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Colombia's Uribe Unveils Plan to Crush Rebels, Drug Gangs


Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has announced a new hard-line strategy to rid the South American country of illegal armed groups and drug traffickers.

President Uribe released a document Sunday outlining his administration's plan for what he calls democratic security. The new strategy calls for strengthening the military and emphasizes that citizens must aid the authorities.

Mr. Uribe took office nearly one year ago, promising to crack down on leftist rebels, ultra-right wing paramilitary groups and drug gangs. The rebels have been battling the government and paramilitary groups for nearly 40 years, in a conflict that kills thousands of people, mostly civilians, each year.

Both the guerrillas and the paramilitaries, who are backed by landowners, finance their illegal operations by drug trafficking with the country's powerful cocaine cartels.

Human-rights organizations have expressed concern that Mr. Uribe's democratic security strategy does not do enough to protect civil rights. Critics also complain that his administration has not done enough to break ties between the military and paramilitaries.

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