Colombia: May 16, 2004


The government continues its aggressive campaign against areas long controlled by the three rebel groups (FARC, AUC and ELN), while still negotiating with these groups for the release of thousands of kidnapping victims being held prisoner. What is hurting the rebel groups the most is the sharp loss of public support. The government has established a very effective informant program that is providing information on the movement of rebel leaders. This is making it possible to arrest senior rebel leaders, and forcing the rebel leadership to sharply restrict their travel. This makes it more difficult to manage their organizations, and further weakens the terrorist organizations. But the government has a long way to go, as the weakened rebel organizations are beginning to break up into dozens, and eventually hundreds, of local criminal gangs. It's still a very violent and lawless country, heavily armed and poorly policed. 


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