hostage negotiations and Venezuelan politics grab the headlines, the real war
grinds on. The FARC continues losing ground, and this hostage exchange deal is
needed to boost morale. Every week, more FARC middle-management people are
arrested, and this is causing unrest among the entire FARC leadership. The
future don't look so bright, and spending a decade or more in prison, or
getting killed is much more likely surviving to retire. Revenue is down,
especially since the government cracked down on the kidnapping business. That,
next to drug operations, was a major source of income. Pay and benefits have
been cut in FARC, as a result. There have been some layoffs, but most of the
shrinkage has come via combat losses and imprisonment. More and more
middle-managers are bailing. These guys are sharp enough that, if they can get
out of the country, they can get something started elsewhere. Many of these
fellows want to get into the United States, where a former FARC operator has
lots of legal, and illegal, opportunities.
December 4, 2007: The
government has offered to negotiate with FARC outside the country, using France
to make the arrangements, to negotiate a hostage release deal.
December 2, 2007:
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was defeated when voters rejected his proposal
to change the constitution (to make him president-for-life and turn the country
into a "socialist state.") The vote was 51 percent against. but this
was in the face massive government campaign for the proposals. Opposition
against Chavez has been building, and finally united to oppose this latest
power grab. More and more Venezuelans are coming to realize that Chavez is
mostly bluff and bluster, and does not have Venezuela's best interests in mind
when he spends money recklessly and shoots his mouth off endlessly.
November 30, 2007: Police
captured three FARC members in the capital, and seized videos and documents
regarding the high profile FARC prisoners that are being peddled by FARC to get
FARC members out of prison. The material showed that many of the key hostages
were alive, but not well (physically or psychologically).
November 29, 2007:
Venezuela has cut all diplomatic relations with Colombia because Venezuelan
president Chavez is upset with being told off by Colombian president Uribe.