How military actions affected citizen security during Plan Colombia
Bruneau, Thomas C.
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This thesis examines the effects on citizen security caused by the Colombian military’s actions during Plan Colombia and its successor plans. Military actions are often evaluated according to their effect on state security, but the concern of this thesis is whether or not the advantages of military security actions outweighed the costs for Colombian citizens. The military benefited citizens by weakening the insurgency and increasing state presence across Colombia’s territory, but the military’s involvement also incurred costs, including human rights abuses and large numbers of internally displaced persons. Considerable disagreement exists over the final value of the military’s involvement, as it does over many aspects of Plan Colombia. This thesis seeks to add some clarity to the debate, with a focus on military operations’ effects on civilians’ lives, while also asking what the Colombian experience can teach the United States (and other countries) about counterinsurgency. Overall, this thesis finds that the use of the Colombian military during Plan Colombia improved citizen security, and furthermore that the United States played a positive role in this outcome.
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