Colombia and United States Launch ‘Colombia Growth Initiative'
The short-, medium- and long-term initiative was announced after President Iván Duque met with a U.S. delegation in Bogotá, led by National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Director of the International Development Finance Corporation Adam Boehler
Washington, DC, August 18th, 2020 — Colombia and the United States launched in Bogotá yesterday “Colombia Crece” (“Colombia Grows”), an initiative to strengthen the rule of law, combat crime and, at the same time, invest in development, job creation, water, education, electricity and infrastructure in rural and vulnerable Colombian communities.
The initiative was announced after President Iván Duque Márquez met yesterday in Bogotá with a U.S. delegation that was led by National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Director of the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Adam Boehler. Also participating in the meeting were Admiral Craig Faller, Chief of the U.S. Southern Command, and Mauricio Claver-Carone, Advisor to President Donald Trump for Hemispheric Security.
President Duque explained that “Colombia Crece” will allow Colombia and the United States to “continue working for common purposes, including strengthening our joint work in defense, security and justice and also in mobilizing strategic investment to the neediest areas of our country.”
The Colombian Head of State indicated that with this short-, medium- and long-term State strategy, “the idea is to reach those municipalities that need tertiary roads, water and sanitation, electrification, education and sources for generating legal income, as many of those families have been threatened and pressured by illegal armed groups not to engage in legitimate work.”
“‘Colombia Crece’ will allow us to bring productive tools to these communities, with long-term loans, inter-institutional support of the Colombian State and the U.S. government,” he added.
Likewise, President Duque stated that the strategy “is a comprehensive vision: to continue to be tough and forceful with crime and criminal activities but to also be sufficiently aware and supportive of social matters to stimulate fundamental transformations in the communities that need it most.”
Growth in the 21st century
“We are here to launch the next phase in our economic commitment, and it is the Colombia-United States growth initiative. This initiative will focus on key elements to ensure Colombia’s growth in the 21st century, the rule of law, security, infrastructure, rural development and also democracy, ” said National Security Advisor O'Brien. “Today we reaffirm our joint efforts to strengthen the rule of law, governance, improve economic opportunities and also improve road infrastructure and, what is even more important, combat drug trafficking.”
A new Plan Colombia
Meanwhile, Adam Boehler said that the United States has “a very special relationship with Latin America through the DFC … because they are our neighbors, and I think no other country is more special for us than Colombia,” he stressed.
Boehler recalled that Plan Colombia was born two decades ago and pointed out how important it was for the country and for the bilateral relationship.
“Now we are talking about the new Plan Colombia to focus on the economic development and security of Colombia. We are taking aid to the next level,” Boehler concluded.