chapter  7
75 Pages

Violence, Terrorism, and Guerrilla Warfare in the Mid-1980s

WithJorge P. Osterling

This chapter discusses the various aspects of violence in contemporary Colombia. It begins with a rough estimate of the number of people murdered in 1986. The chapter explores and analyzes the various types of violence and several hypotheses about the reasons for them. Violence, of course, is not unique to Colombia. Other nations also suffer from high rates of common crime, from guerrilla activity, and from narcotics-related violence. Violence in modern Colombia takes many forms; in broad outline, the three major categories are crime, guerrilla activities (warfare and terrorism), and the brutal acts often committed by narcotics traffickers. It is extremely hard to provide exact figures on the magnitude, type, and rural/urban location of violence in contemporary Colombia. Among other problems, the difficulty in measuring the amount of violence stems from the fact that the primary source of information is the media and for various reasons, not all violent incidents are fully and comprehensively reported.