Senior US Diplomat Informs Colombia of Possible Cuts in Anti-Drug Aid

Latin American Herald TribuneBOGOTA – The United States’ government has informed Colombia of possible cuts in anti-drug aid and said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was still considered a major drug-trafficking organization and an international terrorist group.

Those remarks by US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement William Brownfield were published Wednesday by Colombian daily El Tiempo.

Brownfield met Tuesday with Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas and is scheduled to meet Wednesday with the Andean nation’s head of state, Juan Manuel Santos, at the presidential palace in Bogota.

The US ambassador to Colombia from 2007 to 2010 said the White House’s first 2018 budget proposal calls for sharp cuts to foreign aid programs, including a 37 percent reduction in funding for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development.

That figure – $34.6 billion – could be changed via a direct request from the secretary of state to the president or when the US Congress votes on the budget, Brownfield added.

The US has provided Bogota with some $10 billion in mainly military aid since 2000 under Plan Colombia, an initiative aimed at combating Colombian drug cartels and left-wing insurgent groups. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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