Cover: Colombian Labyrinth

Colombian Labyrinth

The Synergy of Drugs and Insurgency and Its Implications for Regional Stability

by Angel Rabasa, Peter Chalk


Free Electronic Option

Note: Many electronic documents posted prior to 2003 are available as chapter PDFs or HTML files linked from the Contents.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback128 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

U.S. policy toward Colombia has been driven to a large extent by counter-narcotics considerations, but the evolving situation in that South American country confronts the United States with as much of a national security as a drug policy problem. Colombia is a geostrategically important country, whose trajectory will influence broader trends in the Andean region and beyond. Colombian Labyrinth examines the sources of instability in the country; the objectives, strategy, strengths, and weaknesses of the government, guerrillas, and paramilitaries and the balances among them; and the effects of the current U.S. assistance program. Possible scenarios and futures for Colombia are laid out, with implications for both the United States and neighboring countries. The authors find that instability in Colombia stems from the interaction and synergies of the underground drug economy and armed challenges to the state’s authority. Solutions to the core problem — the weakness of the Colombian State — must focus on resolving the broader set of political-military challenges that result from the convergence of drug trafficking and insurgency. The authors recommend that Colombia’s military and institutional capabilities be improved to enable the Colombian government to regain control of the countryside and that, at the same time, the United States work with Colombia’s neighbors to contain the risk of spillover and regional destabilization.

Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Acknowledgments PDF

  • Acronyms PDF

  • Map PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    The Illegal Drug Trade PDF

  • Chapter Three

    Origins and Development of the Guerrillas PDF

  • Chapter Four

    Guerrilla Strategy PDF

  • Chapter Five

    The Illegal Self-Defense Groups: Cause or Symptom of the Disorder? PDF

  • Chapter Six

    Colombian Government Strategy PDF

  • Chapter Seven

    The Peace Negotiations PDF

  • Chapter Eight

    Colombian Futures PDF

  • Chapter Nine

    A Wider Conflict? PDF

  • Chapter Ten

    Implications for U.S. Interests PDF

  • Appendix

    The Colombian Armed Forces PDF

  • Bibliography PDF

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.