Cablegate: January Colombia Strategic Development Intiative Update


DE RUEHBO #0600/01 0481330
R 171328Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A




1. (SBU) The GOC made progress to secure adequate civilian ministry
commitment to the National Consolidation Plan (PNC) but a great
deal of work remains to be done. The Center for the Coordination
of Integrated Action (CCAI) mapped consolidation regions down to
the village level, which should facilitate the important tasks of
creating a plan for permanent citizen security and an operational
plan for each zone. The National Parks director highlighted the
link between security, consolidation, and conservation. The GOC
worked towards sustainability in a program designed to generate
economic opportunities in Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities
in southern Colombia. The GOC is aligning its 2010 manual
eradication strategy with consolidation, but security challenges
(including four possible electoral events this year) will make
objectives difficult to achieve. Three NGOs discussed lack of
awareness of the PNC among civil society and the need for more GOC
outreach. End Summary.

Civilian Ministries Increasingly Engaged


2. (SBU) In January, the GOC made some positive steps forward in
the interagency process, though much work remains to secure
adequate civilian ministry commitments. First, the National
Planning Department (DNP) completed an interagency exercise to
identify the totality of GOC programs in consolidation zones to
understand the various channels that resources could take to
support consolidation. Second, the PNC was presented to the
Council of Ministers, with President Uribe's attendance, on January
27 and deepened interest from several key Ministries including
Transportation, Mines and Energy, and Interior and Justice (though
Agriculture was reportedly "inflexible"). Finally, the CCAI (GOC's
PNC coordinating mechanism) will formalize its Directive Committee
(vice ministerial level PNC coordinating meeting) discussions with
signed minutes.

Mapping Consolidation


3. (U) CCAI has further defined the PNC's geographic area, mapping
each of the government's 101 priority municipalities (counties)
down to the village level and identifying family and population
numbers in each. The mapping exercise should facilitate
identifying key population centers, developing security plans for
territorial control, and creating comprehensive operational plans.

National Parks - Consolidation and Conservation

--------------------------------------------- --

4. (SBU) National Parks, such as the Nudo del Paramillo in the
Northern Band (straddling northern Antioquia and southern Cordoba
departments) and the Macarena and Tinigua (Meta department) in the
Central Band, account for a large portion of the ungoverned spaces
in consolidation zones. Illegal armed groups and homesteaders take
advantage of the lack of state presence to operate and grow coca,
damaging the environment. At a CCAI Directive Committee, Parks

Director Julia Miranda lauded her agency's partnership with the
military and police during the consolidation process to extend
state presence into more parkland and thus protect reserves. As a
continuing challenge, she highlighted the threat to water
conservation efforts in the Nudo del Paramillo posed by four fronts
of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Miranda also
advocated for the Institute for Colombian Rural Development
(INCODER) to advance clarification for titling of fallow lands and
the relocation of homesteaders out of the Macarena parks.

Protecting Investment in Afro-Colombian

and Indigenous Beneficiary Communities


5. (U) Narino Regional Coordination Center (RCC) Civilian
Coordinator Ernesto Moreno has been charged with the priority task
of ensuring the permanent protection of the Productive Ethnic
Territories (TEP) project beneficiary communities in Narino and
Cauca to guarantee the sustainability of that investment. The TEP
program was designed to generate economic opportunities for
Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations in southwestern Colombia
(e.g., Narino, Cauca and Valle del Cauca).

GOC Aligning 2010 Manual Eradication

Strategy with Consolidation


6. (SBU) Accion Social has focused its 2010 manual eradication
strategy on consolidation zones. The three top priorities will be
the Nudo del Paramillo (in the newly activated CSDI Northern Band),
the Plan for the Integrated Consolidation of the Macarena (PCIM)
region, and western Antioquia. Accion Social officials noted that
the goal is zero coca in the first two zones and the rest of the
country's coca efforts would focus on containing cultivation. A
pilot program in the Nudo del Paramillo will integrate manual
eradication with food subsidies and alternative development
opportunities for coca farmers. CSDI will be following this pilot
closely to monitor its success and to what extent it integrates
into the GOC's consolidation plans for this strategic region. The
conflict between the "race for hectares eradicated" and territory
consolidated still needs to be fully resolved, and the GOC has once
more set an ambitious 70,000 hectare goal for manual eradication in
2010. This may mean that manual eradicators are directed towards
areas where they can quickly boost their numbers instead of
concentrating activity in places where social and economic programs
can be jointly implemented.

7. (SBU) Ministry of Defense officials noted that total control of
coca cultivation in the Nudo del Paramillo region would be
challenging since security resources for manual eradication teams
will be stretched thin this year given the possibility of four
national elections (congressional, referendum, and up to two
presidential rounds). Adding to the difficulty were dangerous
security conditions in coca cultivation zones including active
combQ and the employment of mines in coca fields. Local
commanders in northern Antioquia emphasized the security challenge
by noting that 640 mines were seized in the area in one week and
that the 25th Mobile Brigade had suffered dozens of injuries from
landmine and IED-related incidents, many resulting in amputations,
over the last year.

NGOs Discuss Lack of Outreach


8. (SBU) In a meeting with international donors on January 19,
Gloria Florez of MINGA, Nancy Sanchez of INDEPAZ, and Father Rafael
Castillo of the Development and Peace Network Foundation of Montes
de Maria discussed Colombian civil society's lack of PNC
understanding and its need to enter the PNC discussion. Florez
cited a lack of dialogue when the GOC chose its priority zones and
established RCCs. Castillo added that Montes de Maria communities
do not understand why only four of the fifteen municipalities were
initially targeted. He acknowledged that the written plan
stipulates that consolidation efforts will spread to the other
eleven municipalities over time but noted this was not well
understood. Sanchez explained that there was an overall lack of
understanding in communities about the PNC structure, objectives
and implementation as well as little transparency about incoming
resources. Castillo said that as written, there is nothing wrong
with PNC concepts but he has not seen them implemented or explained
in practice. All three agreed that there is no access to
information and more outreach is needed to NGOs.

CSDI Training Judicial First Responders


9. (U) NAS sponsored judicial first-responder training to 100 local
police and military personnel in Tumaco in December. This training
improves local authorities' crime scene management and evidence
collection skills. As many criminal cases in Colombia cannot be
built due to poor first-responder work, the police and prosecutors
believe that such training will increase criminal cases brought to
court. This training is also taking place in CSDI Central and
Northern bands from February to April.

© Scoop Media

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