The news from Colombia is mostly bad. The number of people forced to flee from their homes and find makeshift shelter has increased from about 2 million in 2001 to nearly 3 million today. They flee both from the armed conflict and from having their farms sprayed with poison from airplanes—a futile attempt to eradicate the production of coca, from which cocaine is derived. Many of the settlements of displaced persons, including two that I have visited, have themselves become battlegrounds fought over by the very guerrilla groups and paramilitary forces from whom the refugees have fled.
The Colombian government has no program to aid those displaced or to enable their reentry into society. U.S. government assistance to them averages $10 to $15 per person per year.