Colombia, US announce new anti-drug trafficking plan
Published: Aug 18, 2020 04:58 PM

Colombian police of the GOES Special Operations Group, break down a door on Wednesday in Cali, Colombia, during an operation against criminal gangs and drug traffickers in the Aguablanca District, one of the most dangerous areas of the city. Photo: AFP

The US and Colombia Monday announced the launch of a new joint plan to combat drug trafficking, including investments in areas affected by violence.

Colombian president Ivan Duque and US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien made the joint statement at the presidential palace in Bogota, following a meeting. They did not specify the exact amount of resources allocated to the plan.

O'Brien said the US "will support all of Colombia's efforts... to ensure security in the country, to combat criminal organizations, some of which are transnational, and in doing so, we will help create the conditions for economic growth" in both nations.

Duque added that the US government "has not only seen the importance of... continuing to effectively combat drug trafficking and terrorism," but also of "combining those efforts... with quality investment in places that have been affected by violence."

They both presented the initiative as a new phase of the "Plan Colombia," an aid package from Washington aimed at combating drug trafficking in the South American country.

The US gave Colombia more than $7 billion between 2000 and 2016 under the Plan Colombia agreement, but the money ended up being used to fight guerillas without eliminating the drug trade.

The announcement comes amid a spike in violence throughout Colombia, resulting in 33 massacres so far in 2020, according to the UN.

The UN believes that criminal gangs are responsible for nearly 80 percent of massacres in Colombia in 2020.

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