This ICG report argues that it is paramount that much more decisive action be taken immediately to confront Colombia’s humanitarian crisis. Massive human hardship and suffering has become a constant feature of life as the armed conflict has expanded and intensified.
While the Colombian armed conflict has deep roots in history, increasingly it is fuelled by the inflow of weapons, explosives and chemical precursors and financed by an outflow of drugs.
The first hundred days have come and gone, and Colombians continue to hold high hopes that President Álvaro Uribe will lead the country out of its entrenched crisis by strengthening security and resolving the decades-long civil war.
Alvaro Uribe was inaugurated President of Colombia on 7 August 2002 with a strong electoral mandate to fulfil his pledge to enhance the state’s authority and guarantee security.
Originally published in The Observer
This presidential election (first round on 26 May 2002; second round, if needed, on 16 June) will be crucial for the future of Colombia’s democracy and its struggle against insurgents and paramilitaries, drugs and widespread poverty.
On 10 March 2002, little more than two weeks after the end of the peace process with the insurgent Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC), Colombians elected a new House of Representatives and Senate.
In February 2002, negotiations to end the most dangerous confrontation of Colombia's decades of civil war collapsed. Nearly four years earlier, the newly-inaugurated President Andrés Pastrana had opened talks with the country’s major remaining rebel groups, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), with great enthusiasm and hope. But the fighting never ended while the talks sputtered on, and the country now appears headed for a new round of violence in its cities and against its infrastructure. The international community is concerned about the implications not only for Colombia’s people and its democratic institutions, but also wider regional stability.