The United States spends approximately $700 million per year in the Andean region, but this Commission report concludes that current U.S. policy--focused narrowly on “drugs and thugs” in the Andes--cannot achieve U.S. regional goals of democracy, prosperity, and security. Andes 2020 offers bold new recommendations to recalibrate U.S. policy to better meet its objectives.
The Commission hopes to redress what it considers to be a major weakness of current U.S. policy as embodied in Plan Colombia and the Andean Counter-drug Initiative: an overly narrow focus on counternarcotics and security issues, and the relative absence of complementary, comprehensive, regionally oriented strategies. The report calls not for more resources, but for a readjustment of U.S. financial and political commitments to sustain American engagement beyond PlanColombia’s expiration in 2005.
The report puts forth three objectives to rectify current policy: first, the need to more equitably distribute political and economic resources and power in each country, with a commitment to strategic rural land reform; second, the importance of greater participation by the international community on a range of diplomatic, political, economic, social, security, and humanitarian issues; and third, the recognition that regional problems require regional approaches and that greater cooperation among the Andean countries is essential. Determined action on these three strategic objectives will, over time, accomplish sustainable progress toward political, economic, and security goals that a policy focused mainly on supply-side counterdrug efforts cannot achieve.