Colombia: February 12, 2004


FARC is trying to establish units in the cities by recruiting at the universities. Although they have a long tradition of leftist politics, the college students are wary of FARC and ELN because both these organizations have become associated with the drug business and kidnapping for profit. But university administrators and police estimate that each university yields about ten capable FARC members, who assist in carrying out bombings and assassinations (not always successfully) in the cities. 

The government has begun to regain control of the rebel controlled rivers by building many armored, self-propelled barges. Armed with machine-guns and grenade launchers, with a crew of about 30 marines, the barges have cut the rebels off from supply and reinforcements. This is because the rivers, in many parts of the country, serve as the main form of transportation through the sparsely populated interior. The barges also serve as support ships for smaller speed boats that patrol waters around the barge. The barges also carry a satellite TV dish, some air conditioned sleeping rooms and a weight (lifting) room.   



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