Plan Colombia: A model for Plan Mexico?

Where are the Colombia experts monitoring Plan Colombia for human rights abuses (e.g. what happened to those labor activists and why are those unemployed people being killed by the hundreds?)?

Not to mention 4 million Internally Displaced People too scared to tell U.S. government backed paramilitaries tied to Colombian government and powerful landholders (cattle ranchers et al) to return their land.

Clear that inside-the-beltway p.r. has infected some human rights organizations’ analysis and ACTIONS.

Here’s a recent biopsy of Colombian democracy after 8 years of ‘aid’ from the U.S. under Plan Colombia.

And keep in mind that Plan Mexico includes a significant amount of money for intelligence gathering. And that investigations of members of the Colombian military/government for systematic human rights abuses have dragged on for years, inconclusively:

Colombia’s intelligence chief steps down

Colombia’s intelligence chief has stepped down after acknowledging her agents secretly spied on left-wing political opponents of President Alvaro Uribe, in the latest surveillance scandal to tarnish his administration.

Maria del Pilar Hurtado, DAS security agency director, resigned after a leading opposition lawmaker charged this week that officers had illegally kept tabs on members of his Democratic Pole party, the government said on Thursday.

Mr Uribe last year fired his top police chiefs after an illegal wiretapping scandal that fueled worries about intelligence practices in Colombia, where Washington has spent billions in aid to help fight guerrillas and cocaine barons.

“The country still can and should count on the DAS; it would not be fair for the work of hundreds of agents to be stained by the actions of a few,” Ms Hurtado said in a statement.

She will be temporarily replaced by Joaquin Polo, the deputy director, the government said.

Senator Gustavo Petro, one of Mr Uribe’s most vocal critics, said DAS agents had been monitoring him and other party members on the president’s orders. Ms Hurtado said she ordered no such surveillance, but fired an agent involved before resigning.

The DAS has been at the center of scandals in the past. Mr Uribe’s former security chief, Jorge Noguera, is under investigation on suspicion he helped paramilitary death squads hunt down victims. He was jailed, then freed on a technicality.

Mr Uribe, hugely popular for his US-financed crackdown on the country’s guerrillas, last year replaced his national police commander and police intelligence chief after they admitted they had no knowledge of the wiretapping of state officials, opposition leaders and journalists over the years.

That scandal broke when a local news magazine published a story about recorded conversations of jailed paramilitaries apparently organizing crimes from their prison cells.

Scores of Mr Uribe’s political allies have been jailed or are under investigation for suspected ties to paramilitary commanders who carried out massacres and land grabs in the name of counter-insurgency before agreeing to a peace accord.

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