In the past week, over thirty rebels have been killed in air and ground
attacks by government forces. The pressure on the drug gangs leftist rebels is
relentless. The drug gangs just shrug off the losses as a cost of doing
business. But FARC and ELN, which began as leftist rebel movements in the
1960s, are struggling for their very existence. The leftists have evolved into
drug gangs, and most of the members want little to do with leftist ideology.
It's a job, but as the leftist lose territory and income, they can no longer
meet the payroll, and more of their armed followers lose enthusiasm. Popular
opinion has turned against the drug gangs and leftists. These guys have over
30,000 gunmen controlling about a third of rural Colombia, and few people want
that to continue anymore. The leftists are under pressure to drop the ideology
and concentrate on being drug gangsters.
June 28, 2007:
FARC admitted that eleven kidnapped politicians it was holding, died in
a government rescue attempt on June 18th. The government insisted that the
eleven hostages were shot by their guards, to prevent them being freed. FARC
insisted that the hostages died in the crossfire, and offered condolences to
the families. FARC is losing the PR battle over the hostage situation. The
leftist rebels use of kidnapping to raise money was never very popular, and in
the last few years, improved police methods have made it impractical. But many
hostages are still held, not for ransom, but in order to get FARC leaders in
prison, freed. The government refuses to consider this anymore.
June 26, 2007:
In the east, several thousand civilians have fled their homes to escape
fighting between FARC and ELN rebels. Increased government military and police
pressure has forced the drug gangs and leftist rebels to fight over dwindling
resources (territory, drug production facilities, access).
June 25, 2007: The government has halted
negotiations with FARC because of the weekend violence in Buenaventura. FARC. The navy captured a senior FARC leader in the
area, who was apparently responsible for the
June 24, 2007:
Two more bombs went off in the
Pacific port of Buenaventura,
killing three people.
June 23, 2007:
Seven bomb and grenade attacks in the Pacific port of Buenaventura left 23 wounded. The targets
were police stations, but most of the victims were civilians. About half the
cocaine leaving Colombia does so through Buenaventura, so the town has become a
battlefield in the war against drug gangs and their leftist allies. Police have
killed or captured several gang and FARC leaders in Buenaventura, which
may have caused the bomb campaign. The government also captured a senior FARC
leader in Medellin.