Trump wants big boost in security aid to fight against drug traffic in Colombia

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US President Donald Trump’s new budget proposal would increasing support for narcotics control by $112 million.

While the US Congress usually makes big changes to Trump’s budget requests, the proposal shows how determined his administration is to pumping more and more into Colombia’s security apparatus.

Trump’s budget request, released Monday, nearly doubles Colombian anti-narcotics funding, from $125 million this year to $237.5 million for the upcoming fiscal year which starts Oct. 1.

But rather than adopt anti-coca measures recommended by international authorities, including the United Nations, such as economic development, his proposal aims to further build the military and police machinery needed for the US’ so-called War on Drugs.

The budget document says, about the narcotics program known as International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement: “U.S. assistance will build partner country law enforcement capacity to eradicate and interdict drugs.”

Colombia would get more anti-narcotics security aid than any other country, nearly four times the $60 million asked for Afghanistan, the second largest.

Meanwhile, the proposal cuts economic development aid from $207.3 million this year to $140 million, a reduction of 32%.

The budget proposal explains that this new program “prioritizes foreign assistance to better advance U.S. interests, target the challenges of a new era of great power competition, and support reliable strategic and diplomatic partners.”

This matches the changes Trump has made in overall security strategy compared with Barack Obama.

The budget proposal now goes to Congress, which is likely to make big changes. Last year, for example, Congress rejected his proposal to significantly cut Colombian aid.

This year, total aid would fall by a much smaller amount, $36 million or 8%, to a total of $412.9 million.

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