"Colombia’s three terrorist organizations—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army (ELN), and United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)—were responsible for some 3,500 murders in 2002. By February, President Pastrana had broken off three-year-old peace talks—a cornerstone of his presidency—with Colombia’s largest terrorist organization, the 16,000-member FARC. That month, the group’s abduction of a Colombian Senator during an airliner hijacking proved to be the incident that led to the collapse of the discussions. In addition to ending the dialogue, Pastrana also terminated the group’s despeje, or demilitarized zone, where the FARC had been allowed to exist without government interference during the deliberations.

The inauguration of President Alvaro Uribe on 7 August 2002 set the stage for an intensified war on domestic terrorism. The FARC carried out errant mortar attacks on a military facility and the Presidential Palace—with heads of state and high-level representatives from many nations in attendance—resulting in the deaths of 21 residents of a poor Bogota neighborhood near the Palace. President Uribe has proposed pension and labor reforms and has imposed a government austerity program, as well as a one-time “wealth tax,” to improve Bogota’s fiscal ability to prosecute its war on terrorism. Bogota’s goal is to increase government defense spending from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product to more than five percent. Colombia is party to four of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

In 2002, as in years past, Colombia endured more kidnappings (roughly 3,000) than any other country in the world. Ransom payments and extortion fees demanded by the primary perpetrators of kidnapping—the FARC and ELN— continued to hobble the Colombian economy and limit investor confidence and became an important source of terrorism financing. Since 1980, the FARC has murdered at least 10 US citizens, and three New Tribes Missionaries abducted by the FARC in 1993 remain unaccounted for.

The oil pipelines are a frequent target of extortion and bombing campaigns by the ELN and, more recently, the FARC. The bombings, which have occurred on average once every 5 days, have caused substantial environmental damage, often in fragile rainforest and jungles, as well as causing significant loss of life. n 2002 there were 170 attacks on the 2nd largest pipeline, which travels 780 km from the Caño Limón to the Atlantic port of Coveñas. The pipeline was out of operation for 266 days of that year. The government estimates that these bombings reduced the GDP of Colombia by 0.5%."