Colombia: Plan Mexico

 

Mexico is sending counter-terror and counter-narcotics personnel to Colombia for obtain training from their more experienced Colombian counterparts. Mexico is impressed by Colombian success against the drug cartels and high crime rates. Much of this was accomplished with an effort called “Plan Colombia.” Over the last decade, the $8 billion the U.S. put into Plan Colombia did not, as hoped, cut cocaine production in half. Colombia put nearly as much cash into the effort, and nearly all the personnel. It was a tough slog. At one point there was actually fifteen percent more coca acreage, and the four percent more cocaine being produced. But over the last few years, production declined, although often because the coca growing is moving to other countries. Increased acreage was the result of the government regaining control over a third of the country that was previously “bandit country” (and dominated by leftist rebels like FARC, and their drug gang allies.) Seizures of cocaine are up, as is the price in the U.S. and Europe, where most of it is exported to. The leftist rebels have lost more than half their strength, and armed men serving the drug gangs have gone from over 60,000 to less than 20,000. The Colombian security forces accomplished this by improving training and leadership, and expanding from 279,000 personnel, to nearly half a million. Crime rates are way down, and economic activity has rebounded. The main problem with Plan Colombia was that it expected too much success too soon. But it has succeeded, and continues to. Already, the drug gangs are moving their operations to other countries, like Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil. Colombia keeps up the pressure on the drug gangs and leftist rebels (FARC and ELN), because these groups continue to be a source of crime and economic disruption.

Colombia: Plan Mexico

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