Colombia: Two Down, One to Go

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February 19, 2006: Troops and police are battling FARC rebels who had taken over a national park 160 kilometers south of the capital. FARC has enlisted environmentalists, who are protesting military operations against FARC, because of the damage to the environment. FARC has been hiding out in the park, and growing coca.

While FARC refuses to even discuss surrender, the smaller ELN and AUC rebels have. AUC is disbanding, and ELN is discussing terms.

February 15, 2006: In the northern city of Taraza, troops and police destroyed 75 drug processing labs, seized 4.2 tons of coca base (about to be turned into cocaine), 102 tons of chemicals, and 23 tons of mashed coca leaf and chopped leaf. This was a major defeat for the drug gangs and their leftist rebel allies. Meanwhile, 160 kilometers south of the capital, FARC rebels killed six anti-drug workers who were destroying coca plants growing in a national park.

February 13, 2006: Venezuela purged its anti-narcotics police and is now going after major drug gangs. Today, Carlos Ojeda, a drug lord wanted in Colombia and the U.S. was arrested. This puts pressure on Colombian rebels, who depend on their drug business to maintain their combat strength.

February 12, 2006: In the north, FARC killed a family of six, in retaliation for the earlier killing of a warlock who worked for the rebels. In the southwest, the army lost and nine men, and killed 35 FARC rebels while clearing the rebels out of an area they had long occupied.

February 10, 2006: freed two foreign aid workers, that it had held for five days after seizing the men near the Venezuelan border.

February 7, 2006: The oldest rebel leader, 86 year old Ramon Isaza, surrendered, along with nearly a thousand of his armed followers. The AUC warlord was disarming as part of the amnesty agreement with the government. Isaza has been fighting leftist rebels since 1978.

 

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