Product ID: colum/sf30
Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. Paramilitary groups challenge the insurgents for control of territory and the drug trade, and also the government's ability to exert its dominion over rural areas. Although several thousand paramilitary members have demobilized since 2002 in an ongoing peace process, their commitment to ceasing illicit activity is unclear. While Bogota steps up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.