House Colombia aid changes to emerge unscathed The “Justice and Peace” process takes a grotesque turn
Jun 222007

Here is a back-of-the envelope calculation of what happened to U.S. aid to Latin America and the Caribbean in the 2008 foreign aid bill (H.R. 2764), as passed yesterday by the House of Representatives. There are some estimates mixed in here, so this is inexact, but I am confident that the margin of error is slim. (The Excel file I used to make these calculations is here.)

The overall grand total does not change much from what the Bush administration asked for. The House bill more or less preserves the White House’s requested across-the-board 5 percent aid cut. The House figure is slightly higher because an amendment yesterday successfully reversed a cut in requested aid to Cuba’s opposition.

Total Aid: Foreign Operations 2006-2007 2008 request 2008 House Increase from 2006-2007 Increase from 2008 request
Military aid total $668,974 $574,111 $432,653 -35% -25%
Economic aid total $1,047,115 $1,043,002 $1,213,737 16% 16%
Grand Total $1,716,088 $1,617,113 $1,646,390 -4% 2%
% Military aid 39% 36% 26%    

The big headline here is a cut in military aid and increase in economic aid, nearly all of it a result of the re-balancing of aid to Colombia. A package that was 39% military aid this year would fall to 26% military aid next year.

We must recall that the foreign-aid bill approved yesterday is not the sole source of aid to Latin America. About $300 million in additional military aid flows through the Defense Department budget. We estimate it as follows:

  • Counter-drug aid: $275 million ($150 million for Colombia);
  • “Section 1206″ equip-and-train authority: $15 million;
  • Counter-Terrorism Fellowship Program: $4 million;
  • Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, Special Forces deployments, Aviation Leadership, and others: $6 million.

Throw in that $300 million in Defense-budget military aid, and the overall regional totals look like this:

Total Aid: Foreign Operations plus Defense 2006-2007 2008 request 2008 House Increase from 2006-2007 Increase from 2008 request
Military aid total $968,974 $874,111 $732,653 -24% -16%
Economic aid total $1,047,115 $1,043,002 $1,213,737 16% 16%
Grand Total $2,016,088 $1,917,113 $1,946,390 -3% 2%
% Military aid 48% 46% 38%    

One Response to “The House reduces, but demilitarizes, Latin America aid”

  1. Legislators at work…. « Relatos Comúnes Says:

    [...] Legislators at work…. The U.S. House of Representatives approved continued funding for Plan Colombia. However the funding was 10% below what the Bush administration had requested and compared to previously funded levels, has increased funding for social programs while reducing the military component of the plan. Details can be found here. [...]

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