Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kerry On Colombia

John Kerry published on op-ed on the Miami Herald about U.S.-Colombian relations in anticipation of Juan Manuel Santos' visit. The main thrust was that the Obama administration would be unveiling a successor to Plan Colombia.

In my opinion, the many terrible warts of Plan Colombia are already being erased in a positive PR blitz. Maybe I'll write that post some other time. But let me say a few things I like Kerry's article:

1. He mentions the 6+ million displaced. Owning up to that reality is important (though I would argue Plan Colombia sometimes exacerbated it) and it annoys me when "rah-rah" accounts of Colombia pretend it doesn't exist.

2. He publicly mentions the fact that the Colombian government bears responsibility for how innocent people got trapped in the middle, sometimes targeted their own authorities.

3. The United States appears to be ready to have a post-conflict plan, rather than just claiming victory and leaving, which is a hallmark of U.S. policy around the world. That was the Bush Sr./Clinton strategy with Central America. We "won" the Cold War and now we'll just have free trade, which would solve all problems.


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