On February 2, US President Barack Obama requested $288 million USD in funding from Congress to support Colombia. These funds are part of the US national budget for the next fiscal year that runs from October 1 this year until September 30, 2016.
Almost half of the funds will be invested in social and economic programmes, 40 percent will go towards combating the production and trafficking of illegal drugs, and the rest will go to supporting the Colombian Army.
The funding proposal will now go before the US House and Senate for consideration.
US funding for Colombia began in 1996 under the so-called Plan Colombia deal, which was aimed at helping train, equip and fund the Colombian military to fight powerful drug cartels and leftist insurgent groups like the FARC and the ELN.
The funding has been declining over the past nine years and is now 60 percent less than in 2006, when it reached its peak of nearly $700 million USD.
By Mark Kennedy