Colombia: September 1, 2004


In the first eight months of the year, the army and police have conducted a dozen campaigns against rebel groups. As a result, the FARC, ELN and AUC rebels have suffered over 1,500 dead and 5,782 of their members arrested. Some 59 percent of the dead rebels were from FARC, although only 28 percent of those arrested were FARC. These military operations have been made possible by increased spending, and larger numbers of troops. At the end of 2003, the army had 279,000 troops. By the end of 2004, there will be 360,000. American trainers and new weapons and equipment have made the troops much more effective. Meanwhile, the rebels have been dismayed, and rendered less effective, by a major shift in public opinion. Most Colombians are now opposed to the rebels and their causes (whether right or left wing.) The people want peace, and are willing to support the army and police in order to get it.


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