Colombia: February 24, 2005


American help in electronic monitoring of rebel radio and cell phone messages has revealed that the rebels are having a hard time keeping it all together. The soldiers and marines are better trained than ever before, and the rebel gunmen are often just young, untrained, guys with guns. Rebel fighters learn, if they learn anything at all, on the job. Mostly they just hang out and harass local civilians. Popular opinion continues to turn against the leftist rebels, and the self-defense forces, usually described as "right wing paramilitaries."  The self-defense forces are negotiating a peace deal with the government, although this tends to be reported in the American media as a sweetheart deal with killers and thugs. The self-defense groups arose as local land owners and businessmen organized opposition to the left wing rebels who extorted money to sustain their "revolution."


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