Why Colombia’s Reinsertion Program for Guerrillas is Pure Genius

As you may be aware, the country of Colombia is at war. The government is pitted against ruthless guerrilla groups of both the right and the left who murder, pillage, rape and destroy non-stop. And this has been going on for nearly 50 years.

Battling Guerrillas is Hard Work

But the government has very limited funding. And the guerrilla groups like to hide out in remote areas: dense jungles, unscalable mountains and far-away villages. They are very hard to find, and when found, they may have kidnapping victims to use as human shields, or may simply know the land so well that they melt away.

Few Options due to Economic Stagnation

Even when guerrilla fighters want to get out, the atrocious economic stagnation in Colombia gives them pause. If you had a high-paying job in a recession you would hold on to it dearly too.

Reinsertion: the Perfect Tactic

The reinsertion, or demobilization, program for guerrillas is the perfect tactic under these circumstances. Most deserting fighters are given a clean re-entry into life with amnesty, up to $3,500 and can also get start-up costs for businesses, counseling, health insurance and education. One group of demobilized guerrillas pooled their funds and bought into an existing business.

Guerrillas are Losing Experience

While about 50,000 guerrillas have been captured, killed or demobilized in the last five years, according to the BBC, guerrilla numbers have only dropped by about 8,000. While disheartening, at least the guerrillas are losing experienced fighters, which results in a lessened ability to do harm.

Reinsertion an Efficient Tactic

The reinsertion program is not a silver bullet but it’s a great way to make inroads in the fight against the guerrillas without investing lots of manpower. Now we need to work on revitalizing the economy so that fewer people will join the guerrilla groups.

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