Colombia: France and Venezuela Aid Rebels


December 20, 2007: FARC is coming to rely more and more on Venezuela. Not only is Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez pushing for the release of 500 FARC members from Colombian prisons (via the release of 45 people kidnapped by FARC), but is tolerating FARC camps along the border. Chavez is also tolerating FARC recruiting poor teenagers from Indian tribes in that area. It is believed that over a quarter of FARC drugs are now exported via Venezuela, with Venezuelan officials (military and civil) getting payments to facilitate this. To encourage this arrangement, FARC says it will turn over three of its 45 prominent kidnapping victims to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. France says that it will give sanctuary to the 500 convicted and imprisoned FARC members that are released in exchange for the kidnapped civilians.

December 19, 2007: So far this year, 167 drug gang members have been extradited to the United States, where they are tried and jailed for drug crimes. In the U.S., the drug gangsters cannot bribe or threaten their way out of custody, and are usually convicted and forced to serve their time. This is much feared by the drug gangs, and Colombia knows it. President Uribe took this stand against the drug gangs five years ago, risking assassination, and has allowed 619 Colombian drug criminals to be extradited since then. Some of those sent north were also FARC members.

December 18, 2007: The government has destroyed 55 tons of weapons (18,000 firearms and 2.7 million bullets) surrendered by the AUC rebels in the last four years, as most of the organizations 31,000 members accepted amnesty.

December 14, 2007: In the course of the usual raids on FARC, police discovered a plot to kidnap the two sons of president Uribe. A $250,000 reward has been placed on the two FARC members who were leading the kidnapping effort. This operation was apparently undertaken at the orders of senior FARC leadership.


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