Santa Rosa de Osos Massacre and the Drug War in Colombia

Colombian authorities have launched a manhunt for the drug traffickers who were responsible for massacre of 10 peasants in Santa Rosa de Osos, Colombia this week. It is believed they were murdered for failing to pay extortion tribute to the drug trafficking gang believed responsible.

The massacre is particularly shocking and troubling for the public in Colombia, because the nation was hopeful of having turned the page on violent drug trafficking crime over the past decade. While Colombia is infamous for it’s role in the illicit drug trade, the level of drug related violence was halved from 2000 to 2012, and cocaine production has dropped by 60% from its peak in 2000.

The massacre appears to have been the worst in the country since February, 2009, when the FARC is believed to have killed 27 indigenous Awá people in the Nariño Department of Colombia including women and young children.

Nonetheless, while Colombia’s economy is improving rapidly, and crime has dropped drastically in the past decade,  Colombia’s murder rate per capita, is still one of the highest in the region, according to 2012 data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Colombia’s 33.4 murders per one hundred thousand inhabitants is far above the global average of 6.9 for 2010.

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