Colombia

Promised US aid for peace in Colombia not mentioned in Trump budget proposal

With not one mention of Colombia in the budget proposal of President Donald Trump, the US government continues to leave its South American ally in the dark about whether it can count on any of the promised American support for an ongoing peace process.

While the $450 million promised by Obama was nowhere to be found in the budget, the Trump administration did announce it wanted to cut support for UN-led peacekeeping missions while ramping up its military spending with a staggering $54 billion.

The budget blueprint is likely to see major rewrite in the Congress. However, Trump has made it clear that he intends to reduce financing for diplomacy and eliminate financing for international organizations whose missions are not directly beneficial to US interests.

The US president told his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos in February he would “personally” take charge of aid for Colombia, after which the promised aid was left out of his budget.

WOLA, a Washington-based think tank on the US relations with the rest of the Americas, fiercely rejected the proposal.

“This budget plan, if enacted, would have disastrous results. By increasing military spending by $54 billion while cutting spending on civilian diplomacy and assistance, the Trump administration is militarizing foreign aid,” said Adam Isacson, WOLA’s Senior Associate on Defense Oversight and an expert on US relations with Colombia.

The potential breaking of the promise to support peace in Colombia particularly concerned the non-government organization.

“The United States has built important relationships and made vital commitments to allies in Colombia, Mexico, and elsewhere, which should be honored,” said WOLA Program Director Geoff Thale.

The White House proposed to cut funding for the State Department and…

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