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Backgrounds: Colombia US Relations
In 1822, the United States became one of the first countries to recognize the new republic and to establish a resident diplomatic mission. Today, about 25,000 U.S. citizens are registered with the U.S. embassy as living in Colombia, most of them dual nationals.
Currently, there are about 250 American businesses conducting operations in Colombia. In 1995-96, the United States and Colombia signed important agreements on environmental protection and civil aviation. The two countries have signed agreements on asset sharing and chemical control. In 1997, the United States and Colombia signed an important maritime ship-boarding agreement to allow for search of suspected drug-running vessels.
During the period 1988-96, the United States provided about $765 million in assistance to Colombia. In 1999, U.S. assistance exceeded $200 million. This funding supported Colombia's counter-narcotics efforts, such as arresting drug traffickers, seizing drugs and illegal processing facilities, and eradicating coca and opium poppy.
During the Pastrana administration, relations with the United States improved significantly. The United States responded to the Colombian Government's request for international support for Plan Colombia by approving a $1.3 billion aid package in July 2000, in addition to previously programmed assistance of nearly $300 million for FY 2000. U.S. programs consisted of a combination of military and police assistance designed to increase counter-narcotics capabilities and included a package of nearly $230 million for human rights, humanitarian assistance, alternative development, and economic and judicial reforms. These programs were an integral component of U.S. support for Plan Colombia's overall goals.
U.S. support for Colombia continues to evolve under the Uribe administration. Recognizing that terrorism and the illicit narcotics trade in Colombia are inextricably linked, the U.S. Congress granted new expanded statutory authorities in 2002 making U.S. assistance to Colombia more flexible in order to better support President Uribe's unified campaign against narcotics and terrorism.
Close cooperation continues with passage by the United States of legislation providing about $400 million in additional funding for these programs. Moreover, since the end of the FARC safe haven, the United States has responded to the Colombian Government's request for increased intelligence support, expedited delivery of spare parts paid for by Colombia, and support for counter-narcotics operations in the former demilitarized zone.
U.S. policy toward Colombia supports the Colombian Government's efforts to strengthen its democratic institutions, promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, intensify counter-narcotics efforts, foster socioeconomic development, address immediate humanitarian needs, and end the threats to democracy posed by narcotics trafficking and terrorism. Promoting security, stability, and prosperity in Colombia will continue as long-term American interests in the region.
The U.S. Embassy is located at Calle 22D Bis, No. 47-51, Bogotá (tel: (571) 315-0811; fax: (571) 315-2197). The mailing address is APO AA 34038.
The U.S. Consular Agency in Baranquilla is located at Calle 77, No. 68-15 (tel: (575) 353-0970 or 0974; fax: (575) 353-5216).
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