Colombia: A Little Bit of Iraq Up In The Mountains

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May 11, 2007: President Uribe has a 75 percent approval rating, largely as a result of pushing leftist rebels out of many parts of the country, and getting the rightist AUC to disband. About ten percent of the disbanded AUC gunmen have joined other criminal organizations, but nearly 30,000 gunmen were taken out of circulation, leading to a lower level of violence and increased economic activity. Uribe is mainly appreciated for the economic growth that has resulted.

May 10, 2007: In the southwest, a FARC roadside bomb killed ten policemen involved in an anti-drug operation.

May 9, 2007: In the northeast, a FARC roadside bomb killed nine policemen involved in an anti-drug operation. FARC is increasingly resorting to land mines and roadside bombs to defend its drug operations. These tactics increase casualties, especially among civilians who wander into the unmarked minefields, but has not stopped the steady loss of territory by the leftist rebels.

May 8, 2007: Coca growing is down about ten percent in Colombia, but the lost cocaine production is being replaced by increased coca growing in adjacent nations.

April 30, 2007: The U.S. accused Venezuela of tolerating leftist rebels from Colombia (FARC and ELN) on its territory, as a way to weaken Colombia (whose booming economy is in sharp contrast to what is happening in Venezuela).

April 28, 2007: FARC released a video of twelve of its kidnap victims pleading for the government to give FARC a neutral zone, so that peace negotiations can start. FARC had such a neutral zone before, and simply used it as a refuge for its battered bands of gunmen, and did nothing with the peace negotiations. FARC is offering to trade kidnapping victims for imprisoned FARC killers and kidnappers.

 

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