A government report on the demobilization and reintegration of guerrillas and paramilitaries shows that of the 50,000 demobilized fighters, only 5,000 were able to find a job, and 10,000 returned to illegal armed groups.
The 35,000 former fighters who laid down their weapons but did not find a job or return to a life of violence are unemployed and living off government subsidies, the National Commission on Reparation and Reconciliation admitted Monday.
According to the national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) coordinator, the disappointing figures are the fault of indifference in the private sector, which has failed to provide employment to those who abandoned their life in Colombia’s decades-long violent conflict.
The rearmament is most critical in the Caribbean departments Cordoba, Magdalena, Guajira, and Cesar, where 2,200 demobilized paramilitaries reportedly took up arms and joined groups that are fighting for control of the northern drug routes.
Violence in these regions, as well as in Colombia’s largest cities, has risen over the past two years following the extradition of the leaders of demobilized paramilitary organization AUC. With the former leaders jailed in the U.S., members of the organization still at large are fighting over who will inherit the multi-million drug trade.