Colombia: The Revolution Is Over


June 2,2008: The fallout from the capture of a senior FARC leaders laptop last March continues. Police are investigating leftist politicians for connections to FARC. There is also a long list of foreign "humanitarian" organizations and individuals that apparently were on very friendly terms with FARC. The foreigners, including Americans, deny it, but then they always have.

With death of the FARC leader, and his replacement by a communist true-believer, it is believed that FARC will splinter. The pro-drug FARC commanders are not going to give up their drug money. Government counter-terror operations have destroyed the "old FARC" during the last six years. FARC leaders who have surrendered have made it clear that they believe FARC is splitting into independent factions, and that much of the organization has simply been destroyed by police and army activity. A lot of the damage has to do with loss of income in the last six years. Lucrative kidnappings are down 83 percent, and terrorist attacks fell by 76 percent in the that period. Army and police pressure have reduced FARC strength to less than half of what it was in 2002 (when it was about 15,000 gunmen.) Last year alone, 2,480 FARC members deserted or surrendered to the government. The revolution is over, even if some of the rebels have not got the message yet.

The army is seeking better ways to detect and clear landmines. FARC has been increasingly using land mines to protect its dwindling number of bases, and to terrorize civilian populations (into supporting the rebels, or at least not working with the government.) Long term, it will be up to the army to clear the thousands of landmines known to be in the ground in FARC infested territory. FARC doesn't keep very good records of where they plant their mines, which further complicates the clean-up process.

June 1, 2008: Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is reorganizing the military and intelligence services to insure their loyalty to his concept of socialist revolution. There is resistance, especially in the military. As a result, many commanders are being replaced by men selected mainly for their loyalty to Chavez.

May 25, 2008: The army announced that the head of FARC, Manuel Marulanda, had died of a heart attack (he was 78 years old) two months ago. Marulanda was one of the founders of FARC back in the 1960s. He was last seen in public 26 years ago, and has been increasingly out of touch in the last few years. The new leader of FARC, Guillermo Saenz, is a former college teacher (of anthropology). Saenz is a true believer, and not on good terms with the many FARC field commanders who are more interested in their money making cocaine operations, than in establishing a communist police state. Saenz, in his younger days, studied in Cuba and the now-defunct Soviet Union.




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