“There are voices that are right to say that in certain areas of the country extortion has come back,” said Santos, “or when they say that in certain cities and areas of the country public security has deteriorated, this no one can deny.”
Santos went on to say that his security policy had generated some success, but that it was under a state of “permanent review” in order not to let the country’s guard down.
The president further stated that the actions of Colombia’s revolutionary guerrilla group, the FARC have been using tactics that tend to magnify the apparent severity of the security problem, but admitted that attacks were on the rise.
“The FARC plant explosives to cause the most amount of damage possible and run,” said Santos. “The media then report that there was a an explosion in this part (of the country), which gives the feeling that things are worse than they really are. I say this without wishing to deny that the number of attacks has increased and we must be more careful to avoid them.”
The president delivered his remarks after a new report found that FARC attacks have increased 10% so far this year. The same report stated that FARC attacks have increased at the same rate since 2009 before Santos took office and that the rise this year could not be assigned to a change of government or military policies.
Both Santos and last week’s report commented on the new hit-and-run tactics employed by the FARC. Santos has argued many times that the new tactics are a sign of weakness. “They pass on a motorbike and throw a grenade or launch a mortar and go running,” said Santos. “They do this, because for the first time the security forces have entered the lair of the FARC.”
The report disagreed, noting that hit-and-run attacks have increased, not diminished, indicating an increase in strength.
Government forces continue to pursue the FARC in the mountainous center of the country, in the north near Venezuela, and in the southern jungles.