Colombia: Beaten Rebels Refuse to Stop Fighting

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December29, 2006: Nearly 600 members of the security forces were killed this year, nearly ten percent less than last year, and continuing a trend that began five years ago. Rebel losses are up, and areas they control have shrunk considerably in that same period.

December 28, 2006: The ELN released, as a good will gesture, two police officers they had captured. The ELN is trying to work out a peace deal with the government. The FARC, meanwhile, is split on the usefulness of such negotiations. Currently, FARC is demanding the restoration of a "liberated zone" (thousands of square kilometers of rural territory, free of security forces, and under FARC control) before there can be more peace talks. The government refuses, because the last time there was a liberated zone, the civilians inside it were persecuted by FARC, the area became a rest camp for terrorists, and it did nothing to move negotiations forward.

December 25, 2006: Parts of Colombia are still very much at war. Towns and cities on the coast and the southern borders are particularly nasty. It's no unusual for some towns to have murder rates (deaths per 100,000 population), 20-30 times what they are in the United States. The deadliest cities in the U.S. have only a fraction (20 percent or less) of the murders in some of these Colombian towns.

December 23, 2006: In the south, fifteen soldiers were killed in a FARC ambush. The FARC did not gain much from this, as the army continued their operation, to clear FARC camps out of another area.

December 22, 2006: The government has asked Spain, France and Switzerland to use their contacts with FARC to try and revive peace talks. FARC is still seen, by many European leftist politicians, as a legitimate rebel organization, trying to bring social justice (as defined by European leftists) to Colombia. Thus FARC can raise money, recruit people and buy equipment in many parts of Europe.

 

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