Barry Mccaffrey Visits Colombia

July 27, 1999

The United States’ top anti-drug official, Barry McCaffrey, is in Colombia, where a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft crashed during an anti-narcotics operation on Friday. Yesterday, expressing regret at the recent upsurge in the three-decade-old war, which he said had created more refugees than the fighting in Kosovo, McCaffrey described Colombia’s guerrilla war as a serious emergency.

McCaffrey’s visit to Colombia, and the plane crash, raise issues about the extent of U.S. involvement in the guerrilla war. Meanwhile, critics of U.S. foreign policy say that because the old myths of Soviet- and Cuban-inspired communism are no longer functional in the post-Cold War world, new myths have been created. The Colombian government and its allies in Washington, critics say, are resurrecting the theory of the "narcoguerrilla" as a threat to democracy.


  • Winifred Tate, fellow, Washington Office on Latin America.
  • Steve Dudley, freelance journalist who has covered stories for Pacifica, NPR and the BBC.