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A Cautionary Tale

Title: A Cautionary Tale

In A Cautionary Tale, we seek to draw human rights and strategic lessons from a dozen years of U.S. policy towards Colombia that are relevant for U.S. policy toward Mexico and beyond. They include a reminder that the United States must first “clean its own house,” showing the political courage necessary to take on the U.S.-based drug demand, arms trafficking, and money laundering that do Mexico, Colombia, and Central America so much harm. We call for a strategy that, instead of relying overwhelmingly on militaries, helps partner countries strengthen their civilian capacities, particularly those of dysfunctional justice systems. Policymakers are sometimes tempted to discuss solutions to Mexico’s out-of-control violence by bringing up Colombia as a “model.” In A Cautionary Tale we explain why we must learn from, not repeat the mistakes of Plan Colombia.

Year: 2011

Author: Latin America Working Group Education Fund, Center for International Policy, and Washington Office on Latin America