In January 2000 Army Secretary Caldera ordered a dramatic increase in military aid to Colombia, which has been engaged in an ongoing civil war with revolutionary groups in the country. The civil war had in the year 2000 claimed 30,000 lives since it began in 1964.
Following the announcement of a $1.6 billion emergency anti-narcotics package for the world’s principal cocaine exporting country, Caldera made a trip to Colombia, the first in memory by a Secretary of the Army. He visited the Tres Esquinas military base in Caqueta province, where a new batallion was being trained to fight the guerrillas.
He was accompanied by deputy drug czar Thomas Umberg, who announced that CIA estimates at the time would show a dramatic increase in production of coca in Colombia. The delegation would also travel to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Both of them said the underlying problem was the leftist rebels that allegedly controlled the coca-growing areas in the south.
The aid plan would give Colombia’s government 63 military helicopters, as well as fund training for two new army batallions to fight the guerrillas. There were about 150 U.S. military personnel already in Colombia, many of whom were Green Beret instructors, although Caldera said no U.S. troops were there “operationally.”
Here Caldera shows he is in step with U.S. imperialist military policy, which would directly affect Latin American people already suffering.
Kotler, Jared. “U. S. Army Secretary Says Military Aid to Colombia Will Increase.” Nando Times. http://www.nandotimes.com. January 20, 2000.