Colombia will end 2017 with the lowest homicide rate in the past four decades as the country attempts to end the armed conflict with far-left guerrillas that have been tearing the country apart for more than half a century, according to the government. Colombia, which is also the world’s largest cocaine producer, recorded “just over 11,000 homicides” in 2017, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said today.
“We have reached 23 per 100,000 people this year,” he added, reporting 320 fewer homicides than last year and saying that “this year will go down in history as the safest” in four decades “. The Institute of Forensic Medicine, which has not yet published its annual report, reported 11,532 homicides in 2016. Until 2015, Colombia was ranked as the 3rd Latin American country with highest rate of homicides after Venezuela (57.1) and Brazil (26.7) against an overall average of 5.3 for the planet, according to the World Bank.
The decrease in the number of murders is partly due to the agreement reached the Colombian government with the FARC. The guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) laid down their arms and converted to a political party under the same acronym following the agreement signed in November 2016. At the same time, the government is negotiating with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s last active rebellion in a bilateral cease-fire with the police until January 9.
The defense minister recalled that Colombia had counted up to 25,000 homicides a year in the previous decade because of the internal war, and that today most murders and murders are due to fights. “The main cause is intolerance… it’s the trigger for a deadly fight, it’s no longer because of the armed conflict,” he added. Bogota is the city of Colombia where homicides decreased the most, with a rate of 14.2.