By Hugh O'Shaughnessy
15 May 2005
Washington's "war on drugs" in Colombia is collapsing in chaos and corruption, and the drug producers are winning. The so-called Plan Colombia, which has cost the US more than $3bn (£1.6bn) in the past five years, is being abandoned, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced.
Last year, the hugely expensive effort to poison coca bushes - whose leaves are the source of cocaine - by aerial spraying ended in failure. More bushes were flourishing in January this year than in January 2004.
Meanwhile, complaints have multiplied about the damage done by the chemical poisons to the health of humans, especially children, as well as to livestock, fish and the environment.
Plan Colombia was designed to eradicate narcotics, control powerful left-wing guerrillas and strengthen the position of the US military in South America. The scheme was eventually expected to cost $7.5bn.
I'm not sure this reporter has his facts straight.
See: Plan Colombia: Major Successes and New Challenges Jonathan D. Farrar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Statement before the House International Relations Committee
Washington, DC May 11, 2005
And this: US Officials: Colombia Succeeding in War on Narcotics, Terrorism
VOICE OF AMERICA 12 May 2005