Colombia: Where's The Love?

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April 16, 2007: The fighting in southern Colombia, on the Ecuador border, continues to intensify. The drug gangs are trying to prevent having coca growing and refining operations being forced out of the country. The leftist drug gangs are, in effect, making a last stand. Over 6,000 villagers have fled the violence in the last two weeks.

April 7, 2007: The U.S. is threatening to prosecute executives of American firms that pay protection money to drug gangs in Colombia. This would make it impossible to do business, as the resulting violence would shut these firms down. The payoffs have recently become a major media and political issue in the United States, although it was an open secret for decades. The Colombian government is trying to eliminate the drug and political gangs in parts of the country where large American firms operate, but this is a tedious process. The gangs have been operating for decades, and are not easy to eliminate.

April 13, 2007: Desperate to reverse its declining fortunes, FARC has appealed to its leftist allies overseas, and asked to be declared a quasi-government "belligerent force," so that it could negotiate a more favorable peace deal with the Colombian government. This is unlikely to fly, as even FARCs long-time leftist allies in Europe are coming to realize that FARC has turned into a large drug gang.

April 12, 2007: In Cali, over 200,000 people came out to demonstrate against FARC and other drug gangs. FARC was blamed for the car bombing three days ago, and similar attacks in the past few months. FARC is also hated for their growing use of land mines in the countryside. This tactic is making Colombia the top nation in the world when it comes to land mine casualties. This is a dubious distinction most Colombians would rather not have. FARC is trying to blame the car bombing on the rightist AUC drug gang, but the AUC has surrendered and is disarming. This is something FARC refuses to consider, and that makes FARC the official bad guys to most Colombians.

April 10, 2007: The government arrested three people and charged them with murder. The accused had stolen money meant to buy food for refugees from drug gang related fighting. Some of the villagers starved to death. This kind of corruption is all too common, but the government is trying to eliminate the worst of the stealing.

April 9, 2007: A car bomb damaged a police building in Cali, killing one person and wounding over thirty. FARC was believed responsible, but the leftist drug gang denied any responsibility.

 

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