The Nation on USAID, Plan Colombia and Burlington-based ARD | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It
Favorite

The Nation on USAID, Plan Colombia and Burlington-based ARD 

About six months ago, I got a phone call from a reporter who claimed he was calling from Colombia. I automatically assumed he meant the institution of higher learning in upper Manhattan.

"Columbia University?" I asked.

"No, Colombia the country," he replied, without a hint of condescension.

The man was looking for some background info on ARD, an international development firm headquartered on Bank Street in downtown Burlington. (Former Mayor Peter Clavelle took a job there after his unsuccessful bid for governor.) Why call Seven Days? In 2007, I'd written a short piece about ARD after it was bought out by a much larger firm, Tetra Tech, of Pasadena, California, which has close ties to the U.S. military.

The reporter, whom I can only assume now was Teo Ballvé, said he was working on an investigative piece for the Nation about Plan Colombia and ARD's work in that country. He asked me about a half-dozen questions about ARD and its Burlington offices — none of which seemed particularly relevant to international narco-trafficking — then thanked me for my time and said he'd email me the story when it came out.

I never heard back from him and assumed he'd lost my email address, the story had been killed or he'd been. (Hey,drug traffickers don't waste their time sending nasty emails to your editors when you piss them off.)

This morning, Ballvé forwarded me a link to this week's story in the Nation, "The Dark Side of Plan Colombia". In it, he alleges that USAID grant money, channeled through firms such as ARD, "appears to have put drug war dollars in the hands of a confessed narco-paramilitary and two accused paramilitary-linked drug traffickers," a possible violation of federal law. 

Clearly, a lot of time and research went into this story. Give it a read, and let us know what you think.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Tags: ,

Pin It
Favorite

More by Ken Picard

About The Author

Ken Picard

Ken Picard

Bio:
Ken Picard has been a Seven Days staff writer since 2002. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Vermont Press Association's 2005 Mavis Doyle award, a general excellence prize for reporters.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Recent Comments

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation