Colombia’s Defense Ministry claims that the number of members of drug-funded armed groups decreased by more than 85% in the past eight years.
In a press release Friday evening, the ministry said that “at the beginning of this government terrorist groups had approximately 60,000 members. Today, they have no more than 8,000.”
According to the ministry, the demobilization of the AUC and the dismantling of the Bogota-based Antonio Nariño bloc of the FARC were the mayor security successes of the two governments of Alvaro Uribe, who took office in 2002 and will leave office in August this year.
Apart from being successful fighting guerrillas and paramilitary groups, the government claims to have made progress in general crime rates.
“In every single one of the eight years there has been a diminishing of homicides,” the press release said. According to the government figures the murder rate went from 66 per 100,000 in 2002 to 32 per 100,000 in 2009. Despite soaring violence in Colombia’s major cities, the ministry claims that also in the first three months of 2010 the murder rate was lower than in the same period in 2009.
Ever since taking office in 2002, Uribe’s policy was mainly focused on public security following failed peace talks with the FARC by the preceeding administration and ongoing human rights violations by paramilitary groups.