing, financial aid, and military sales and advising influenced the implementation of policy thus cannot be overstated.

For instance, Alabama University’s Harvey F. Kline contends that Plan Colombia significantly expanded Bogotá’s options. He claims that the U.S. “made it possible to attack FARC troop concentrations” and notes that “Plat Patriota represented the most ambitious military operation in Colombia’s history.”16 The incentives for those very policies stemmed directly from U.S. offerings. By 2002, Colombia had become the third-largest recipient of Washington’s military largesse, a fact all the more astounding when one compares the extant Colombian military budget. In other words, U.S. military support is relatively more significant for the Colombian armed forces than most other recipients, representing between a sixth and a seventh of the total budget during the Uribe years and granting access to critical airmobile assets including armed Huey and Black Hawk helicopters.17 Such a sale doesn’t seem awe-inspiring, but it conferred upon the Colombian Armed Forces the ability to consider and undertake missions never before thought possible. Historically, the state could not chase or strike FARC in its mountainous redoubts. U.S. assistance therefore funneled Colombian decisionmakers into heightened military action.

The sober realization that displacement of Colombians from violence and fumigation efforts18 would occur as a result of renewed military offensives led policymakers from various countries and international institutions to propose a wide-ranging and well-funded nonmilitary component to Plan Colombia. To offset the negative effects of heightened violence on functional areas crucial to the practice of liberal democracy—human rights, displacement, judicial stability, and employment—investments were needed, but they never arrived. One justification offered for diminished European funding of Plan Colombia fingers a perception of US unilateralism and arrogance.19 In quick order, both the counternarcotics obsession of the Clinton administration and the “war on terror” unilateralism of its successor effectively ruined prospects for civilian-side contributions from the EU and other international donors.

The tendency toward militarization then became autocatalyzing in Bogotá. Uribe’s election in 2002 struck a blow against Pastrana’s whole-of-government approach, which, absent nonmilitary initiatives, had not engendered serious hope in the populace. Uribe, in his memoir, wrote that he “believed that [he] could regain control over 100 percent of Colombia’s territory while respecting human rights and extending the reach of democracy.” As an example of the typical thinking on Plan Colombia, Alvaro Vargas Llosa relays said Uribe quote before admitting that “[Uribe’s] sense of purpose led him to be less obsessively vigilant about the means than the end.”20 This is a curiously dispassionate method of thinking about Plan Colombia’s lasting, pernicious effects on Colombian liberal democracy, but indicative of the strategic disposition of those who supported the Plan’s final version.

Uribe reinforced Plan Colombia in mid-2003 with the unveiling of his “democratic security” spin on counterinsurgency, an effort at papering over policy shortcomings that fooled few observers. International Crisis Group recommended soon after that the plan be amended to include “both a strategy to reinforce the judiciary and the rule of law and a high priority development initiative that includes a sustainable land reform program to reduce rural poverty” alongside several other nonmilitary efforts,21–a tacit acknowledgment that Plan Colombia had not made serious commitments to nonmilitary strategies. Yet in 2004, Uribe announced another standalone military offensive, Plan Patriota.

Segments of Washington itself noted many of these policy inconsistencies at the time, urging caution against a naked tilt toward immediate counternarcotics gains at the expense of long-term liberal democracy. Peter Hakim, President of the Inter-American Dialogue, noted in 2001 that “even a joint task force of the Inter-American Dialogue and the Council on Foreign Relations, chaired by two supporters of U.S. aid to Colombia — former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.) — recently criticized Washington’s Colombia policy as too narrowly focused on counternarcotics programs.”22 The tactical successes of a military-centric Plan Colombia covered up many of the negative effects on Colombian society that received little consideration.


Underneath the superficial successes lie several disturbing effects on the continued viability of Colombian liberal democracy: judicial impotence, severe economic hemorrhaging and distorted budget allocation, gross humans rights violations, endemic corruption, and the world’s second-largest population of internally displaced persons (IDPs). All these problems existed before 2000, of course, but no indications of genuine improvement have since appeared.

Proponents of Plan Colombia often counter such ominous evidence with seemingly positive trends: the country did improve, for example, from 15th on the Fund for Peace’s annual Failed States Index in 200523 (the first year compiled) to 52nd in 2012.24 Over and above a questionable methodology that heavily weights toward basic security, supposed gains are far from clear. Most of the country’s improvement came in decreased demographic pressure (-2.6), decreased human flight (-1.6), lessened economic inequality, (-.6), economic improvement (-3.1), strengthened state legitimacy (-2.4), and de-factionalized elites, (-1.5). By contrast, decreases were apparent in refugee problems, (+.4), vengeance-seeking (+.3), and deterioration in public services (+1.7). Yet, again, since the Index claims that security has worsened (+2.6) and human rights have been bolstered (-1.2) since 2005—both conclusions that are not borne out by even cursory analysis—it remains difficult to weight the Failed States Index as credible evidence of success.

Metrics in individual constituent parts of liberal democracy give better shape to the effects of Plan Colombia, particularly in the area of judicial legitimacy. In this area, discussions of Plan Colombia occasionally lapse into the Orwellian. Take, for example, an argument for extradition increases made by retired U.S. Army Col. Bob Killebrew, writing for Foreign Policy:

The American Drug Enforcement Administration, working with the Colombian Police since 1972, has become a transnational hub for law enforcement around South America and the globe, assisting police in a dozen countries to build cases, make arrests and extradite them to the U.S. Why extradition? Because, as one DEA executive explained, if the narco-terrorists are incarcerated in their own countries, they find ways to direct their empires even from jail.25

Indeed, Bogotá approved U.S. extradition requests with furious gusto during the Plan Colombia years. Yet how, exactly, can one simultaneously laud Bogotá’s adherence to the rule of law whilst snidely lamenting the fact that it is not strong enough to meet basic objectives of a legal system? Extradition can represent the normal operating procedure for a criminal found outside the country of his committed crime. By contrast, every Colombian extradited to the U.S. has committed crimes for which he or she could be prosecuted within the Colombian legal system. The refusal to do so—and near-celebration of the fact—represents an understanding that juridical practice in Colombia does not adhere to basic prerequisites for ensuring a stable liberal democracy.

Institutionalized overreaches and humans rights abuses by the Colombian military further undermine Colombian liberal democracy. Tens of thousands of forced disappearances26 and the continued destitution of over five million IDPs27 argue strongly for the view that Colombian civil society has survived in spite of rather than because of Plan Colombia. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees concluded that “critical gaps remain in implementation [of IDP services], particularly as far as local institutions are concerned, due to lack of funding or technical capacity.”28 Such a conclusion is significant insofar as provision of basic services is not prevented by ethnic preference, violence against IDPs, or a lack of attention to the problem. More broadly, the continued violence has shaved off 2% of GDP a year from Colombia29 and has resulted in a ballooning military budget that in 2007 exceeded that of the education budget for the first time in history.

Colombia’s legal system never addressed the systematic murder of civilians by their own armed forces. Significantly, almost half of the units accused of such crimes are U.S.-financed, yet Embassy Bogotá and Washington remain mute.30 The absolute numbers of such occurrences remain low relative to other consequences of Plan Colombia, but the direct connection between U.S. support and abuse should create serious concern in Washington if U.S. wishes to continue billing itself as a promoter of democracy in Latin America.

Such problems could be addressed under the Leahy Law, which prevents U.S. support of military units involved in human rights abuses. Washington has not only failed to offer serious redressing, but has also argued for blatant circumvention of the Leahy Law’s provisions by invoking the positive role U.S. military advisers play. For example, Special Operations Command chief Adm. William McRaven recently testified to the House Armed Services Committee that U.S. advisers represent the only policy option for improving human rights accountability, and ranking Democrat Adam Smith agreed with him.31 Yet this claim ends up being less than meaningless if U.S. advisers are simply preventing human rights abuses that U.S. policy enabled to begin with. Furthermore, it applies a band-aid to a structural illness: preventive measures, like U.S. training, become mere wishful thinking in the absence of a credible enforcement mechanism, in this case the Colombian judicial system.

Even in an area traditionally regarded as strong in Colombia—electoral legitimacy—Plan Colombia engendered lasting negative effects. Starting in the 1980s, Colombia began to decentralize rapidly in an attempt to improve administrative decision-making amidst political violence. For example, the Law No.1 of 1986 provided for the popular election of mayors, and the constitutional revision of 1991 further expressed popular will through an elected constituent assembly that enjoyed a significant degree of multipartisanship relative to Colombia’s postwar exclusionary two-party system. By almost all standards, Colombia had been leading the charge on liberal democratic practice in Latin America.


Colombians once considered political corruption as an unfortunate side effect of weak state control in specific areas. It is now increasingly recognized, albeit murkily, as an institutionalized method of state control. To trace this evolution and identify Plan Colombian’s exacerbation of corruption problems, one must return to the original role of AUC paramilitaries as proxies of the Colombian government. As U.S. support flowed into the Colombian military, the services of right-wing paramilitaries (primarily AUC) became redundant. Thus, Uribe and AUC leaders agreed to the Santa Fé de Ralito Accord in July of 2003, the much-touted paramilitary disarmament program. Trumpeted as a success, disarmament not only granted effective amnesty to Colombia’s worst human rights offenders , but also prevented their extradition to the U.S even as Bogotá happily shipped other criminals to el coloso.

Furthermore, its billing as a simple “disarmament” program concealed deeper and more nefarious political corruption. Disarmament programs typically precede negotiated settlements of political differences between the state and specific antistate actors. Yet Daniel García-Peña, former High Commissioner for Peace, notes the obvious in reiterating that the political objectives of AUC and Bogotá always harmonized.32 Uribe described the program as a peace process between his government and the paramilitaries, even though they had never been at war with one another. In reality, the two allies reached a modus vivendi that moved AUC from strictly fighters to political operatives.

In that context, the absence of prosecution for former crimes makes a great deal of sense, since paramilitary violence primary affected Uribe’s enemies in Colombia. Gradually, as disarmament progressed, AUC moved from simple mercenary activities to shadowy political power, often under the aegis of ostensibly independent politicians that caucused with Uribe’s coalition. Human Rights Watch quotes a former paramilitary’s explanation: “The demobilization…is a farce. It’s a way of quieting down the system and returning again, starting over from another side.”33 Professor Steven Taylor, reviewing seized strategic papers of AUC operatives, concludes that “when the AUC [leader] Salvatore Mancuso stated in 2002 that the paramilitaries controlled over a third of the Congress, he was not engaging in braggadocio.”34

The ongoing Yidispolítica investigation35 continues to unearth ties between high-ranking Colombian politicians and paramilitary groups. Such ties represent serious infringements upon liberal democracy that undermine the long-term stability and legitimacy of the state. Yet this striking structural corruption evades discourse in Washington, and on the rare occasion the Beltway does acknowledge the bribery and intimidation, the only culprit in the lineup is “drugs.” Observers should find it bizarre that the dismissal of these fundamental threats to Colombian liberal democracy find no purchase in U.S. foreign policy, especially considered against the outrage over comparable corruption in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.


Looking forward, Washington believes Plan Colombia achieved its main objective of improving the security situation, and a continuation of the status quo has become U.S. policy by default. Yet progress in the peace talks is not assured and it is far from clear that increased pressure alone compelled FARC’s newfound interest in bargaining. In a most telling passage, Kline concludes his chronicling of the failed Pastrana peace process with three simple recommendations. Not one to elide strident criticism of FARC objectives and behavior, Kline nonetheless ignores the group in his final summation. Instead, he places responsibility for a resolution of conflict firmly in Bogotá’s corner, claiming the state must create a credible peace process, improve alternative development programs (ADPs), and consistently enforce the law.36 Plan Colombia ignored or negatively affected prospects for all three.

we like adps

A sign addressed ostensibly to international audiences, since the Uribe administration cared little for complementing its offensives with ADPs.

No matter its conclusions, Washington cannot likely replicate its policy partnership with the Uribe administration in the future, for numerous reasons. Since 2006, Latin America experienced the pink tide and the United States suffered significant hemorrhaging of international prestige and potential trust. Each provides much more serious obstacles for military-tilted assistance than existed in 2000-2.

Furthermore, the Leahy Law enjoys increased purchase in Congress and austerity pressures are moving the U.S. toward cost-cutting abroad, especially in areas deemed inessential to national security. Washington’s usage of private contractors to obscure the true scope of US military intervention in Colombia should be viewed as a tacit acknowledgment that the Plan Colombia-style of military-led foreign policy is broadly unpopular in the world.37 Lastly, Washington’s behavior in Colombia created suspicions that the U.S. is pursuing a soft-style version of the Cold War “School of the Americas” strategy. The recent Colombian military basing deal and Washington’s granting Mexico a relatively greater degree of autonomy than Colombia38 are strong evidential ammunition for those seeking to diminish the U.S. role in Latin America.

Washington thus enjoys a fairly straightforward option for aiding the long-term stabilization and democratization of Colombia: a policy of simple democracy promotion, leaving the counterinsurgency operations to the Colombian Armed Forces alone and thereby capturing a significant percentage of foreign military financing cutback for governance education, judicial promotion, ADPs, and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). The combined insurgency no longer poses a significant threat to state control and successful pilot programs exist to build on for both ADPs39 and DDR.40

Colombia increasingly drifted away, since the Uribe administration, from the U.S. in a strategic sense. President Juan Manuel Santos sought to distance himself from Washington, both by extraditing high-level judicial cases to Caracas instead of the U.S., as in the Makled case,41 and in joining a hemispheric coalition against the U.S. focus on narrow counternarcotics in the April 2009 Cartagena summit.42

Regionally, Bogotá watched its prestige decline as violent spillover and escalation of tensions with Ecuador and Venezeula threatened to draw it into further conflict. Furthermore, its merchant class has successfully lobbied to look away from Washington and seek export markets elsewhere. Crucially, though Santos’ backlash against Uribe’s policies led him away from Washington,43 the U.S. still enjoys significant leverage in Bogotá, representing the export destination for roughly 40% of all goods leaving the country. But Santos’ diversification of Colombian foreign policy should worry Washington. Concluding that a decade of single-minded military focus and unilateral foreign policy had ultimately harmed Colombian interests, Santos restored diplomatic ties with Venezuela, achieved a rotational U.N. Security Council seat, and sought to expand regional and cross-Pacific economic ties.44

Conversely, for Washington, Colombia does not represent a relatively important trading partner, following the general trend of U.S.-Latin American asymmetric relations. In this area, Tufts scholar Dan Drezner correctly notes that “The biggest benefit of the FTA with Colombia has little to do with economics and everything to do with our bilateral and regional relationships.“45 Colombia remains a strategic partner in the region—one of the few Washington can count on.

Yet Colombia will not continue to reciprocate absent tangible benefits from the relationship. The Obama administration endorsed Santos’ ambitious reforms, which echoed Pastrana’s original calls for strong nonmilitary components to Plan Colombia. In only two years, Santos passed two monumental proposals: 1) the Victims and Land Restitution Law, providing economic assistance and repossession of stolen land for 4-5m affected persons; and 2) the Peace Framework Law, establishing a justice structure for post-peace process DDR and effectively signaling to FARC members government commitment to fair consideration of demobilized fighters.46 Washington can and should offer funding and implementation help through the State Department’s inchoate Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, created as a competitor against the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ignoring peace process prospects and long-term postconflict stabilization risks creating pressures in Colombia that all but assure its estrangement and eventual loss as a strategic regional ally.


Why does any of this matter? As a result of its perceived success, high-powered and influential Beltway figures like Paul Wolfowitz and Michael O’Hanlon now champion Plan Colombia as a policy option for Mexico47 and Afghanistan.48 Washington does not recognize the drawbacks of such operations, preventing the U.S. national security apparatus from delivering informed advice on future partnerships. The second batch of effects on Washington—suspicion, dislike, and a drifting ally—threaten to eventually overtake Colombia’s short-term gratitude toward Washington for finally passing its bilateral free-trade agreement.

Plan Colombia undoubtedly succeeded in the narrowest sense: FARC no longer threatens the existence of the state. This says very little about whether the chosen policy represented the most efficient course of action for the long-term virility of Colombian liberal democracy and the U.S.-Colombian partnership. One can certainly use a hammer to insert a screw and claim total success, yet the long-term stability of that screw may be nonexistent underneath superficial appearances. Washington should coldly reconsider Plan Colombia to both refocus on ameliorating its worst effects on Colombia and avoid its pitfalls in future policymaking.


1Currie, Dunan. “The Case for Colombia.” American Enterprise Institute. April 11, 2008.

2Robinson, Linda. “The Future of Special Operations.” Foreign Affairs. November/December 2012.

3United States Support for Colombia. Department of State. March 28, 2000.

4Taylor, Steven L. Voting Amid Violence. (Lebanon: Northeastern University Press, 2009), 16.

5Taylor, Voting Amid Violence, 142.

6Kline Harvey F. Showing Teeth to the Dragons, (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2009) 131. Kline humorously notes that FARC itself, in a May 2002 statement of intent, “asked the government to stop calling them narcoterrorists.”

7Kline, Harvey. Showing Teeth to the Dragons, 40.

8Felbab-Brown, Vanda. Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs. (Washington, D.C: Brookings Press, 2010), 69-101.

9Taylor, Voting Amid Violence, 153.

10Livingstone, Grace. Inside Colombia: Drugs, Democracy and War. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2004), 124.

11Livingstone, Inside Colombia. 126. “Political exclusion” here being defined as a value-neutral judgment on the nature of insurgencies; in short, the unrequited or unrealized desire for political power held by a group outside Colombia’s party system.

12Hinojosa, Victor J. Domestic Politics and International Narcotics Control. (New York: Routledge, 2007), 62.

13Livingstone, Inside Colombia. 135.

14Vivanco, Jose Miguel. “Human Rights Watch Appeal to EU to Suspend Aid to Colombia.” Human Rights Watch. September 1, 2000.

15Felbab-Brown, Shooting Up, 101-109.

16Kline, Showing Teeth to the Dragons, 45.

17Moloney, Anastasia. “The Future of Plan Colombia Looks Secure.” World Politics Review. August 7, 2006.

18 Most of whom do not register on official IDP counts since they are defined as economic migrants.

19Livingstone, Inside Colombia. 128.

20Llosa, Alvaro Vargas. “The Man Who Saved Colombia.” The Wall Street Journal. October 10, 2012.

21Colombia: President Uribe’s Democratic Security Policy. International Crisis Group. November 12, 2003.

22Hakim, Peter. “The Uneasy Americas.” Foreign Affairs. March/April 2001.

23The Failed States Index 2005. Fund For Peace.

24The Failed States Index 2012. Fund For Peace.

25Ricks, Thomas E. “Colombia’s neglected success story.” Foreign Policy. July 29, 2010.

26Mechoulan, Delphine. “Forced Disappearances in Colombia.” Council On Hemispheric Affairs. November 1, 2011.

27Otis, John. “If Colombia is Winning Its War, Why the Fleeing?” TIME. September 1, 2009.

28Moloney, Anastasia. “Colombia’s IDP Crisis: Caught in the Crossfire.” World Politics Review. February 8, 2011.

29Line, Milburn. “Trying to End Colombia’s Battle with FARC.” Foreign Affairs. March 27, 2012.

30Romero, Simon. “Colombia Lists Civilian Killings in Guerrilla Toll.” The New York Times. October 29, 2008.

31Stewart, Phil. “US commander seeks to ease human-rights rules that limit training.” Reuters. March 6, 2013.

32Taylor, Voting Amid Violence, 155.

33Kline, Showing Teeth to the Dragons, 155.

34Taylor, Voting Amid Violence. 158.

35‘Yidispolítica no forma parte de métodos de este Gobierno’: Carrillo. El Tiempo. December 28, 2012.

36Kline, Chronicle of a Failure Foretold, 185.

37Livingstone, Inside Colombia. 132.

38Hinojosa, Domestic Politics and International Narcotics Control, 7.

39Kimball, Jack. “Colombia’s Santos: Land restitution law undermines rebels.” Reuters. October 19, 2012.

40Phillips, Anne. “Once Were Warriors.” Foreign Affairs. October 25, 2012.

41Cárdenas, Jóse R. “How Obama is Losing Colombia.” Foreign Policy. April 25, 2011.

42Rogin, Josh. “Obama won’t budge on drug policy in Colombia.” Foreign Policy. April 11, 2012.

43Moloney, Anastasia. “Strategic Posture Review: Colombia.” World Politics Review. December 16, 2009.

44Casteneda, Sebastian. “Colombia’s Santos Moves to Diversify Foreign Policy.” World Politics Review. April 1, 2011.

45Drezner, Daniel. “Thoughts on the Colombian trade deal.” Foreign Policy. April 10, 2008.

46Beittel, June. “Peace Talks in Colombia.” Congressional Research Service, 15.

47Bremmer, Ian. “Is Mexico the New Colombia?” Foreign Policy. August 21, 2009; Bonner, Robert C. “The New Cocaine Cowboys.” Foreign Affairs. July/August 2010.

48Wolfowitz, Paul and Michael O’Hanlon. “Plan Afghanistan.” Foreign Policy. October 28, 2011.


Beittel, June. “Peace Talks in Colombia.” Congressional Research Service, 15.

Bonner, Robert C. “The New Cocaine Cowboys.” Foreign Affairs. July/August 2010. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66472/robert-c-bonner/the-new-cocaine-cowboys?page=show

Bremmer, Ian. “Is Mexico the New Colombia?” Foreign Policy. August 21, 2009. http://eurasia.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/08/21/is_mexico_the_new_colombia

Cárdenas, Jóse R. “How Obama is Losing Colombia.” Foreign Policy. April 25, 2011. shadow.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/04/25/how_obama_is_losing_colombia

Casteneda, Sebastian. “Colombia’s Santos Moves to Diversity Foreign Policy.” World Politics Review. April 1, 2011. http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/8383/colombias-santos-moves-to-diversify-foreign-policy

Colombia: President Uribe’s Democratic Security Policy. International Crisis Group. November 12, 2003. http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/latin-america-caribbean/andes/colombia/006-president-uribes-democratic-security-policy.aspx

Currie, Dunan. “The Case for Colombia.” American Enterprise Institute. April 11, 2008. http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/regional/latin-america/the-case-for-colombia/

Drezner, Daniel. “Thoughts on the Colombian trade deal.” Foreign Policy. April 10, 2008. http://drezner.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2008/04/10/thoughts_on_the_colombia_trade_deal

The Failed States Index 2005. Fund For Peace. http://ffp.statesindex.org/rankings-2005-sortable

The Failed States Index 2012. Fund For Peace. http://ffp.statesindex.org/rankings-2012-sortable

Felbab-Brown, Vanda. Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs. (Washington, D.C: Brookings Press, 2010).

Hakim, Peter. “The Uneasy Americas.” Foreign Affairs. March/April 2001. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/56846/peter-hakim/the-uneasy-americas?page=show

Hinojosa, Victor J. Domestic Politics and International Narcotics Control. (New York: Routledge, 2007).

Kimball, Jack. “Colombia’s Santos: Land restitution law undermines rebels.” Reuters. October 19, 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/colombia-rebels-idUSL1E8LJ68T20121019

Kline, Harvey. Showing Teeth to the Dragons. (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2009).

Line, Milburn. “Trying to End Colombia’s Battle with FARC.” Foreign Affairs. March 27, 2012. www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137354/milburn-line/trying-to-end-colombias-battle-with-farc?page=2

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