It is nice to see Time magazine examining the issue of the displaced in Colombia, which gets far too little attention in the mainstream media. The title of the article is perfect: "If Colombia is Winning Its War, Why the Fleeing?"
Last year, 380,000 Colombians were forced off their land amid fighting between rebels, paramilitaries and the army, a 24% increase from 2007's figure, according to the Bogotá-based human-rights group Codhes (the Spanish acronym for the Human Rights and Displacement Office). Colombian officials, in turn, put the number of displaced at 294,000 for just the first six months of last year. "It's the million-dollar question," Marie-Helene Verney, spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Colombia, says of the perplexing trend. "Something is going on."
The article did not mention another factor, namely the tens of thousands of Colombians fleeing into Ecuador. Overall, it is a humanitarian disaster.
Perhaps the Colombian government can use the same rationale as the U.S. does with regard to the drug war, where it claims that both increases and decreases of coca cultivation are signals of success. More displaced people means you're winning even more!