Crime, especially kidnappings, are down, and leftist rebel groups FARC and ELN are being torn apart by internal disputes over government amnesty offers. But many of the leftist gunmen want to fight on, and protect their drug business. These men see nothing for them (at least not as lucrative) if they leave their gangster life. Moreover, there is also the risk of prosecution, despite the government amnesty, for their past crimes. They can see this with the moves being made against rightist AUC members who are accepting the government amnesty. While the leftist might expect more lenient treatment from leftist jurists and journalists in Europe (the chief source of war crimes arrest attempts), they are still at risk because of the enormity of their crimes. The Colombians are not particularly happy about foreigners trying to interfere in Colombian internal affairs. But because of the international nature of the drug trade, there are many foreign nations with major beefs against Colombia based drug operations. President Uribes popularity remains high, and he seems likely to get a second term (which required votes to change the constitution).
October 16, 2005: Near the Panama border, several days of fighting left FARC rebels in retreat. The rebels had tried to overrun an army base, but were repulsed, then defeated, by the troops, and reinforcements (including helicopter gunships.) The rebels are trying to show that they are not in terminal decline. But they are.