Colombia has one of the highest levels of forced disappearances in the world. Mention the word 'disappearance' in the Latin American context and most people think only about Chile, where 3,000 people were killed or disappeared, or Argentina, where some 30,000 people were disappeared in the 'dirty war'. Yet new information is emerging that is unveiling the tragic dimensions of Colombia’s missing.

In 'Breaking the Silence' the Latin America Working Group Education Fund and the US Office on Colombia publicise the little known official statistics showing that to date 50,800 people have been registered as disappeared or missing in Colombia—more than the totals of Argentina and Chile combined—a figure that does not even include the many cases that are not reported at all, as the relatives and friends of the disappeared who speak out are often stigmatized, threatened and forcefully displaced. 'Breaking the Silence' highlights that the military aid that the U.S. government provided—and continues to provide—to Colombia strengthened an army that was responsible for thousands of forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions and has collaborated with, or at least turned a blind eye to, paramilitary violence that escalated as U.S. aid flowed. The report notes that the highest levels of forced disappearances occurred during the first four years of U.S.-funded Plan Colombia (2000 to 2003).

Click here to read the full report.