Plan Colombia can also refer to a wider aid initiative originally proposed by Colombian President Andrés Pastrana Arango, which included U.S. military/counter-narcotics aid, but was not limited to it. The plan was conceived between 1998 and 1999 by the administration of Pastrana with the goals of ending the Colombian armed conflict and creating an anti-cocainestrategy.
Critics of the initiative also claimed that elements within the Colombian security forces, which received aid and training from the U.S., were involved in supporting or tolerating abuses by right-wing paramilitary forces against left-wing guerrilla organizations and their sympathizers. Another controversial element of the anti-narcotic strategy is aerial fumigation toeradicate coca. This activity has come under fire because it damages legal crops and has adverse health effects upon those exposed to the herbicides.
Original Plan Colombia
The original version of Plan Colombia was officially unveiled by President Andres Pastrana in 1999. Pastrana had first proposed the idea of a possible "Marshall Plan for Colombia" during a speech at Bogotá's Tequendama Hotel on June 8, 1998, nearly a week after the first round of that year's presidential elections. Pastrana argued that:
"[Drug crops are] a social problem whose solution must pass through the solution to the armed conflict...Developed countries should help us to implement some sort of 'Marshall Plan' for Colombia, which will allow us to develop great investments in the social field, in order to offer our peasants different alternatives to the illicit crops."
After Pastrana was inaugurated, one of the names given to the initiative at this early stage was "Plan for Colombia's Peace", which President Pastrana defined as "a set of alternative