Although the inhabitants of Latin America have for a long time been known for their hot temperament, it seems that the situation in some countries is slowly spiralling out of control. While world attention has mainly concentrated on events in Honduras and El Salvador, the recent spike in deadly violence in Colombia has gone largely unnoticed by the world media.

During the first six months of this year a total of 1725 people have died as a result of injuries sustained in various fights that happened in the country. This means that basically each day 10 people have lost their life due to this phenomenon. The causes range from revenge for perceived insults in a culture that is dominated by macho codes of honor to over-consumption of alcohol and massive drug abuse.

According to the authorities, in 2014 there were 71,228 registered violent fights, only 268 less than in 2013. Until June of this year, a total of 31,000 cases have been recorded, clearly showing that this year would probably be no less violent than the two previous.

The main center of violence is the capital city of Colombia, Bogotá, where 18% of all cases have happened and which claimed 513 human lives as a result. Besides killings, fights in Bogotá also had as a consequence 4,465 injured people, mostly hurt with blunt objects and knives. 

What these grim statistics also show is that the violent quarrels have become the second most common cause of violent death in the country, after revenge killings. In the opinion of Jorge Restrepo, the director of Resource Center for the Conflict Analysis (Cerac), Colombia is not unique in the world for its number of violent brawls, but it is for the number of deaths resulting from them. According to him, the reason for this is the lack of capacity of the Colombian #Police, which is often incapable to intervene on time and peacefully resolve conflicts.

Studies done by the Center have shown that the most common motive for quarrels were attempts to respond to verbal abuse or alleged disrespectful attitude, as well as attempts to defend another person.

Colombia was once known for its drug-related conflicts, but in the recent years it has managed to stabilise the situation and significantly reduce the violence associated with narco-cartels. However, the recent upsurge in murders that were committed in the brawls among common citizens puts at significant risk the accomplishments that were made. The Colombian police, which was often accused of corruption and passivity, will probably need serious reforms if it wants to tackle this problem that has serious implications for the maintenance of the civil order. #Security #Society