Despite revelations that the government was cooperating with the AUC
rebels (who were formed to rebel against leftist groups like FARC and ELN), the
government maintains its popularity. The AUC connections were always an open
secret anyway. Opinion polls give president Uribe a 73 percent approval rating
(it was 77 percent last year, and 65 percent in 2003). The main reason for this
is that the crime and death rates continue to come down, and the economy
improves. Economic growth last year was up seven percent over the previous
government plan; of training effective police and army units, and sending them
after rebel controlled areas, is dull stuff. But it works. The rebels are
reduced, in terms of territory controlled, manpower and income, month by month.
Since the rebels sustained themselves by terrorizing civilians, when the rebels
are gone, people are free to move about and take care of business. The economy
flourishes as a result. Not flashy, but it works.