By Virginia Bouvier for The Daily Beast. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and President Barack Obama met at the White House last week to celebrate 15 years of Plan Colombia and in anticipation of a peace deal with Colombia’s largest insurgent group, the FARC, that could be signed by next month.
Before a crowd gathered in the East Wing, Obama announced a new bilateral aid package of $450 million to help secure the peace in Colombia. He’ll forward details of this “Paz Colombia,” the peacetime successor to Plan Colombia, to the U.S. Congress this week. The package could not be more timely.
Four years of peace talks between the Santos government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) have achieved remarkable progress, producing agreements on contentious military and political issues, and addressing the causes of a conflict that has cost nearly a quarter of a million lives, displaced 6 million of the country’s 46 million people, and left 7.8 million registered victims.