Or, as the GAO diplomatically put it: "Plan Colombia's goal of reducing the cultivation, processing, and distribution of illegal narcotics by 50 percent in 6 years was not fully achieved."
By all accounts, Colombia has been and remains the world's number one coca and cocaine producer. It is estimated that 90% of the cocaine reaching the US is from Colombia. Despite years of aerial eradication with herbicides, as well as manual eradication, Washington and BogotÃ¡ have been unable to put a serious dent in the Colombian coca and cocaine trade. The inability to suppress coca and cocaine production "can be explained by measures taken by coca farmers to counter US and Colombian eradication efforts," the report said.
The report calls for aid cuts and advises US and Colombian officials to "develop a joint plan for turning over operational and funding responsibilities for US-supported programs to Colombia." It also called for USAID, which has administered more than $1.3 billion in alternative development funding, to come up with methods of measuring whether its efforts were having any impact.
The GAO did give Washington and BogotÃ¡ credit for improving Colombia's security climate "through systematic military and police engagements with illegal armed groups and by degrading these groups' finances." But, as we reported last week, Amnesty International has found that the human rights situation in Colombia remains atrocious, with thousands of killings each year and between two and three million Colombians displaced and living as refugees.
With Democrats in control of both Congress and the White House, Plan Colombia's days could be numbered, and a report like this one ought to kill the beast. But don't be surprised if it doesn't.