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Yesterday, the National Security Archive posted four declassified documents on its website showing that the U.S. government was aware since 1994 of allegations that members of the Colombian military frequently collaborated with paramilitary groups, and killed civilians to present the bodies as dead guerrillas. The documents describe the Colombian military's use of "death squad tactics in their counterinsurgency campaign," and the persistence of "body count mentalities, especially among Colombian army officers...

Violence in Mexico increased substantially during 2008 and it appears that the rise may continue well into 2009, as the Mexican government combats the country's powerful drug cartels. However, as pressure on narcotraffickers increases in both Mexico and Colombia, drug-related violence has seeped into many of the countries' neighbors, a topic that emerged in various media articles across the region this week. According to one article in La Nacion, one of Argentina's top newspapers, the spread of...

Here is our list of the most significant news stories in 2008 relating to U.S. policy and security in Latin America.

March: Colombia bombs a Farc encampment in Ecuador, killing Raul Reyes...

The degree of politicization of the Armed Forces is such that in November, constant insults from a group of people forced the commander of the Armed Forces to leave a restaurant in Santa Cruz.

  • Juan Paredes Castro, El Comercio (Peru), December 5, 2008:
  • ...

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a U.S. government economic-aid program begun during the first years of the Bush administration. It offers several-year "contracts" of aid to countries that meet a list of good governance criteria, then submit and receive approval for aid proposals. (See our MCC aid data here.)

In Latin America, only Honduras ($215 million [PDF]), Nicaragua ($175...

Visitors to the site occasionally ask us why the aid numbers presented here - sometimes including old numbers from past years - change from time to time. The changes are usually not drastic, a few million dollars here or there, but can be frustrating for people seeking to cite definitive numbers, for instance for publications. The answer is simple, though frustrating. The "Just the Facts" website cites only official written sources, but the sources themselves are often inconsistent. This is especially true for the Defense Department's reporting of its own aid programs. Whether because of...

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