Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley

Second Committee Member

Roger Kanet

Third Committee Member

Ambler Moss

Fourth Committee Member

Elvira Maria Restrepo

Fifth Committee Member

Bradford McGuinn


This dissertation analyzes the formation, implementation, and evolution of Plan Colombia from 2000 to 2012. This work is an examination of U.S. foreign policy towards Colombia and uses theories and methods from International Relations Theory and Comparative Politics. This project answers the following questions: 1) Why did the U.S. pass Plan Colombia after de-ceritifying the country three years in a row; 2) What was Plan Colombia for Pastrana, and what was Plan Colombia for Clinton; 3) How did the goals of Plan Colombia change after the events of 9/11 and the inauguration of Alvaro Uribe; 4) Has Plan Colombia achieved its goals?; 5) Where is Plan Colombia today?; 6) What are the lessons of Plan Colombia? In sum, this work is divided into four puzzles or periods to examine the critical junctures or moments of Plan Colombia. While this work is a single-case study, it has broader lessons for other countries.


drug trafficking; security; Plan Colombia; Colombia; Latin American Politics