United States social reformist Henry Ward Beecher once said “A man that has lost moral sense is like a man in battle with both of his legs shot off: he has nothing to stand on.” It is because my partner and I believe that we need a moral leg to stand on when it comes to the welfare of the Colombian people that we must stand in the firmest affirmation of the Resolved: The United States should end Plan Colombia. When looking at this resolution the affirmative offers the following definition for Plan Colombia: Plan Colombia is the name of a United States military and diplomatic aid initiative aimed at combating Colombian drug cartels and insurgent groups in Colombian territory. When looking at this issue, the affirmative must look at how the effects of the plan are detrimental to our morals and logic.
Contention 1: Plan Colombia has not been effective. Although the United States has already pumped $10 Billion into the plan, Colombia is still leading the world in coca productions. From The Washington Post: “Just two years after it ceased to be the world’s largest producer, falling behind Peru, Colombia now grows more illegal coca than Peru and third-place Bolivia combined. [...] Cocaine consumption in the United States fell in the past decade while methamphetamine and heroin use soared. But a glut of cheap product could bring a new cocaine rush.” Which means that not only has the United States been wasting its money and military troops on a plan that has not halted coca production, but it’s also making cocaine much cheaper and just as accessible to our own citizens as before. Therefore, it isn’t benefitting the US or Colombia.
Contention 2: The plan is doing very little nowadays to halt coca production. In past years, the main course of action that was being taken to slow the coca supply was the herbicide of coca fields, which was found to be ineffective, harmful to the crop of regular food farmers, and has recently been suspended. Now,The government has said it will focus its fight against drugs on manual eradication, alternative development programmes and voluntary eradication, without giving any sort of plan to carry this out. Seems kind of vague, right? That's because it is. Plan Colombia’s objectives and strategies are in a sort of grey area at the moment, and since the cocaine production is still at its peak without many measures being taken to fix this, the plan ends up being kind of obsolete.
Contention 3: U.S. Soldiers have violated many human rights during their Plan Columbia deployments. Colombia Reports revealed that between 2003 and 2007, at least 54 children were sexually abused by U.S. troops, who were not prosecuted because of their immunity granted by clauses in bilateral agreements. In his report, the historian cited a 2004 case in the central Colombian town of Melgar where 53 underage girls were allegedly sexually abused by nearby stationed military contractors “who moreover filmed [the abuse] and sold the films as pornographic material.” While the negative may try to talk down these horrific crimes brought upon the Colombian people by our own, we cannot ignore the facts of the harm we have caused, all for little to no detriments to the country’s coca productions. Since coca productions have not halted or slowed, there is no “greater good” to justify these assaults, and we have a moral obligation to the Colombian people to get rid of the plan to assure we will no longer have these problems.
To conclude, Plan Colombia is a plan that is ineffective for both the United States and Colombia, and therefore every bit of morality and logic should be telling us to get rid of the plan. It is for all of these reasons that I must strongly urge a Pro ballot in today’s debate.
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I'd like to thank my opponent for opening their contentions. I'm moving house at the moment so I have no time to research, and little to write anything, but I'll do my best to fit in the time to do this debate. In this debate I will negate the resolution by demonstrating the alternative - that the US aid to Columbia is a worthwhile investment for the country.
It's important to see this debate in context. The US does not give much money to foreign countries. What it does give, it usually gives in the form of loans which have significant interest attached, along with political conditions. The US government has a much greater interest in helping the US people under the status quo, spending on such areas as social security, defense, healthcare or education. My opponent will agree that Columbia is not in great shape at the moment, while the US is flourishing in relative economic terms. While it is true that the US has isolated instances of poverty and other issues of social and economic justice, these are not caused by a lack of wealth, but rather with who has that wealth and how it is being controlled. Therefore affordability is not an important issue.
Foreign aid is akin to a donation made by private individuals. Its main purpose is not usually the generation of a financial return by the government giving the aid, but rather, altruistic. When Haiti suffered from a great earthquake, the nations of the world lent some support to help those suffering. When central Africa suffered from a famine, support was given. In general, aid is given as a response to a pressing economic or social need to those less fortunate. The main incentive is good global citizenship and knowing that the people (through their elected representatives) have made some difference. Of course there might be other incentives, but this is the main one. In Columbia the disaster is a drug epidemic, similar to any other public health crisis.
In a geopolitical sense, the USA has a particular vested interest in the Latin American countries for three key reasons. First, they are geographically close. Second, they are poor. By investing in Colombian infrastructure and small business you help provide an alternative that allows people to escape the impoverished conditions there, other than smuggling drugs or people into the US. Third, many nearby nations such as Venezuela and Cuba have historically been hostile to the US. By forming positive ties with the local government by supporting the people, it helps ensure some degree of US hegemony in the region.
Let's examine my opponent's contentions briefly. First he claims the plan has done nothing to stop drugs, but his only evidence is relative to other cocaine producers. Of course Columbia produces a lot, but that is not to say the money has been ineffective at destroying crops. If anything, vast spraying of crops with poisons against coca crops has been somewhat too effective. I agree better uses of the money should be investigated, but that does not mean the money has been totally wasted. That my opponent agrees such investigations are taking place (contention 2) bolsters this point.
At the same time it clearly has been effective at reducing cocaine consumption in some way (contention 1), either because the lack of supply raised the price, or because it was easier to import other drugs which are not grown so much in Columbia. Finally he argues children were sexually abused by some of those implementing the program. That's horrible, and they can be prosecuted. I have no idea why that's inherent to the implementation of the plan itself though. Numerous politicians and media personalities have been accused of the exact same crimes - let's avoid shutting down government and media on the same grounds.
For all these reasons, and many more which I wish I had more time to elucidate, the resolution is negated.
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I will start off by attacking my opponents case. He stated that aid to Columbia is helping america, but I have evidence to disprove this.
As of 2013, the US was providing Colombia with more than $310m in annual military and economic aid, according to the Washington Office on Latin America, a significant decline from previous years. But it's still enough to make Colombia the largest recipient of US military aid in Latin America.
The Plan's initial official objective, to reduce by half the amount of cocaine produced in Colombia in the first five years, failed, said Juan Vargas, a professor at the University of Rosario in Bogota who studies Colombia's conflict.
Even after years of spraying and an all-out, horrific war on the cartels, cocaine smuggling was shifted to other Central American organizations.
The plan decreased the amount of Colombian land used in coca cultivation, but the price and purity of drugs on US streets - key figures for measuring the effectiveness of counternarcotics operations - remained virtually unchanged.
In the 1990s, large-scale Colombian crime gangs, including the infamous Medellin and Cali cartels, dominated the world's cocaine market by producing industrial quantities of coca on large plantations and controlling distribution to the US and Europe.
Plan Colombia helped change that, fracturing the large cartels. The biggest beneficiaries of this move, however, were Mexico's vicious gangsters.
In the 1990s, Mexican cartels were hired by Colombian criminals to help move product across the US border. Following the fracturing of Colombian syndicates, Mexican mafias became the dominant criminal forces in the hemisphere, outsourcing production to diffuse groups in Colombia and other South American countries.
The U.S. should realize they are playing a game of whack-a-mole. We spend money and commit vast resources to whack one criminal organization and several more rise to take its place. This evidence shows that our aid to Columbia is not working after all like my opponent wants you to think.
Crisis Group (2016):
Myriad explanations are given for the vote. In areas with higher concentrations of the 52-year armed conflict’s victims and/or higher poverty rates, the “yes” vote tended to be stronger. But commuted sentences without jail for convicted FARC fighters who confess their crimes, even though their liberties would be restricted; a guaranteed ten seats in Congress; and the economic reintegration package for ex-combatants, with livelihood payments for two years, generated a sense, especially in big, formerly conflict-affected cities such as Medellín and Bucaramanga, that members of an illegal armed group would receive overly generous benefits. The fear that the country would “be handed over to FARC” or converted into chavista Venezuela was influential in higher-income brackets.
Despite assurances from both sides the commitment to peace remains, we can be sure for now Plan Colombia will also remain in place. But even if the peace accord was approved, would Colombia's internal strife have ended? There is no reason to believe it would when as the song-writer Glenn Frey proclaimed in his 1984 hit song, Smuggler's Blues, "it's the lure of easy money; it's got a very strong appeal". There are plenty of other militant groups waiting for FARC to move out of the way so they can seize control of the illegal narcotics business.
Even if the FARC totally fulfills its commitment to disarming and leaving behind its illegal activities, there are a plethora of criminal groups that could pick up the slack. Criminal bands, commonly referred to in the county as BACRIM, are active throughout Colombia, and reports indicate that they are salivating at the prospect of assuming the FARC's role in the drug trade.
It is claimed that many of these BACRIM are much more vicious, perhaps more willing to do what it takes to seize control. Further, there is no doubt that many suddenly-unemployed FARC members will join forces with the groups waiting in the wings.
There is also a likelihood that many FARC elements, either dissatisfied with the peace deal or enticed by criminal profits, will remain in the drug trade, consolidating the market share vacated by those FARC groups that do demobilize. A FARC group in remote eastern Colombia has already declared its refusal to disarm.Pro contends that after sixteen years, despite billions of dollars in aid and support, Plan Colombia has failed to yield peace and security in Colombia.
Other FARC members may make the jump to one of Colombia's many criminal organizations, continuing the same activities under new management. Many do already, according to Alcibiades Escue, the mayor of a town in southwest Colombia.
"By day they wear the FARC insignia and by nightfall they've switched to the ELN," Escue told Reuters, only partially in jest.
The crackdown was also accompanied by egregious human rights abuses. Since the plan’s inception, more than 1,000 trade unionists and at least 370 journalists have been killed; at least 400 human rights defenders were murdered, with many more activists tortured, disappeared, kidnapped or detained; and nearly half a million women were subjected to sexual violence from 2001 to 2009.
As international attention shifted to Colombia, it didn't take long for the public to take notice as human rights groups acted to expose the horrible toll of the plan. Remarkably, despite U.S. concerns for human rights, the Colombian government's own security forces were often the target of accusations.
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First I want to apologize for being unavailable for the cross-examination. It's unfortunate and I'll do my best for the following round.
- Most are generally already common knowledge - anyone who has ever seen an atlas knows, for example, that Columbia is geographically near the USA
- The rebuttal is impossibly vague - one could ask for "more evidence" on ANY point, including those raised by side affirmative
- The rebuttal doesn't link well with the nature of the arguments, which is more logical than evidential (for example, the generally altruistic nature of charitable giving), and
- The rebuttal does not directly link with any of the points I raised
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I would 1st like to say that my opponents attacks from when I said that he didn't provide evidence is actually false. When I say that he doesn't provide actual evidence I mean that what he has said about things like foreign aid and investing in Columbia cannot stand cause there is zero evidence. Without evidence his contentions fall even if he wants you to think otherwise. I even asked him for evidence in cross examination. Now I know he said that he wasn't able to answer the question, but he could have simply done it in his last speech and use it against my argument, but since he didn't it's obvious he doesn't have evidence. His arguments on how my arguments are vague is just completely wrong. Since evidence plays a huge part in a debate me attacking is lack of evidence actually shows that his argument is the vague one. He said that since I didn't provide evidence that he doesn't have evidence my argument should fall, but I don't need evidence for the obvious. Obviously also my opponent didn't read my entire argument about drug prices and purity because that isn't actually the point of this contention. The point of this contention is that America is playing Whack-A-Mole. When we hit a group down another arises. We will just be spending more and more money than we will actually have to. He also tried to attack my human rights violation saying there is no correlation by using a analogy that doesn't actually work in this sense. A priest isn't being held to a Plan that states to keep peace in Columbia. Since we have not kept peace in Columbia from evidence that I have stated already that means that Plan Columbia has failed to do what it was meant to do. He again goes attacking my contention about aid in Columbia bringing up that "it is only a small fraction of overall military aid, which is only a small fraction of the US military budget, which is itself only one component of US military expenditures. The average person in the US pays just a few cents to Plan Colombia and that's perfectly affordable." I would really love some evidence to back this up. Without evidence this is just an empty stat that means nothing to this case much like most of your other points. He stated that the peace deal being rejected was fine, but that isn't good at all! It just shows that these groups don't actually want peace. As I have said peace is a huge thing in Plan Columbia and without it Plan Columbia is failing. He said I didn't cite a source for my contention that said the USA has a concern for human rights, but I actually did it was from Carasik. He pretty much skimmed through my case and didn't actually fully read it. You can see this from all the faulty arguments he brought up that don't play a role in this debate. Also as I have stated many time without any evidence his arguments fall. I will now go on to rebuild my case.
Plan Colombia — a massive U.S. military and counter-narcotics aid package to the Colombian government — began in 2000. A decade and a half and $10 billion later, it has had little impact on coca cultivation, cocaine production or the cocaine trade (Colombia is again the world’s leading coca producer). But it has had a devastating impact on Colombia and its people.
Under Plan Colombia, US taxpayer dollars have financed gross and widespread violations of human rights. It has paid for thousands of people murdered, disappeared, tortured, raped. It has forced millions of people to flee their homes - fueling a conflict that has resulted in more internally displaced people than nearly any other. It has funneled monies to paramilitary death squads guilty of some of the conflict’s most heinous atrocities. It has funded Colombian military units guilty of assassinating dissidents, labor leaders, and students in order to silence political opposition and crush social movements. It has paid security forces that murder thousands of civilians and dress them up as guerillas in the so-called “false positive” scandal - which Colombia’s top brass knew about as it happened. It has funded aerial fumigation using toxic chemicals that poison people and environment but fail to make a dent in the drug trade. And it has enriched U.S. military contractors and other drug war profiteers.
I would like to acknowledge my opponents question in CX. I want evidence that shows this aid you are talking about. Just saying that our aid to Columbia isn't much doesn't show any impact without info to back this claim up. This is the type of evidence I would like.
It is for these reasons and many more that I urge a pro vote in this debate.
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I'd like to thank my opponent for his engagement in this debate. This is now the final speech of the debate, therefore, I think it is best to briefly summarize the three key points of the debate and discuss why I've won them.
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