Home » Bolivar or Escobar: The Nature of Colombian Guerrillas by William R. Ward
Bolivar or Escobar: The Nature of Colombian Guerrillas William R. Ward

Bolivar or Escobar: The Nature of Colombian Guerrillas

William R. Ward

Published October 18th 2012
ISBN : 9781249882268
Paperback
58 pages
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 About the Book 

Though the US is physically located in the Western Hemisphere, for most of its history, policy toward the South American countries that share this region has taken a distant second to Euro-centric issues. One of the few areas of concern that hasMoreThough the US is physically located in the Western Hemisphere, for most of its history, policy toward the South American countries that share this region has taken a distant second to Euro-centric issues. One of the few areas of concern that has consistently energized contemporary debate about relations with these Southern neighbors is the war on drugs. In Colombia, the narcotics trafficking problem has become increasingly complex as drug trade has merged with a fifty-year-old insurgency that appears to be gaining strength. Colombias position in the national discourse has been raised recently with the request by the government of Colombia for $1.3 billion in financial and materiel aid to support its Plan Colombia, a $7.5 billion counter-narcotic, counter-insurgency offensive. Recent US policy toward Colombia has been dominated by concerns about narco-trafficking. Although the government of Colombia is dealing with an extremely complex security threat, the US government has chosen to restrict its assistance to only those activities that are both directly contributing to the counter-narcotic effort and distinct from any counter-insurgent efforts. There are oft-stated fears of becoming mired in a Vietnam-style conflict. Unfortunately, the difficulty of distinguishing between counter-narcotic and counter-insurgent operations cannot be overestimated in the present Colombian environment. Many pundits and even some government officials attempt to simplify the equation by claiming the dominant insurgent group-Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia--FARC) is no longer a group of revolutionaries driven by ideology and a desire to supplant the existing government, but have instead devolved into a criminal drug organization with an insurgent propagandistic facade. If this conclusion were accurate, it could potentially simplify implementation of US policy and reduce the strings attached to aid for the Colombian government. If, how