For more than 50 years, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has complemented government and citizen efforts to encourage social and economic development in Colombia, address the challenges of the long-term violence fueled by coca production and the illegal drug trade, and facilitate the establishment of civilian government institutions into previously isolated and underserved regions.
Between 1962 and the late 1980s, USAID assistance was focused mainly on housing, employment, land, health, education, and justice. After a meeting between U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Colombian President Virgilio Barco in 1990, U.S. support was also aimed at combatting drug trafficking and stimulating economic growth.
Today, with strong support from USAID, Colombia is turning the corner, and bringing security, economic opportunity, and social justice to its citizens. Colombia’s government asserts institutional control throughout its territory, confronting illegal armed terrorist groups, offering reconciliation programs, and rapidly providing social and economic support to communities transitioning from violence. Murders and kidnappings have fallen sharply and Colombia’s economic performance has demonstrated consistent growth as a result of increased security and broad-based state presence.
Despite substantial advances, challenges remain in Colombia’s pathway to post-conflict. Numerous rural municipalities, isolated by poor infrastructure and fragile institutions, remain prone to aggression from illegal armed groups, illicit crop cultivation, forced displacement, and human rights abuses. Nearly half of Colombia’s citizens live below the national poverty line, suffering from great income disparity and inadequate social services.
USAID’s long-standing relationship with Colombia is evidence of its commitment to help the country and its citizens overcome the remaining challenges in its struggle to end criminal violence, narco-trafficking, and human rights violations, and to bring social justice to its most vulnerable communities.