Colombia: More Rebels Offer to Negotiate

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September 28, 2005: While hammering away at the FARC, the government is simultaneously seeking FARC members that are willing to negotiate a peace deal. Along those lines, 38 captured FARC members have been released in an amnesty effort. The government strategy has worked on AUC and ELN, but FARC is about the same size as those two organizations combined, and increasingly a regional operation. The government knows that many of the FARC groups are looking for a way out of the cycle of crime and violence, and is offering a solution. Part of this pragmatic. The rebels have become very unpopular with a population tired of all the kidnapping, crime and corruption generated by the illegal drug business. That led to more success by the police and troops in attacking drug operations. That, in turn, led to more rebels getting killed, or driven out of their remote camps. Being hunted, and threatened with death, gets old fast.

September 24, 2005: The ELN rebels have agreed to peace talks, with the help of Venezuela. Colombian relations with Venezuela are getting better, with Colombia refusing asylum to leaders of a failed 2002 Venezuelan coup.

September 23, 2005: In Ecuador, Marcial Campana, commander of Front (region) 48 of FARC, was captured by police. FARC has increasingly moved headquarters and leaders to neighboring countries, where they have some supporters and safe houses. But the Colombians are cooperating with police in those countries to find these FARC leaders and nab them.

September 20, 2005: One way to measure the success against the rebels is the size of the drug seizures and drug facilities destroyed. Recently, six tons of marijuana were seized from a captured FARC camp, while a raid on an AUC revealed the largest cocaine lab ever captured (capable of producing ten tons of cocaine a month.) Lost this stuff hurts the rebels badly, as they have become mercenary operations, needing lots of cash to pay their gunmen.

 

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