Colombia: May 9, 2005


For the last two years, every six months or so, the military has launched another large operation to clear rebels out of areas they have long occupied. These operations involve up to 40,000 troops, and have been very successful. The military has been reorganized, and received new training. The army, navy and air force cooperate a lot better now, and better trained troops, and new tactics, have contributed to the success. Having been driven away from most of the large cities, the rebels are now fighting to hang on to sanctuaries along the borders, particularly in the northeast (with Venezuela), the northwest (Panama) and the southwest (Ecuador). FARC, the largest rebel group, has lost much popular support, and, aside from a few bloody ambushes, has not seriously resisted the advance of the army and marines. The government troops are better trained and led than the rebel gunmen, and will usually prevail if the rebels try to stand and fight. FARC's priority is keeping its drug operations going, and that takes priority over trying to defeat the military. The drug operations have been more successful in surviving, mainly because the growing, processing and smuggling of drugs can be moved around, and is. The profits from drug production are so high, there is no shortage of new groups willing to replace those taken out of operation by the police or army.


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