U.S. policy toward Colombia should…
1. End military aid.
It is time for the United States to end military assistance to Colombia. More than a decade of U.S. engagement with Colombia has been overly militarized and framed within a failed strategy of the “war on drugs.” As Colombia moves towards peace, the United States must do the same and reorient its aid from the military to social and economic development.
2. End fumigations.
U.S. anti-drug policy in Colombia and in Latin America more broadly needs rethinking. Many are beginning to question the “war on drugs” approach of criminalization, militarization, and eradication. Rather than continuing to pursue the failed strategy of fumigating crops in Colombia, the United States should take a more holistic approach of addressing drug abuse as a public health issue here in the U.S. and providing viable economic alternatives to coca growers in Colombia.
3. Support land restitution and return for the displaced.
Decades of armed conflict in Colombia have caused millions to lose their homes and their lands. As Colombia moves from war to peace, U.S. assistance to Colombia should provide support to the internally displaced population for a safe and sustainable return to their homes and the restitution of land. Furthermore, U.S. economic assistance can help rebuild the livelihoods of those who are displaced.
4. Support victims’ rights for truth, justice, and reparations.
The human cost of the Colombian conflict is vast. Tens of thousands have been disappeared, hundreds of thousands have been killed, and millions displaced. The victims of violence have the right to learn the truth about what took place, define what it means to have justice, and receive reparations for the harm that was caused. The United States can support the most vulnerable by supporting efforts for truth, justice, and reparations.