Selective Listening: Why U.S. Policymakers De-Securitized Colombia's Internal Displacement Crisis
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This thesis examines the U.S. foreign policy known as “Plan Colombia” and asks why it has not allocated greater resources toward Colombia’s decades-long internal displacement crisis. By analyzing primary sources connected to the policy such as White House press releases and speeches from State Department officials, and comparing them with the apportionment of congressional funding for Plan Colombia, I identified significant discrepancies between the official statements regarding internal displacement and the types and quantities of aid given to Colombia by the United States. I employed interviews with policy experts, humanitarian advocates, and NGO workers to add depth to my own understanding of Plan Colombia and its constitutive elements. Looking through a lens of Securitization Theory, my research suggests that U.S. policymakers habitually avoid any substantial commitment to helping Colombia solve its internal displacement crisis because doing so would obligate the United States to prefer a humanitarian-focused relationship with Colombia rather than maintain its long-standing and mutually reinforcing emphasis on state security.