Created: 11/23/1999

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Intelligence Report

s/an Pacific and Latin American Analysis


Emigration on the Rise (U) Surnrnary

Colombia isise in emigration, especially among the urban upper and

classes, according to


trends suggest that the weak economyey factor driving the departures, although concern about growing violence isonsideration.

Perceptions by Colombia's urban upper and middle classes of increased Insecurity couldore important factor encouraging emigration if the insurgents remain intransigent in peace talks with the government or if they escalate the level of violence.

Colombian emigration will probably continue unabatedfor the foreseeable future, given that the economic recession may only now be bottoming out.

* izable number of Colombians who emigrate head for the United Stales, Colombian visa overstays and illegal migration may grow in importance as issues for US Government agencies.

API Alt*

approvee for release

Informationariety of sources indicates Colombia isise in emigration, especially among the upper and middle

Colombian authoritiespercent increase in the number of passport applications this yearJ

Colombians emigrating to the United States tend to be urban middle- or upper-class

professionals arriving by air and overstaying their visas.

ey Driver (U)

The poor Mate of Colombia's economy appears to be the primary "push" factor for emigrant*:

Accordingecent Gallup poll.ercent of urban Colombians cite the lack of economic opportunities as tbe primary motivation for leaving the country, with msecurity andincludes crime as well as the insurgentin

Urban Colombians managed to cope with high levels ofmostly resulting from criminalseveral decades of good economic performance and prospects. The recent economic downturn has chipped away at the fuianciNl security of city dwellers, however, and has probably led them to change iheii expectations for the future.

1 At tho mrm time tfiat Colombia is experwncku* increased emigration, it roust alio thaiIncn-jic in tammaHy chiplarrd pewm Internal reisers wc

rotted by paramiUlary and insutreni violence lo flee to ihe citic* mod Join ihe ranki ef (ha



Anecdoial reporting indicates Colombian emigrants are gravitating to countries wilh robust economies:

ecent poll carried out in major urban areas,ercent of respondentsesire to emigrate to the United States.ercent lo Canada,erceni to England.

ercent expressed any interest in emigrating to neighboring Venezuela, and none expressed an interest in going to Ecuador, both of which are in poor economic health.

Colombia's Economy Stumbles (U)

Colombia is suffering its worst economic performance since. Domestic and international pressures, such as high interest rates and low export prices, last yearecession that may only now be bottoming out:

GDP dropped byercent in the first half9 as compared wilh the same periodnd the government estimates that the economy may contract by as mucherceni for the yearhole.

The deteriorating economy has wreaked havoc in the financialrestructuring couldercent of GDP, according to privateand fueled an increase in the unemployment rate8 percent.

ontributing Factor (O)

Perceptions of rising crime and political violence have also contributed to the surgeThe overall level of violence has gone up somewhat this year asmost of the fighting occurs in the

countryside lar removed Irorn the major urban centers where abouiercent ofmost Colombians who emigrate. Recentofealthy uibanitesommercial flight and the abduction ofcitizensali church have heightened urban residents' perceptionssecurityunderscore the vulnerability of

Colombians, even city dwellers far removed from the actual fighting.'

1 Laefc ol progress in pace negotiations wfch the imicgcnB probabty has alio cot tribe led to public perceptionsorsening security situation. i


Outlook <U)

Prospects for tbe economy and the security situation suggest that the conditions that encourage emigration willeventhe near term:

Because employment tends to lag behind growth, the economy willey driver in emigration evenecovery begins later this year, at the earliest.

Perceptions of urban middle- and upper-class Colombians that security has eroded mayignificant factor in emigration if insurgent violence escalates or the insurgents remain intransigent in peacereakdown of the already fragile peace process would signal to would-be emigrants the potential for increased violence.

izable number of Colombians who emigrate head for the United States, Colombian visa overstays and illegal migration may grow in importance as an issue for US government agencies.


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