Colombia: The Other Iraq

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January5, 2007: Murders in 2006 (17,206) were down three percent from 2005. That's a twenty year low. Kidnappings (200), were down 39 percent from the previous year. However, the murder rate is one of the highest in the world (43 per 100,000 population.) Iraq's murder rate last year was 51, but got a lot more coverage in the media. That's because the carnage in Colombia has been going on for decades, and long since ceased to be "news." The murder rate in the United States last year was 4.8.

January 1, 2007: Over the weekend, FARC rebels made good threats against local officials in the northwest, and killed four of them. The war of terror continues in the countryside, and FARC isn't always the loser. With the AUC distracted by its amnesty deal with the government (and AUC officials attempts to silence witnesses willing to testify about AUC crimes), the war is now largely between the army and FARC. In most cases, FARC loses, as troops clear out base camps and set up shop in rural towns where FARC had long held sway. Now every exciting, but the way this war is fought.

December 30, 2006: Urban (the 13 largest cities) unemployment was down to 11.3 percent, versus 12.1 percent a year ago. Economic growth, especially in the cities, is one way to track who is winning the war in Colombia.

 

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