‘Plan Colombia’ Has Been a Nightmare for Women (teleSUR English & Truthout)

QUITO, ECUADOR – Six women were raped every hour in Colombia during the first nine years of Plan Colombia.

That figure was taken from a joint survey done by women’s rights organizations, which include Oxfam and other Colombian based groups. The study also revealed that some 489,678 women were victims of some type of sexual violence, while 7,752 had been forced into prostitution between 2000-2009 – what were integral years for the controversial deal.

Plan Colombia is a counternarcotics and counterinsurgency military aid package launched in 2000 by then US President Bill Clinton. Over the last 15 years, it contributed military personnel and billions of dollars to help Colombia fight the drug trade and left-wing guerrillas which the government had been fighting with for decades.

However, according to human rights groups in the country, the deal has been a disaster.

“What we see is that drug trafficking was strengthened and there was a lot of repression, a lot of contamination of the environment, and the level of violation of human rights of Colombians increased,” Nidia Quintero, general-secretary of the campesino rights group Fensuagro, told teleSUR.

As about three-fourths of Plan Colombia’s aid money has gone toward funding the military and local police, the result has been mainly unfettered militarization of the country. This is true particularly in the first seven years of the plan, from 2000 to 2007, when US assistance would routinely exceed US $600 million per year, with over 80 percent of it going to the security forces, according to numbers by the Washington Office of Latin America.

This, added to the violence, deaths and forced disappearances that already existed in high numbers because of the ongoing civil war between the Colombian army, paramilitary troops and guerrilla fighters.

And according to Quintero, those who continue to bear the brunt of the burden is women.

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