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Real change will not come from bulletproof armor, helicopters and tanks but will depend on Colombia’s institutional capabilities and the economic opportunities it can offer its citizens. The U.S. should focus Plan Colombia on improving justice and human rights and pass the FTA to improve economic opportunities for both countries’ citizens. Mr. Obama’s campaign promised change; our regional partners could use some, too.

Shannon O’Neil is a Douglas Dillon fellow and Sebastian Chaskel is a research associate at the Latin American Studies Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.