Colombia: Celebrating Death and Kidnapping


September30, 2008:  The government admitted that, back in February, troops operating south of the capital seized a memory stick during a clash with FARC fighters. The device contained a database of 9,400 FARC members. That turned out to be extremely useful information, especially when it was compared to military intelligence databases of suspected FARC members. That information led to a sharp increase in arrests of FARC members, and the discovery of their weapons caches, camps and safe houses. This memory stick find was overshadowed by the capture of laptops belonging to senior FARC officials during a March 1st raid on their camp just across the border in Ecuador. The February find was kept secret until its usefulness was fully exploited. Apparently FARC did not know the government had obtained this data.

Another dispute with Venezuela has developed as it became known in Colombia that a recently deceased FARC leader (Manuel Marulanda) was being celebrated (with a statue in a public place) in Venezuela by a leftist political organization there. Marulanda was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Colombians, the kidnapping of thousands more and the terrorizing of millions. Many Venezuelans, who have not experienced this kind of violence, celebrate it as a symbol of revolutionary spirit.

September 25, 2008: The brother of the Interior Minister was arrested and charged with working for drug gangs. It's common for the gangs to go after the kin of senior officials, offering cash for connections. Sometimes this is done without revealing that criminals are behind operation, but it is usually obvious what is going on.

September 23, 2008: In the northeast, troops found a nine pound fertilizer bomb, attached to a bicycle, left near their base. Troops destroyed it, and believed that local FARC members placed it.

September 22, 2008: Another senior FARC leader, Aicardo de Jesús Agudelo, who had planned many kidnappings and assassinations, was killed by an air force bombing attack on his camp. While not in the most senior leadership, Agudelo was considered one of the top twenty, and was widely known.


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