Drug Control:

U.S.-Supported Efforts in Colombia and Bolivia

NSIAD-89-24: Published: Nov 1, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 1988.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO evaluated the scope, purpose, and effectiveness of U.S. narcotics control efforts in Colombia and Bolivia.

GAO found that U.S.-supported crop control, enforcement, and interdiction efforts in Colombia and Bolivia have not produced major reductions in coca and marijuana production and trafficking, and it is questionable whether the efforts will achieve major reductions in the near future. GAO found that Colombia's large-scale efforts have had little effect due to the: (1) unprecedented level of violence associated with narcotics control; (2) lack of an enforceable extradition treaty with the United States for narcotics offenses; (3) general reluctance of the Colombian military forces to become involved in narcotics enforcement; and (4) lack of safe and effective means of chemically eradicating coca. GAO also found that Bolivia's efforts have had little effect due to: (1) the lack of clear legislation in Bolivia outlawing coca cultivation and supporting government control and eradication programs; (2) an inexperienced and ineffective special narcotics police force; (3) limited Bolivian government funding for program objectives; and (4) generalized corruption. In addition, GAO found that the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics Matters (INM): (1) did not systematically evaluate program and project performance to assess progress against established goals and objectives or to redirect activities; and (2) does not have guidelines which clearly establish the responsibility for ensuring that INM units perform evaluations. GAO also found that the Agency for International Development's development and narcotics awareness programs in Bolivia have not been effective due to the unwillingness or inability of the Bolivian government to introduce and implement effective coca control and enforcement measures.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An automated inventory management system is in operation. Colombian inventory computers are linked to the Embassy.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters to improve aircraft spare parts inventory management policies and procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Department of State, the survey of maintenance and logistics requirements has been completed and the Colombians have now adopted internationally recognized aircraft maintenance standards.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters to encourage Colombian officials to establish aircraft maintenance standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A computerized flight tracking system is in operation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters to increase U.S. monitoring of marijuana eradication activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A U.S. procurement specialist was added to the staff and now directs U.S. purchases in Bolivia. Procedures for monitoring and accounting for cash advances for all INM posts have been issued. A copy is being retained in the NSIAD job file.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters should initiate a review of procedures for accounting for cash advances and ensure that proper control of advances are instituted and maintained.

    Agency Affected: Department of State: Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An evaluation plan for 1992 was established and 12 evaluations have been conducted. The evaluation plan for fiscal year 1993 also calls for 12 evaluations. The agency is in the process of hiring additional staff to increase evaluation efforts.

    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters should: (1) issue clear guidelines on the responsibility for conducting program and project evaluations; (2) establish an evaluation schedule; and (3) establish procedures to ensure that scheduled evaluations are performed.

    Agency Affected: Department of State: Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Under the President's Andean Initiative, the United States is providing Bolivia with increased drug-related assistance. On May 9, 1990, the United States and Bolivia signed a series of bilateral narcotics control agreements. One of them outlines increased Bolivian participation in the war on drugs.

    Recommendation: To obtain greater participation in the narcotics control effort, the Secretary of State should encourage the government of Bolivia to: (1) improve the effectiveness of Bolivia's narcotics special police force; and (2) provide additional support for narcotics interdiction and enforcement activities. Such support does not have to be strictly financial, because several requirements for in-kind logistical support can be provided by elements of the government of Bolivia at little or no additional cost.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State and Columbia conducted an extensive aerial reconnaissance effort in 1989. State has encouraged Columbia to conduct additional spraying against marijuana. Colombia has adopted internationally recognized aircraft maintenance standards, and has initiated an all out campaign against narcotics traffickers.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters to: (1) ensure that eradication aircraft are used during the entire day and to spray early in the marijuana growing cycle; (2) increase U.S. monitoring of marijuana eradication activities; (3) encourage Colombian officials to establish aircraft maintenance standards; (4) improve aircraft spare parts inventory management policies and procedures; and (5) request the government of Colombia to use all of its resources, including its military force, more effectively in the fight against drug production and trafficking.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In August 1989, the President of Colombia initiated an all out campaign against narcotics traffickers. This has included the mobilization of all of Colombia's resources and the provision of $65 million in emergency military assistance by the United States.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should instruct the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters to request the government of Colombia to use all of its resources, including its military force, more effectively in the fight against drug production and trafficking.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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