Colombia: September 23, 2004


The reluctance of the rebels (FARC, ELN and AUC) to make peace, and go legit, is largely the result of the rebels taking over much of the drug trade. Several decades of providing security for the drug gangs has enabled the rebel gunmen to gradually take over. The only non-rebel gangs still involved are those that actually smuggle the drugs out of Colombia and launder the cash they receive. This shift is partially the result of improved government efforts at attacking the assets of drug gangs. Ranches and businesses have been seized, as well as bank accounts and other assets. Drug gang leaders have been arrested by the hundreds, and many sent to the United States for trial. But the rebel groups have stayed in the jungles, heavily armed and living large off the cocaine trade. 


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