August 24, 2006: Cuban SOF (Special Operations Forces) are training Venezuelan SOF, and apparently some FARC gunmen as well. But FARC has been implicated in attacks on remote ranches and villages in western Venezuela, along the Colombian frontier. This could get interesting, both because FARC is not a monolithic organization with strong central command, and because Venezuela is apparently trying to develop at least one faction of FARC as an elite fighting force.
August 19, 2006: Along the Panama border, FARC is trying to push out other drug and political gangs. The border area is used for smuggling drugs, weapons and other illegal goods.
August 18, 2006: A car bomb went off in the Pacific port of Buenaventura, killing the driver and wounding five people. For months, rival drug gangs have been fighting each other and the police in this southwestern city. This port is a major drug smuggling hub. FARC is trying to eliminate all competition here.
The amnesty and disarmament deal with the AUC is running into problems. Many of the AUC leaders fear that the amnesty will not cover all their crimes, and some are going back to the outlaw life. These fellows prefer the risks of life as a rebel chief, to the possibility of life in prison. Over 10,000 AUC members have disarmed and accepted the amnesty so far. But many have gone back to a life of crime, there being no comparable civilian job that offered the high pay, low workload and excitement of a criminal career. Despite this, and FARCs stubborn resistance to expanding government control in the countryside, criminal activity continues to decline and the economy is still growing.