Colombia: Mauling the Malls for the Revolution

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September 30, 2006: President Uribe got re-elected because he got results. In the last three years, kidnappings declined by over 70 percent (from 3,000 to 800.) Kidnapping has been a major issue with Colombians, and Uribe did something to cut it. Close behind that came a cut 35 percent, from 28,837 dead a year to, 18,111) in the murder rate. Foreigners have noticed this as well, with tourism way up, along with foreign investment. The cocaine business has been beaten up a lot as well, but the coke continues to get shipped out, even though many more of the drug gangsters are caught, killed or driven into exile. Although FARC lives off the drug business, they are still an organization separate from the drug gangs. But often, army and police operations find that they have destroyed combined FARC/drug gang operations.
September 29, 2006: The government is buying fifteen U.S. UH-60L helicopters for for about $21 million each. That includes spare parts and maintenance assistance.
September 28, 2006: The government has agreed to pull security forces out of two towns in the south, as a prelude to negotiations with FARC over exchanging kidnap victims for imprisoned FARC rebels.
September 26, 2006: Peruvian police seized another shipment of ammunition and weapons headed for FARC rebels in Colombia.
September 24, 2006: FARC released a 90 minute video showing a dozen elected officials, some of whom have been held over four years. The captives pleaded for something to be done to get them freed. FARC wants the government to release 500 FARC members held in prison, in return for the release of 58 government officials held by the rebels. The government is reluctant to do this, because it means the rebels would always kidnap more government employees, in order to get FARC members out of prison.
September 23, 2006: The 2,000 employees of the U.S. Embassy in Colombia to stay away from malls and restaurants frequented by rich folks, at least until October 1st, because of possible FARC plans to attack these places with bombs. FARC has been unable to defeat the government in the countryside, so it has been trying to terrorize the wealthy urban population.

 

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