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
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).