Colombia: October 16, 2004


The dirty war between the various leftist rebel organizations and the police continues. FARC, in particular, has been having a hard time maintaining the support of civilians in many parts of the country. FARC's use of bombs and massacres has terrorized people and turned public opinion against them. The 30,000 member AUC wants to demobilize, and the 3,000 member ELN feels itself being squeezed out of existence. In fact, the ELN is proposing a merger with the 20,000 member FARC, in a move to keep both organizations alive in the face of more effective army and police tactics. One little noticed change that has affected all the rebel groups is that the drug business has changed. It's more decentralized and the various drug related operations are better able to avoid doing business with the rebel groups. Part of this is because of the continuing government anti-drug efforts. The spraying of drug crops, the raids on drug labs and the capture of drug shipments (160 tons of cocaine was seized last year) are forcing the drug gangs to change. And part of that change is that the rebels are increasingly cut out of the business. 


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