Clash in Colombia

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who has been cracking down on a 39-year-old guerrilla insurgency and the country's cocaine producers since he came to power in August, 2002, is now clashing head-on with human-rights groups. On Sept. 8 he publicly blasted activists for criticizing his efforts, calling them "spokesmen" for terrorists.

In a new report, Colombia's leading nongovernmental groups allege that the Uribe government has arbitrarily detained more than 2,500 people, including labor unionists and opposition politicians, accusing them of supporting guerrillas. The verbal slinging match may dent Uribe's popularity, but it is unlikely to affect U.S. aid to Colombia, which has totaled $2.4 billion since 2000.

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