Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | September 27, 2011

New Security Challenges for Santos

President Santos recently visited the luscious mountains of Marquetalia where in May 1964 the government’s most agile soldiers gunned down a community of impoverished Communist peasants. The Communists were a threat to the U.S., and Colombia was already a big U.S. ally. Following the attack, the Communists gathered forces and became the FARC. (Read a post about the FARC’s first days here.)

Santos said he was the first president to visit Marquetalia thanks to the security advances made in the last few years. Santos recently appointed a new defense minister, Juan Carlos Pinzón, and asked him to give “the final kick to the FARC.”

The Santos government has created the Center for Fusion of Intelligence of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and its main aim is to increase co-operation between different institutions and authorities. In the past, intelligence agencies have resisted to share information and have acted as rivals. The government will buy new intelligence equipment, as well as airplanes and cars for the troops. Police presence will increase with 20,000 new men in the cities.

The goal is to disarm the new generation of narco-paramilitary bands, known as Bacrim, or “Bandas Criminales,” and to reduce the production of cocaine by 2014. By 2025, it is hoped Colombia’s homicide rate will equal that of developed countries; this means reducing homicide, kidnapping, extortion, and land pirating by 50 percent.

An additional $1.5 billion pesos will be added to the already $5.7 billion pesos alloted to this. The money comes from taxes, and taxes will increase for the top tier.

Estimates place the FARC’s number at 8,000. Only one-third of the FARC are uniformed and heavily armed guerrilla fighters. The rest operate in civilian clothing and hide amongst the civilian population. The FARC have declared a truce with the ELN and are allying with the Bacrim, not only against the government but for the drug trade.

Since 2008, the guerrillas and the Bacrims have stepped up their actions, and in certain parts of the country, like Arauca, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño, and Vichada, they have retaken some control from the security forces. In at least 11 of the Colombia’s 32 departments, the Bacrims known as Rastrorojos and Urabeños are working with the guerrillas in the interests of the drug trade.


  1. hello,

    The insight crime-director in question said they have 8,000 guerrilleros and 30,000 milicianos.,8599,2082791,00.html

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