December 31, 2000 |
This nation, which has the dubious distinction of being considered the kidnapping capital of the world, beat its own record in 2000 when the tally rose 7%, police said in a report issued Saturday. This year, a total of 3,162 people were kidnapped in Colombia, police said, up from the 2,959 cases reported in 1999. Police said nearly 60% of the kidnappings were the work of leftist rebels.
August 8, 1999 |
In the last two years, U.S. anti-narcotics aid to Colombia has tripled. But even as Washington has dispatched dollars and soldiers to the drug war, Colombian cocaine cultivation has soared 50%. And authorities in Colombia and the U.S. project that it will increase by that much again in the next two years. Colombia--now the world leader in the cultivation of coca, the raw material for cocaine--is producing more potent plants on more acres than ever before, anti-narcotics officials say.
March 5, 1987 |
There are some days, while the new dead are being counted, when Colombia can seem a nascent Lebanon. A heritage of violence courses through the fabric of this nation of 28 million that will soon overtake Argentina as the most populous Spanish-speaking country in South America. Violence and Colombia are synonyms. Last year there were more than 11,000 homicides in Colombia. That is about seven times the homicide rate in the United States.
May 13, 2001 |
Six years ago, it was the most dangerous road in Colombia. Now, after millions of dollars in repairs, the Highway to the Sea from Colombia's main Pacific port, Buenaventura, to its third-largest city, Cali, is less hazardous--but not by much. Imagine putting the traffic from the Harbor Freeway onto twisting Angeles Crest Highway with one-eyed ambulance drivers behind the wheel. Then throw in the threat of kidnap. That would be a good day.
February 5, 1989 |
The brutal slaying of two judges and 10 judicial employees by a rural death squad in January jolted Colombians with the frightening realization that their country has become a land where the law of the gun prevails. Colombian courts are a shambles. Murder, threats, bribery, inefficiency and under-funding have broken down the justice system, virtually giving legal immunity to growing hordes of killers, drug traffickers and other criminals.
September 25, 1989 |
Violence has become so deeply ingrained in Colombia that a national vocabulary has evolved for the many ways in which its people commit mayhem. Those who study the problem even have their own unique job description: violentologists. Like an unwelcome stranger brought aboard an already overcrowded boat, the violence unleashed by drug trafficking in recent years has brought Colombia close to sinking under the weight of its own bloodshed.