Colombia: June 26, 2005


  The army has sent over a thousand troops, and helicopter gunships, to the southwest. The troops are pursuing a force of 300 FARC men, who are apparently fleeing towards bases across the border in Ecuador. Another six soldiers were killed in the northeast.

Battles with FARC fighters has left some 130 soldiers dead since February, when peace talks with FARC collapsed. FARC has tried to use these army losses as proof that the army operations against FARC have failed. But that is not the case, with FARC being systematically forced from long held bases. FARC manpower has also taken a hit, declining from 18,000 to 12,000 in the last year. The recent attack in the southeast had to be mounted from bases across the border in Ecuador. In the northeast, FARC has been forced to move bases across the border into Venezuela. These foreign FARC bases become a diplomatic problem for the government, as Ecuador and Venezuela don't want to get involved with fighting FARC forces. FARC has an informal understanding with these bases, and behaves themselves in Ecuador and Venezuela, and maintains a low profile. 


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