Colombia: December 24, 2003


While the major right wing rebel group disbands, the two left wing ones (FARC and ELN) are running into cash flow problems. FARC has about 18,000 people on the payroll, ELN 5,000. Each member costs the organization $5-10,000 a year, plus much larger expenses for the rebel leaders and logistical operations that bring in consumer goods and weapons to rebel camps or rebel controlled towns. The usual sources of income; kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery and drugs, are all drying up because of the renewed government offensive. And then there's the sinking popularity of the leftist rebels. Most Colombians are sick of the decades of violence and are now motivated to do something about it. The right wing rebels, who were created to protect regions of the country from the left wing rebels, saw the numbers and cut a surrender deal with the government. The left wing rebels won't do this, yet. Some FARC and ELN factions are agitating for a peace deal, and if too many rebel payday's are missed, things could get ugly. 




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