territory is recovered from FARC and drug gang control, more problems have
developed, as people argue, often with guns, over who owns what. Millions of
Colombians have fled their homes and farms in the past, to get away from the
fighting. Their property was often seized, and sold, without their permission,
by rebels or government bureaucrats. Local officials could be bribed, or
intimidated, to make theft look legit. Now, many owners are returning, and
trying to get their property back. This is leading to increased violence from mobs
of angry farmers and home owners. Untangling the legal mess is proving to be a
major problem, because some of the refugees did sell their property, but are
now having second thoughts.
As the rebels and drug
lords continue to decline, the economy continues to boom. Imports increased 27
percent in August. Most of this is for rebuilding infrastructure and factories,
both long neglected during many years of growing leftist and drug gang
FARC has officially thrown
in its lot with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and his ally, Fidel Castro of Cuba.
The Colombian leftists have no one else, as they continue to lose ground at
home. How much actual help they can get from Chavez remains to be seen.