Colombia: Venezuela Steps Up


October 9, 2007: FARC use of landmines to protect their drug labs and rural camps is becoming an increasing problem. Rural populations, especially in the border areas where FARC is most active, are abandoning large areas because of landmines. At the present rate, it will be years, perhaps a decade, before all those FARC bases, and their land mines, are cleared out. In the meantime, Venezuela is becoming more hospitable to FARC. Along the Colombian border, Venezuelan troops are being withdrawn. This makes it easier for FARC to operate, and avoid clashing with Venezuelan soldiers (on the border, it's often hard to tell which country soldiers belong to, or which side of the border you are on.) Meanwhile, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez tried, and failed, to get FARC leaders safe passage to Venezuela, where Chavez wants to try and negotiate a deal that would exchange 45 FARC kidnap victims for 500 imprisoned FARC killers, kidnappers and cocaine producers. FARC is also demanding a large tract inside Colombia that is free of government interference. Colombia refuses to consider this, but FARC is insistent, as without sanctuary, the constant hammering by security forces will cause further factionalism and infighting inside the FARC.

October 1, 2007: A bomb in a bicycle went off in the capital, injuring two people. No one took responsibility, and the police offered a $9,000 rewards for any information on who was responsible.




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