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Cablegate: Gains of Police Reestablishment Program Jeopardized By

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #3728/01 2832117
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 092117Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5041
INFO RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS BOGOTA 003728

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR INL/LP
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/AND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PREL PGOV CO
SUBJECT: GAINS OF POLICE REESTABLISHMENT PROGRAM JEOPARDIZED BY
UNCERTAIN FUNDING

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SUMMARY
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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Since its inception six years ago, the
Reestablishment of Police Presence in Conflictive Zones program has
achieved impressive successes in restoring government control
throughout rural Colombia. This program has also begun to play a
major role in other high-priority missions, including manual
eradication security, narcotics interdiction and pursuit of high
value narcoterrorist targets. Sustained USG support remains a key
enabler to this program. However, the zeroing-out of USG support to
this program in FY08, and an uncertain USG funding future,
undermines ongoing efforts to gradually shift USG-GOC
responsibilities as part of our sustainable nationalization strategy
and places this program's continued success at risk. END SUMMARY.

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Establishing Permanent Police Presence
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2. (SBU) Prior to the initiation of the Police Reestablishment
program in 2002, there were 158 Colombian counties with no police
presence, and many others in which the police presence amounted to
little more than isolated outposts which were subject to frequent
guerrilla attacks. The Police Reestablishment program, which
consists of both rural municipal police and mobile Carabinero
squadrons (composed of 120-policemen each), has facilitated the
return of a robust Colombian police presence to previously lawless
conflictive zones. In fact, in breaking a historical trend of more
than a decade, insurgents have not successfully overrun any police
base since 2006. Today all of Colombia's 1099 municipalities are
under GOC control and violence nationwide has plummeted. This
police presence has significantly decreased the freedom of movement
of illegal armed groups in these rural zones and set the conditions
for the safe arrival of follow-on GOC social services to meet the
needs of citizens within these largely undeveloped areas.

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Putting Narcos on the Defensive
-------------------------------
3. (SBU) The Police Reestablishment program also plays an increasing
role in GOC antinarcotics efforts. After President Uribe initiated
a national manual eradication campaign in 2006, the FARC retaliated
by launching repetitive attacks and emplacing mines in the coca
fields to drive off manual eradication workers. In response,
Carabinero squadrons were dispatched to help provide security for
these civilian manual eradicators; today fully half of the total
sixty-eight squadrons are engaged in this vital security mission.
Carabinero squadrons have also taken the fight to narcoterrorist
organizations in Colombia. In 2008 alone, these squadrons seized
over nine metric tons of cocaine, 7.5 metric tons of marijuana,
destroyed 36 HcL and base laboratories, captured more than 1135
weapons and over 300,000 rounds of ammunition. Additionally, they
captured a number of high level narcoterrorists, most recently alias
"Memin" in September 2008, who was the leader of the Black Eagles
(in Spanish, Aguilas Negras) criminal band and is currently facing
extradition to the U.S. Although these types of emerging missions
were not part of the original Police Reestablishment charter, they
reflect some of the beneficial by-products of this program.

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Underfunding Success
--------------------
4. (SBU) Sustained USG support to the Police Reestablishment program
has been a key enabler to GOC efforts to develop this program so
well and so quickly. USG funding has totaled $91.6M USD since 2002,
and averaged between $13M and $19M annually during fiscal years
2004-2007. This USG funding was essential to the expeditious
equipping and training of the thousands of policemen in the program,
as well as in providing continuous operational support. In FY 2008,
though, this USG funding was reduced to zero and since then NAS has
attempted to stretch remaining program funds by reducing or
eliminating several initiatives, such as the establishment of a long
range communications network and base security upgrades. Despite
this reduced burn-rate, we anticipate our remaining Police
Reestablishment program funds to be exhausted by late 2009.

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Comment
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5. (SBU) COMMENT: NAS efforts to transition costs from the USG to
GOC as part of the sustainable nationalization process are
contingent on a gradual shift of responsibilities over a multi-year

period. The unexpected zeroing-out of USG support to the Police
Reestablishment program, particularly given its recent assumption of
several additional - and costly - antinarcotics missions,
complicates our ability to provide needed assistance today and
jeopardizes our ability to ensure a gradual transition of
responsibilities in the future. In the absence of such a glide
path, the potential for a major disruption to the program's rural
security and antinarcotics missions is all but certain.

6. (SBU) COMMENT (Continued): The Police Reestablishment program
has enabled the extension of the Rule of Law throughout rural
Colombia and set the stage for social and economic development and
the delivery of justice. The expansion of the program into
antinarcotics work is both important to the USG and a positive
derivative of the program's original intent. Future USG funding of
this program will help ensure its continued success in all mission
areas; the alternative would result in an unlikely GOC ability to
single-handedly maintain the program at its current level of
effectiveness. END COMMENT.

BROWNFIELD

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