Colombia: Another Bad Year for the Bad Guys

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January 7, 2006: Corruption continues to be a problem, as two soldiers were arrested for trading guns for cocaine with FARC. The rebels regularly approach soldiers and government officials with bribes. The rebels use money as a weapon, to weaken their enemies, and it often works.

January 6, 2006: In the southwest, FARC attacked a coca crop destruction operation, resulting in a battle that left twelve rebels and two soldiers dead. An ELN leader, Giovanni Giraldo Carvajal, was captured in in Medellin.

January 2, 2006: FARC has refused to negotiate a prisoner swap as long as president Uribe is in power. FARC, and the other rebels, consider Uribe largely responsible for rebel problems over the last few years. That's only partially true, as Colombians have been getting tired of rebel activities for some years now. Meanwhile, FARC blew two electric towers in the southwest, cutting off electricity to 150,000 people.

January 1, 2006: In the southwest, FARC set off bombs in an oil field, spilling 400,000 gallons of oil into a nearby river.

December 31, 2005: Police seizures of cocaine (186 tons) were up 26 percent over 2004. That cost the drug gangs several hundred million dollars. The national murder rate also fell 12 percent and, perhaps most importantly, the number of kidnappings fell 47 percent. A decade ago, 3,000 people were kidnapped each year, the highest rate on the planet.

December 30, 2005: Another FARC leader, Abraham Rodriguez Rosales, was captured in the northeast.

 

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