Colombia: War Moves Into Venezuela


March 11, 2007: Increasingly, FARC is using bombs to terrorize, rather than risk its gunmen. Morale is sinking, as police and the military prove increasingly adept at running down FARC personnel. So FARC is trying to keep its people out of harms way. FARC is also trying to clean up its act, at least in a PR sense, because with Democrats in power in the the U.S. Congress, FARC, and other leftist rebels, have American officials they can lobby. FARC started out fighting for social justice decades ago, but has long since degenerated into a criminal organization. FARC, and the smaller ELN, still talk the talk, even if they no longer walk the walk. The Colombian leftists have a good chance of getting their fans in the U.S. Congress to cut funding to Colombian security forces, which takes some of the pressure off anti-drug and counter-terrorist operations. Colombia currently gets about $700 million a years from the United States.

March 10, 2007: In the south, American troops are providing technical support for an army operation that is apparently trying to locate and rescue three Americans that have been FARC captives since 2003.

March 8, 2007: In southwest Venezuela, the local military garrison was increased from 400 to 1,700, to deal with increasing activity by Colombian warlords. FARC and ELN have bother established bases on the Venezuelan border, to escape Colombian security forces. But the FARC and ELN have been fighting each other, as well as any Venezuelan police or troops that get in the way.

March 7, 2007: While the increasing effectiveness of the Colombian security forces has made a dent in the cocaine business (the price of cocaine has been going up for the last three years), the drug is still less than half the price it was twenty years ago. In the last few centuries, more efficient production processes first made alcohol (the 18th century boom in whiskey and gin production being the two best examples), then chemical products (notably heroin and cocaine in the 19th century) highly addictive, and highly profitable products. But the social damage has been great, and even poverty stricken police states have been unable to cut off the trade in illegal intoxicants.

March 6, 2007: Venezuela, through their embassy, is supporting politicians who favor a socialist type government like that found in Venezuela. The president of Venezuela is a big fan of Fidel Castro, and is trying to turn a democracy into a communist dictatorship. The elected officials in Venezuela are balking at surrendering their power, but the concept is attractive to some Colombians, who note that while Cuba is a poverty stricken communist dictatorship, there is much less violence, and no drug gangs or warlord organizations like FARC and ELN.

March 4, 2007: American credit rating agencies have increased Colombias international credit rating to BB+, which is the highest it's been since 2000. The rating of Colombias national debt was also raised. This is a big deal, as it is international recognition that Colombias economy is on the the rebound. This attracts foreign investment, and encourages Colombians with money to invest it in Colombia, rather than in safer situations overseas. More investment means more prosperity, and less incentive to join criminal organizations.

March 4, 2007: In the south, police attempted to defuse a FARC car bomb, but it went off, killing five people. Elsewhere in the south, a clash between troops and FARC left seven soldiers and at least eleven rebels dead (some bodies or badly wounded rebels were carried away by other rebels).


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