Colombian President Orders Review of Security System

By Dialogo
August 09, 2011

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ordered on 7 August, 2011, a review of strategy in the fight against leftist guerrillas and emerging criminal gangs, amid criticism sparked by an increase in insecurity and in actions by these illegal armed groups.

“I have ordered the Defense Ministry to conduct a review of the territorial control paradigm, including the control of our borders, in order to make more efficient and more effective use of our forces,” the president said at an event marking the anniversary of the National Army.

President Santos affirmed that in response to the offensive conducted by the military, members of the FARC are trying to make themselves invisible by dressing in civilian clothes in order to cause unease with small operations that have a large impact. He added that this is a survival strategy, a desperate effort to maintain a presence in the media and in public opinion. “But we cannot for that reason underestimate that strategy,” the president warned.

“We have to adjust our doctrine, our operations, and our procedures to that way of operating, without falling into the trap of reducing the effectiveness and vitality of the operations that we will continue to conduct against them, in the depths of the jungle or the heights of the mountains, wherever we may need to go,” he added.

The president revealed that intelligence should be improved and deployment structures revised in order to operate in smaller and more effective units, against a hidden enemy, at the same time that action should be taken in close coordination with the justice system in order to be able to defeat the guerrillas.

Santos said that, in addition, the consolidation and presence of the state in regions previously controlled by illegal armed groups should be made more flexible, and legal assistance should be provided to military personnel.

“As an administration, we have to have the humility to know how to correct what needs to be corrected, and that is exactly what we’re doing,” the president specified.