Colombia: January 8, 2004


United States intelligence agencies have been trying to track FARC leaders for years, partially because of FARCs participation in drug production and smuggling operations that extend into the US. FARC has also been involved with gun running and money laundering. In the last two years, there has also been fear that FARC was cooperating with al Qaeda and other terrorist organization. While FARC has become a criminal organization (drugs, extortion and kidnapping being the most common activities), the leadership still has political ambitions. Large portions, perhaps a third, of the thinly populated Colombian countryside is run by FARC. But the socialist ideology of early FARC leaders has degenerated to a form of feudalism, where local FARC leaders do as they wish as long as they pass sufficient money up the line. Meanwhile, FARC, and their leftist rivals, ELN, attack oil and power facilities owned by government companies that will not make extortion payments. 


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