Colombia’s war cost $2.67B annually: Govt
Jim Glade, Colombia Reports, March 31,2011
The Colombian internal conflict cost the country an average of $2.67 billion each year annually between 1980 and 2005, according to Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry, newspaper El Espectador reported.
With specific reference to Colombia’s fight against guerrilla groups the FARC and the ELN, the minister said that from 1980 to 2005 the government spent $74.9 billion.
The announcement came in Bogota on Thursday at a forum organized by The Economist.
While the majority of the amount stated by Echeverry went into the fight against the two rebel groups, a portion was also oriented toward the combating of narco-trafficking organizations and the fight against paramilitaries, particularly the umbrella group, the AUC, between 1997 and 2006.
The biggest provider of foreign aid in Colombia’s war has historically been the United States, who have reportedly invested $8 billion in assistance over the last 10 years.
Despite the success of former President Alvaro Uribe in reducing the number of fighters in the rebel groups and getting many guerrillas to surrender through incentive programs, the FARC still has a presence in 25 of Colombia’s 32 departments.
Furthermore, though the AUC has now demobilized, many mid-level leaders from the paramiltary groups have moved on to form neo-paramiliatry organizations and criminal gangs with drug traffickers.