Last week the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a new aid package to Colombia through its version of the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act increasing support for critical social, economic and humanitarian needs and decreasing funding to a military implicated in serious human rights violations.
For over a decade, AIUSA has advocated for a different approach to US policy toward Colombia. We have highlighted the role of the Colombian Armed Forces in serious human rights violations, the killing of thousands of civilians by the military, paramilitary and guerrillas, the attacks against human rights defenders, the internal displacement of millions of Colombians and have communicated our concerns over cases of human rights violations to the US government.
Because of the emails you sent, letters you wrote, and phone calls you made, the new aid package went from 76% military and 24% social and economic aid (what the Bush Administration asked for) to 55% military and 45% social and economic aid, including support for victims of the conflict.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to all AIUSA activists who contacted their congressional representatives asking the New Congress to create a New Policy Toward Colombia! There is much more work to be done and we must continue to insist on change in our foreign policy, but this is the beginning of a more humane and balanced approach to supporting Colombia and we thank you all for having been a part of shaping it.
Stay tuned for the Senate version of the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. We will need your help to ensure that the Senate also passes more balanced aid package for Colombia.