The situation in Colombia is terrifying. Political violence has produced ten deaths a day for a whole decade. Nearly a hundred municipalities are ghost towns, having been devastated by left-wing guerrillas. In 1998 alone there were almost two hundred massacres with 1,231 defenceless victims.
The majority of these were committed by right-wing paramilitaries operating with the support of state security forces, many large landowners and some local political bosses. The political disappeared number around 4,000.
Between January 1998 and last September, there were about 3,000 kidnappings. These were mostly carried out by guerrillas, paramilitaries, criminal gangs and even by police and military personnel. More than a quarter of a million people have been murdered in the 1990s. In the same period, some 300,000 Colombians opted to leave their country. Since the late 1980s, more than a million and a half people have been internally displaced or become refugees.