NGOs Look to Congress to Shift Plan Colombia Aid Toward Social Spending

NGOs Look to Congress to Shift Plan Colombia Aid Toward Social Spending

BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- U.S aid to Colombia, the largest recipient of U.S aid in the Western Hemisphere, is set to pour in at the same levels as in previous years. But with a Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress, the focus of that aid may shift more toward social spending and away from military spending.

In the 2008 budget request, the Bush administration asked for $586 million for Colombia, a slight decrease from $587 million in 2006. The bulk of aid is earmarked for the Colombian armed forces, with 76 percent allocated to counterinsurgency and anti-narcotics operations and the remainder destined for social programs.

Aid requested for Colombia in 2008 is similar in its focus and overall aim compared to the original six-year U.S aid package to Colombia, known as Plan Colombia, implemented during the Clinton administration.

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