With the recent killing of FARC leader Mono Jojoy and a number of other FARC members, Colombia and in particular President Santos, was highly praised by Obama as an exemplary model of success.
In his Whitehouse welcoming speech to Santos, the first time the two had met in person, Obama talked about Santos' achievements in defeating the terrorist group, FARC, and casually mentioned the war on drugs.
There was no mention of either illegal armed groups (paramilitaries) or internally displaced persons (IDPs), despite paramilitaries being closely tied to fueling drug trafficking, and IDPs being a humanitarian crisis of record proportions--the highest number in the world, according to the most recent UNHCR report .
Obama prefered to plug the proposed US-Colombia free trade agreement by mentioning that he was looking forward to close political and economic ties with Colombia, as well as "continued stability" in the nation.
Despite the killing of Mono Jojoy and over 20 other FARC members, as well as the destruction of key FARC facilities, the conflict in Colombia is not over. The FARC continues to exist as an armed actor, and in fact, they have already appointed a new chief commander to replace Jojoy and have vowed to strike back. Obama and Santos' tone in this Whitehouse welcome ignores the reality of the ongoing conflict.
Just last week, there was a massacre in the southwestern province of Nariño in which 5 people were killed, followed by forced displacement of over 180. Though it is unclear exactly which armed group carried out the killings and displacement, it is known that this area is under territorial dispute between different factions of paramilitary groups and the FARC, all of which are linked to drug trafficking (Latin American Herald Tribune).
Another important aspect to note is Obama's praise of the Colombian state military . This raises concerns considering the Colombian military has been implicated in severe violations of human rights. One such violation includes the 'falsos positivos ' scandal, in which Colombian soldiers killed civilians and dressed them up in guerrilla uniforms for the sake of a promotion.