Pentagon Prepares to Send More Troops to Colombia

October 29, 2004

The new Defense bill for fiscal 2005 authorizes a doubling of the official number of U.S. military personnel deployed in Colombia from 400 to 800. It also raises by 50% (from 400 to 600) the number of private U.S. mercenaries allowed. The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 359 to 14 in the House of Representatives.

For several years now, the U.S. has been steadily escalating a counter-insurgency against the popular movements of the Colombian people. The U.S. military personnel in the country not only train the Colombian army, including elite counter-insurgency forces and paramilitary death squads. U.S. "advisers" have repeatedly engaged in reconnaissance and combat missions. In fact, unofficial estimates place the real number of U.S. military personnel, including mercenaries, in the thousands.

In addition, since 2000 the U.S. government has provided about $3 billion in military aid to equip the Colombian army.