It's a case of "the cure being worse than the disease" in this documentary about paramilitary forces in Colombia and the terror they have wreaked on the Colombian people for over fifty years.
American Presidents dating back to Teddy Roosevelt have intervened in the affairs of Colombia, striving to prevent the spread of Communism throughout the country in order to stem the reach of Soviet Russia. In doing so they created a paramilitary force that has gone on to integrate the involvement of highly influential powers including US oil corporations and drug lords. According to the statistics shared here, these paramilitary groups are responsible for 60% of Colombian massacres over the last fifty years. Using tactics handed-down from the US military, the groups terrorize civilians to scare them out of supporting leftist guerilla forces. Indiscriminately killing men, women, and children, they slaughter civilians in firefights or with machetes when anyone dare refuse a racket payment.
The US has supported illicit crop eradication through a two-part project titled Plan Colombia, purportedly in an effort to reduce the influence of the drug trade. Part one saw the mass destruction of drug-related crops; however, the sprays being used oftentimes taint standard food crops as well as nearby sources of drinking water. The civilians not being aggressed upon by the paramilitary are instead subjected to the ills that result from ingesting the poisoned water. The measures that have supposedly been taken in the name of democracy instead result in the oppression of an already impoverished populace.
Many Colombians are still waiting for the second half of Plan Colombia, the half that promises of social investment. Coca farmers share their stories, pleading for the United States to stop fighting the drug war in Colombia, where the peasants are punished, and instead keep the battle at home, combating the users and sellers stateside. Many suspect that the purpose of the eradications is to drive out the peasant class, granting the government copious amounts of land to be sold to multinational developers. A country that is ripe with resources, it is a believable theory that strategic eradications could open up profitable pathways for major corporations.
Educational and moving, America's Backyard: Colombia challenges the motivations of the United States in exhibiting influence in Columbia while sharing the history of the region's paramilitary state.