When the Revolutionery Armed Forces of Colombia were still able to turn much of the country into no-go territory, key oilfields surrounded by insurgents who had established their hideouts in and around critical areas. But this has changed since ex-Pres Alvaro Uribe launched a major US-backed military offensive in 2002, which eventually succeeded in driving the guerrillas deep into the mountains and in securing much of the countryside. Diminished as the guerrillas are, they can still muster an estimated 7,000 active fighters and there is little doubt that they will battle on. But for now the new president, Juan Manuel Santos, has gained the confidence of the nation and of international investors in his will and ability to confront the terrorists with as much resolve as Uribe showed, and this has already done wonders for the local business and investment climate. So has his success in reaching out to Venezuela's Pres Hugo Chavez and achieving an easing of tensions between the two neighboring countries.
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