Colombian Regime Providing Bogus Statistic

News from Colombia | on: Friday, 2 May 2008

An article in the April 29th edition of El Espectador newspaper in Colombia has derided the statistics being provided by the Colombian Ministry of Defence to the press and public. Some of the statistics, which have been regularly repeated by Colombian Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos, are clearly fabricated as are many of the claims made in the report "Progress made as a Result of Democratic Security Policies" which can be seen on the website of the Colombian Defence Ministry.

One figure cited in the El Espectador article is the claim made by the Ministry that between August 2002 and March 2008, they detained no less than 347,526 people for drugs trafficking. This, the article says, is the same as the population of the Colombian city of Manizales.

However, in an effort to demonstrate 'progress', the Ministry also makes various other absurd claims including:

  • "That during just the first three months of this year (2008), Ministry of Defence personnel captured some 12,801 people for illegal trafficking." This, El Espectador points out, would require ten whole and empty new prisons just to hold them in. In a confusing twist, Diana Quintero, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence, explained to the newspaper that some of these people had in fact been detained on more than one occasion during the three month period!
  • "That so many drugs traffickers have now been detained that the cocaine business is near it end." Despite the same Ministry of Defence report stating a few pages later that there are around 78,000 hectares of coca (the raw material for cocaine) being cultivated in Colombia more than in the rest of the world combined.
  • "That 42,791 guerrillas or paramilitaries have been detained and imprisoned between 2002 and 2008." Again, given that the maximum capacity of the Colombian prison system is 65,000 and that the vast majority of those held are common criminals, this claim does not stand up to basic scrutiny.
  • As Justice for Colombia has previously reported the Colombian regime is not adverse to distributing false statistics in an effort to show alleged 'improvements'. This has been clearly documented in relation to assassinations of trade unionists where the Colombian Government has repeatedly claimed that fewer activists are being murdered than is in fact the case.

    Guy Ryder, the leader of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recently stated that "instead of using its resources to tackle the real problem, the Uribe government is spending millions of dollars on a massive public relations campaign, sending top officials abroad to tell the world that the situation is Colombia is improving. They are lying."



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