A web presentation from the Washington Office on Latin America

WOLA logo 15th Anniversary of Plan Colombia: Learning from its Successes and Failures

Return to main page

The Guerrillas’ Horrific Record

Paramilitary groups, often with tacit or active support from Colombia’s military, committed the majority of murders, massacres, and forced displacement during the Plan Colombia years. But the guerrillas’ record is similarly atrocious. The FARC and ELN committed roughly 20-25 percent of these crimes, plus the majority of kidnappings, indiscriminate bombings of populated areas, attacks on infrastructure, laying of antipersonnel mines, and recruitment of children.

Crimes like the destruction of La Machuca, Antioquia (1998) and Boyajá, Chocó (2002); the car-bombing of the El Nogal social club in Bogotá (2003); and the kidnapping of countless citizens, many of whom were never heard from again, explain why Colombia’s guerrilla groups are so deeply unpopular today, even among the poor and excluded populations they claim to defend.

Guerrillas were responsible or about 25.9 percent of civilian killings 2002-2009. Graphics indicate their role in indiscriminate bombings, anti-personnel mines, child recruitment, and kidnapping, and their very low standing in Colombian opinion polls.

Return to main page