Posted on May 25, 2017 5:55 am
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Categories: Cost of Peace

Chainsaw Slasher: Trump’s 2018 Foreign Aid Budget Proposes 36% Cut to Colombia; ‘Devastating Blow’ to Region

 

Assistance to Colombia would drop by 16 percent from 2016 to 2018, and by 36 percent from 2017 to 2018. In 2016 President Barack Obama proposed an increased package of assistance to Colombia, to help that country–the United States’ largest aid recipient in the hemisphere–begin implementing a peace accord that recently ended a long guerrilla conflict. In early May 2017 Congress granted this request, approving $391 million. Along with Defense Department counter-drug money and some smaller accounts, total aid to Colombia will be about $450 million this year–about $300 million less than it was at the height of Colombia’s war a decade ago, but still an increase of about $100 million over 2016 aid levels. The 2018 budget request would not only undo the “Peace Colombia” increase, it would cut still further, bringing aid in this bill from $391 million to $251 million from 2017 to 2018. This would deal a moral and fiscal blow to Colombia’s effort to implement an ambitious peace accord, at a time when low commodity prices and a weaker currency have hit the national budget hard. Meanwhile, even though U.S. officials voice frequent concern about record reported levels of coca cultivation in Colombia, the budget request would reduce State Department International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement funds by $10 million from 2016 levels and $18 million from 2017 levels. WOLA