Mauricio Avilez isn’t sleeping well. He’s jumpy. It’s hard for him to concentrate on his studies. He’s learned surreptitiously that the paramilitary groups in his country, Colombia, want him dead. So he worries about unfamiliar cars on his street and motorcycles that cruise too close to the curb or near the window of a taxi he is riding in.
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, the TV newsmagazine program hosted by Bob Abernethy, has been renewed for a tenth season this fall with a $6.25 million grant from its longtime supporter, the Lilly Endowment.
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.
Though it is hard to imagine the situation in Colombia getting much worse, church leaders and human rights groups are warning that the violence is in fact increasing, and that a “dirty war” like the one in El Salvador in the 1980s and in Chile and Argentina in the 1970s is likely to erupt.