COVID-19 is having an unexpected consequence down in Colombia

Like many countries, Colombia is fighting this terrible virus that everyone south of the border calls "El maldito corona" or something like "the terrible corona."  This is a fascinating report from PanAm Post:

In communities across Colombia, armed groups have violently enforced their own measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. 

"This abusive social control reflects the government's long-standing failure to establish a meaningful state presence in remote areas of the country, including to protect at-risk populations," he added.

So armed groups run the countryside in the absence of government?  They are also enforcing the rules, from washing hands to social distance.

As the article points out, the ELN, one such armed group, is not playing games.  They've killed people not following rules and made it clear that all the people must stay home unless they work in food stores, bakeries, or pharmacies.

In Miami, they give you a fine if you don't wear a mask, or so I just heard.  In rural Colombia, it's more lethal.

What's sad here is that we are seeing how the government has once again lost control of the countryside to armed gangs.  My Colombian friends tell me that President Uribe protected the farmers with more military presence and support.  Unfortunately, COVID and a weaker president have lost segments of the country to the armed groups.

I don't applaud any of this.  It is further proof that Colombia needs another round of the policies that worked so well under President Uribe.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Like many countries, Colombia is fighting this terrible virus that everyone south of the border calls "El maldito corona" or something like "the terrible corona."  This is a fascinating report from PanAm Post:

In communities across Colombia, armed groups have violently enforced their own measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. 

"This abusive social control reflects the government's long-standing failure to establish a meaningful state presence in remote areas of the country, including to protect at-risk populations," he added.

So armed groups run the countryside in the absence of government?  They are also enforcing the rules, from washing hands to social distance.

As the article points out, the ELN, one such armed group, is not playing games.  They've killed people not following rules and made it clear that all the people must stay home unless they work in food stores, bakeries, or pharmacies.

In Miami, they give you a fine if you don't wear a mask, or so I just heard.  In rural Colombia, it's more lethal.

What's sad here is that we are seeing how the government has once again lost control of the countryside to armed gangs.  My Colombian friends tell me that President Uribe protected the farmers with more military presence and support.  Unfortunately, COVID and a weaker president have lost segments of the country to the armed groups.

I don't applaud any of this.  It is further proof that Colombia needs another round of the policies that worked so well under President Uribe.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.