THE “DRUG WAR” IN COLOMBIA

For the past decade, Colombia has been rocked by political violence that claims thousands of lives every year. Both the Colombian government and the Bush administration have oversimplified the causes of the violence, linking it too readily to drug traffickers and underplaying the role of the military and paramilitary groups. While successive Colombian presidents have made good faith efforts to curb the killing, they failed to acknowledge the relationship between senior military officers, paramilitary groups and the drug traffickers. As a result, those guilty of violent abuses routinely escape prosecution or punishment. Americas Watch calls on the Bush administration to ensure that the aid sent in connection with the “war on drugs” does not actually support and expand the Colombian military’s counterinsurgency effort, and invites the government of César Gaviria Trujillo to conduct aggressive inquiries into the sources of violence, so that the killers cannot continue to act with impunity.

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