July 15, 2007:
More of the war against FARC, and
other leftist rebels and drug lords, is moving to the courts. The rebels have
sought to launder a lot of their wealth over the years, turning drug and crime
proceeds into legitimate assets. These are now being identified and seized.
Trails also are being held for murders that occurred years ago. This is proving
embarrassing for the government, because when popular resistance to the leftist
rebels grew back in the 1990s, anyone associated with the rebels was a target.
This meant union officials, journalists and even clergy. If they worked with
FARC or the drug gangs, they were a target. FARC often, and still does, use
typically leftist organizations as auxiliaries. Sometimes bribes or coercion
were involved, but usually the cooperation was voluntary. Now the victims
families are looking for justice, and all manner of dirt is being dredged up.
Not a lot of people in Colombia with clean hands, but few are willing to forget
about revenge and retribution, either. That attitude has kept the current war
going for over four decades. FARC is trying to keep this going, as violence and
revenge are good business for the leftist rebels.
July 12, 2007: FARC is responding with murder and
terrorism, to the growing number of rural towns and villages that have turned
against the leftist rebels. The government has been able to destroy large FARC
military forces in many parts of the country, making it possible for police and
armed civilians to deal with small numbers of FARC still operating. FARC has to
pay its gunmen, and when they lose control of the civilian population, income
from extortion and other scams, means less money for payroll. The anti-drug operations have driven the coca
growing into more remote, and sparsely populated areas, or across the border
into neighboring countries. But FARC does not want to lose control of large
chunks of the rural population. Without that control, FARC cannot move freely,
and the government is better able to keep conducting operations against FARC
July 10, 2007: FARC admitted that it was at fault
in the death of eleven prominent kidnap victims it was holding, who were shot
to death last month. At first, FARC said the eleven were killed during a rescue
attempt by the army. But the government made a convincing case that it had no
military units in the area, and that there was no rescue attempt. FARC has
contacted the Red Cross, to arrange a return of the bodies, and is apparently
seeking to do damage control over what did happen.
July 7, 2007:
Two protestant clergymen were murdered in the south by FARC gunmen. The
clergy throughout the country had helped organize recent protests against FARC
kidnapping operations, and apparently a local FARC commander decided to
demonstrate his displeasure.