Colombia: Life After The Leftists


September 9,2008:  Increasing success against FARC has resulted in a growing number of captured documents. This, in turn, has revealed the extensive support FARC has received from foreign leftists. The latest revelation shows how the Italian Communist Party helped support (in terms of access and cash) FARC representatives in Europe. European leftists, in general, have long supported FARC, and other leftist Colombian rebel organizations. This support continued even after it became obvious that FARC had largely become a drug gang.

As FARC, and other leftists, lose territory and personnel, the criminal gangs they are allied with suffer casualties as well. While most of the gangs are involved with the cocaine trade, some specialize in counterfeiting. Police recently raided one of these operations, and seized $16 million worth of Euros. This currency is preferred by the counterfeiters these days, because the biggest denomination is worth 500 Euros ($800), while the largest American denomination is the $100 bill. Kidnapping gangs have also taken a beating, as well as all manner of criminal operations. The government has to work out how to deal with a post-FARC world. It appears that FARC will never completely disappear, but will dissolve into many smaller political and criminal gangs. The future of Colombia is one of dealing with a very high crime rates. Crime has been a major problem in Colombia for many generations. Dealing with the outlaw attitudes and culture  is considered a formidable challenge.

The government raids are catching more of the command level of FARC. This can be seen by the quality of documents and equipment being seized. There is also a lot more cash seized, including a million dollars (mostly in U.S. currency) seized in one recent raid. The troops are trained to deal with captured laptops and memory sticks (flash memory "thumb drives"), as well as satellite phones. Information quickly taken off these devices, can be passed on to headquarters and be used to carry out additional raids within hours.  

The police and army are increasingly faced with the problems of rebuilding the government infrastructure in areas that have spent a decade or more under FARC control. Roads and utilities (electricity, water and sewage) had gone to pieces while the gangs were in control, and government was minimal (and very rough). Poverty rates were much higher in FARC areas, and once the government regains control, some of the locals flee for the more prosperous cities, and scramble for opportunities there.

September 3, 2008: Police captured 4.8 tons of cocaine, apparently stored near the coast awaiting transport to the U.S. or Europe.

September 1, 2008: Although the leftist government of Ecuador is sympathetic to leftist rebels in Colombia, it is not happy with the many FARC camps on its 700 kilometers of Colombian border. Ecuador has asked Colombia to send more troops to the border, to work with Ecuadoran soldiers. The FARC fighters set up shop 5 or 10 kilometers inside Ecuador, where they cause trouble for the locals, and sometimes use violence when confronted by Ecuadoran officials. Ecuador has moved 11,000 troops to their Colombian border, but these have not been sufficient to clear out dozens FARC groups. That's despite the army finding and destroying about a hundred FARC camps so far this year, compared to 47 for all of last year. The FARC fighters are skilled at detecting the approach of troops, and quickly clearing out. All the Ecuadoran troops usually find is an empty camp site. FARC is also working with drug gangs, which are a growing force in Ecuador. A similar situation has developed on the Panamanian border.

August 31, 2008: A car bomb went off in Cali, killing four and wounding twenty. A government building was heavily damaged, and FARC was suspected.


Article Archive

Colombia: Current 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close