Colombia’s Uribe at Six Years: A Positive, but Fragile, Legacy

Colombia’s Uribe at Six Years: A Positive, but Fragile, Legacy

SAN JOSÉ DEL GUAVIARE, Colombia -- At a military base in this eastern town on the edge of the jungle, Juan Manual Santos, Colombia's defense minister, recently delivered a triumphant appraisal of the country's fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Just a few years ago, it would have it would have been hard to imagine staging such an event here, for fear of a guerrilla ambush. "We have chosen San José del Guaviare because it symbolized the old Colombia, a country ridden with narcotraffickers, paramilitaries and guerrillas," said Santos as he addressed the country's generals and elite troops under a hot sun earlier this month.

Santos has described this year as an "annus horribilis" for the FARC and a historic one for the armed forces. Most analysts agree with the government's assessment that 2008 has been pivotal in the war against the FARC, leaving the rebels weaker than ever before. At its height, the FARC boasted around 20,000 troops, but few believe that the group can ever regain that level of strength.

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