Colombia
"The dynamics of war is still present in Colombia"
LPO spoke with Defense Expert Erich Saumeth about the situation of violence in Colombia following the attack to President Ivan Duque's helicopter.

The helicopter that was taking Ivan Duque to Cucuta was shot in an area with a strong presence of the illegal groups.

The head of state travelled with Interior Minister Daniel Palacios, Defense Minister Diego Molano, and Norte de Santander Governor Silvano Serrano Guerrero.

The context in which these events took place ranging from tension and accusations against the government for not respecting the peace process with the FARC, the reactivation of guerrilla and paramilitary groups, and protests that have been taking place for two months against Duque's policies.

In this context, the questions that arise are whether the attack was against the president, and who was responsible for deciding on executing the plan.

LPO spoke with Colombian Defense and Security specialist Erich Saumeth, who explained that "in Colombia, there are five generators of violence and terror that are dedicated, among other things, to drug trafficking as their main source of financing. They are The Clan of the Gulf, the remnants of the Caparros who were the dissidents of the clan, the National Liberation Army, with influence in the area where the incident occurred, the FARC dissidents (those who never demobilized), and the recurrent members, those who demobilized and returned to war."

"They process some 1,200 tons of cocaine, while they have been losing 45-50 percent of that drug due to seizures. Of that total, they place 20 percent in the market amid the dynamics of violence, insecurity and lack of citizen cooperation," added the expert.

Saumeth added that "70 percent of the cocaine produced are concentrated in five regions: Putumayo, Caqueta, Narino, Cauca and Norte de Santander, on the border with Arauca, a historical stronghold of the ELN.

"Despite having gone through a peace process, we live in an internal conflict with its own peculiarities, which indicates that we are at war against an enemy with financial power and a considerable number of armed men. Those five groups together must count with about 10 thousand armed men," Saumeth said.

Despite having gone through a peace process, we live in an internal conflict with its own peculiarities, which indicates that we are at war against an enemy with financial powers and a considerable number of armed men. Those five groups together must count with about 10 thousand armed men

During the past two months, Colombia has been the epicenter of massive protests that, in some cases, ended violently, but at the same time there were clashes in Apure with the Bolivian Armed Forces of Venezuela and the murder of Jesus Santrich, of the FARC dissidents.

In this context, Saumeth said that "the dynamics of war is still present in Colombia with consequences that are escalating." After the attack, Duque blamed the Government of Venezuela because the rifles found were from that country.

However, the specialist added that "although the Colombian Armed Forces have found weapons from different groups, material with the FANB logo was presented occasionally. I do not see a link, and considering the relations between the countries and the economic power that illegal groups have, they must have more than enough providers."

Duque appeals to the narrative at a time of sharp decline in his image and a day before the publication of a poll by the National Consulting Center for Semana Magazine that highlights a 64 percent disapproval of the government's management, and places leftist Senator Gustavo Petro first in all scenarios ahead of next year's presidential elections. 

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