Despite peace talks between the government and rebel groups in Cuba, land mines continue to kill people across Colombia. Since 1990, 2,000 people have been killed and 11,000 have been maimed or wounded by land mines––about a third of those victims are civilians.
To protect themselves from pursuit, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia hid the majority of these landmines throughout the country, causing a costly problem for years afterward.
If no more mines were placed, current estimates predict that it would take 47 years to certify that Colombia is free of land mines. Unfortunately, these weapons continue to be planted into the present.
Col. Andres Goyeneche, commander of an army battalion that removes mines from the country, told Associated Press that every explosive removed at a $1000 cost can be replaced by several more assembled using cheap, readily available materials.
In March, the Colombian government and rebels agreed to work together to rid the country of mines in half of its municipalities, but work on this project has been slow to start.
Goyeneche is skeptical of the rebel’s commitment and told AP that "[i]f the FARC really wanted to help instead of taking photos, they'd stop planting mines."