Bringing Sovereignty and Security to Tolima, Colombia

In 2007, the Colombian government began its Consolidation Plan, a program to provide government services in places where they previously did not exist. Tolima, a departmento (province) in central Colombia, has been a center of violent activity for decades and was one of the areas targeted for development.

This map highlights the number of conflict events that were reported in each municipality in Tolima from 2007-2013. Overall, the number of events has decreased, especially in southern Tolima, which has been a priority for Consolidation. A notable exception is Ibagué, the largest city in the province, which has seen an increase in conflict events over the years.

"We are at a crucial moment...The FARC is not visibly present, but if the military isn't here they will come back and we will all lose. What good is it to recuperate territory if we can't stay to govern it afterward? Things are at a very delicate point. If they leave too soon, we could lose everything."
- Leonardo Avilés García, head of Casa de Justicia in Chaparral, Tolima

What does "Events Related to the Conflict" mean?
The data includes recorded incidents that are related to the internal conflict in Colombia. While the largest and most well-known guerrilla group in the country is the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), there are many others. The events here were caused by various armed groups and people; it is best to include all of these groups in an attempt to capture the whole of the ongoing violence. The events mapped here include everything from massacres to forced displacement, poltical homicide, attacks on infrastructure, and illegal road blocks, amongst many others.

Is this data even reliable?
It's the best out there. This is the data that's semi-publicly available (the UN OCHA website that provides the data requires a login - see below). There is no metadata to describe how the data was collected. There also may be issues surrounding how many incidents are actually reported. Due to the ongoing conflict, fear of retaliation, and impeded mobility due to lack of infrastructure, many Colombians may be afraid of formally reporting conflict events.

Data source:
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Colombia's,SIDIH platform

Text sources:
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
U.S. Embassy in Colombia

Map creator:
Robin Tolochko, 2014