Plan Colombia (Communiqué)

More than a week ago, I sent President Barack Obama a letter of gratitude whose content I shall not publish in observance of the protocol.
Plan Colombia was devised by then Presidents Bill Clinton of the U.S. and Andrés Pastrana of Colombia, with the very effective help of Luis Alberto Moreno, then Colombia’s Ambassador to the United States, and many citizens from both countries.
The term of our Administration did not coincide with that of former President Clinton, who supported all our efforts nonetheless.
During the last 19 months of our Administration, President Obama continued to cooperate with us and a Plan Colombia extension agreement was entered into by and between his Administration and our Administration; however, the current Colombian administration – whose incumbent president took part in the negotiation of such a plan as then minister of Defense – refused to submit it for the Colombian Congress to ratify it and never implemented it.
I would like to particularly express my gratitude to former President George Bush, who – by trusting in our country and our Administration – permitted both that aerial support was given to us to intercept illegal flights and that precision ammunition was sold to our Administration. This helped us make a great progress in weakening narcoterrorists.
From our side, and in consideration of US financial efforts, we created the equity tax for funding Democratic Security policy. We continued with the Familias en Acción program (financial aid to the poorest families in Colombia) created by Pastrana Administration and increased the number of beneficiaries by 10 times. We introduced the manual eradication of illegal drugs program, supported by the US – in regard to transportation of staff – and kept to a minimum by the current Colombian Administration. We created the Familias Guardabosques (forest ranger families) program under which 100,000 families were paid to protect the forests abandoned and threatened by drug crops, which is very relevant to global warming.
US contributions and those of many Colombians are thwarted by setback to progress in Colombia whose government has permitted illegal crops to substantially increase, thus resulting in 400 metric tons of cocaine in 2014 in comparison to 170 metric tons in 2010.
During our Administration, about 1,200 individuals accused of drug trafficking were extradited, namely to the United States.
We cannot accept that ringleaders from Farc, the world's biggest cocaine cartel, are neither jailed in Colombia nor extradited and, instead, are given the privilege of becoming eligible for politics.
We cannot accept that drug trafficking is considered a political and unpunishable offense, as the profits of it have been used to fund the most serious massacres in Colombia.
We cannot accept that the current Colombian Administration makes terrorists become its partners to purportedly fight drug trafficking and/or its valid interlocutors to discuss agrarian policy, despite that terrorist groups have tormented agrarian population.
We cannot accept Castro-Chavez failed economic doctrine that Farc, based on hatred of the private sector, disguises at this stage of developments.
We cannot accept that members of our Armed Forces and Colombian civilians are peered with terrorists, by categorizing them both as actors in the armed conflict. Civilians have been the victims; terrorists have been the victimizers; and our Armed Forces have fought narco-terrorism for years.
Neither a civil war has occurred in Colombia nor Colombian civilians have risen up in arms against any dictatorship. Colombia has been a respectable democracy and its armed forces have respected Colombia's Constitution and Rule of Law.
We believe that concessions given to Farc, rather than a peace deal, are a means of encouraging further violence.
We express once again our gratitude to the United States and expect that US-Colombia relationship is redressed in order to totally overcome narco-terrorism.
Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Montería, February 05, 2016