Posted by Tom Heyden on Apr 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Strong FARC presence in nearly 1/3 of Colombia: Congress

Colombia news - farc

A report delivered in the Colombian Congress Thursday warned that over 330 municipalities throughout Colombia are enduring a significant FARC presence, while attacks continue to rise, El Espectador reported.

The House Representative for the northern department of Bolivar, William Garcia Tirado, used the latest figures provided by the Center for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law to announce that about 339 out of Colombia’s 1,099 municipalities, covering 12 departments, are suffering from the actions of the FARC as well as illegal armed groups.

Although the number of affected municipalities has actually been reduced in comparison to the same period last year, Garcia used the same figures to warn of a trend that reflects the growth in murders of mayors, ex-mayors, indigenous people and trade unionists.

The concern is primarily centered around the Caribbean coast departments, vital for the transportation of narcotics, while Garcia also noted there has been an increase in the abduction of citizens and military personnel alongside landmine victims.

“The guerrilla actions have been increasing while [they have been] decreasing the operational capacity of the armed forces, especially in remote districts and municipalities,” he said.

The representative invoked the example of the Bolivar municipality San Juan Nepomuceno, where guerrillas have been detected in the town center, to issue a “call upon the government to put its maximum interest in democratic security, which we enjoyed for eight years [under Alvaro Uribe],” La FM quoted him saying.

He concluded that in these municipalities, there is a feeling of being under siege at the hands of the guerrillas, which appear to be gradually gaining ground.

This latest perspective appears to contradict recent claims made by Admiral Edgar Cely, the commander of Colombia’s armed forces, who stated that the guerrilla groups are “dying.” While he did not ignore the increasing attacks, he instead explained them as a response to their demise.