In the last three years, the government has demobilized some 38,000
rebels (of various political persuasions). The result has been a sharp drop in
murder and kidnapping rates, and a building and economic boom in many parts of
the country (both urban and rural). The armed forces have grown by a third,
from 181,000 to 247,000, in the same time. Training, leadership and
equipment were improved. Colombia is still a violent place, but it has become a
lot less violent than it was, and than other areas in South America still are.
1, 2006: In the north, several hundred FARC rebels attacked a police base,
leaving 17 police, two civilians and eleven rebels dead. FARC is trying to
intimidate the police and army, and stop the relentless patrols and raids that
are shutting down rebel bases of long standing (sometimes they are decades
old.) Until FARC is defeated, or agrees to a peace deal, the low-level war will
go on, as it has for over half a century.