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22/09/2010 | Colombia - Striking back

The Economist Staff

IN RESPONSE to a series of attacks by the FARC guerrillas that killed 40 Colombian police and soldiers, Juan Manuel Santos, the country’s new president, vowed to “intensify the offensive” against the group. He did not wait long before fulfilling his promise. Yesterday, fighter planes staged a pre-dawn air raid on a camp of the FARC’s 48th Front, the same unit blamed for a deadly attack near the Ecuadorean border on September 10th.

 

The site was then stormed by 90 members of the police’s elite “Jungla” commandos. Estimates of the death toll vary: Óscar Naranjo, the national police chief, said that 27 FARC fighters were killed, but the head of the armed forces, Édgar Cely, put the total at up to 60. Among them was Sixto Antonio Cabana Guillén, a high-ranking leader of the group’s southern forces, who was one of its 50 members wanted in the United States on drug-trafficking charges.

Mr Santos ran for president only because his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe, was barred from seeking a third term by the Constitutional Court. So far, he is demonstrating the wisdom of term limits, by continuing Mr Uribe’s aggressive military campaign against the FARC but changing some tactics.

He clearly inherited a potent intelligence service—officials said they learned the camp’s exact location from informants, who will receive $500,000. But he was also bequeathed an organisational structure that occasionally permitted clashes among ministers over security policy. The day before the raid, he established a new National Security Council to coordinate strategy.

Similarly, while Mr Uribe regularly sparred with the leftist governments in neighbouring Venezuela and Ecuador, whom he accused of harbouring the FARC, Mr Santos has sought to engage with them. That seems to be paying off. After the raid, he made sure to thank Ecuador for reinforcing border security so the guerrillas could not flee to the other side. In 2008, Ecuador broke off relations after Mr Uribe ordered the bombing of a FARC camp in Ecuadorean territory, and the two countries have not yet fully restored ties. It remains to be seen, however, how Mr Santos will handle the most controversial elements of his predecessor’s record on security: the army’s human-rights abuses and the transformation of demobilised paramilitaries into criminal gangs.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 


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06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House