Colombia: Follow The Money


August 14, 2006: In the southeast, in remote areas where the few remaining Indian tribes live, the drug gangs have pushed the Indians aside in order to establish camps and drug production operations. The Indians often just move out of the way, but the disruptions have been so extensive that some ten percent of the Indians have become refugees, dependent on government aid to survive.
August 13, 2006: Daily, there are clashes between security forces (police, army, counter-terror commandos) and the rebels (FARC, ELN) who provide the security for drug gangs. The casualties are running to 50-100 a week, most of them rebels.
August 12, 2006: FARC members were arrested in Chile as they were attempting to set up a drug smuggling operation using Chile as a way station. Over the last year, FARC has been trying to expand its operations to other South American nations.
August 11, 2006: On the Venezuelan border, local residents are complaining of a group of seventy Venezuelan soldiers who crossed over and attacked a Colombian village last week.
August 10, 2006: For the second time this year, a prominent journalist was killed for not following instructions from gangs. Most of these murders (several a year, for decades), are not solved. Meanwhile, in the northwest, ELN rebels kidnapped a three man oil exploration crew. The ELN specializes in attacks on the economy, believing that economic collapse will make a communist revolution more likely. The ELN has been working at this for several decades, without much success.
A court has found 142 Colombian soldiers guilty of trying to steal $16 million they found when they raided a FARC camp in 2003. Over 70 of the soldiers are still at large, with their share of the loot. The ones in custody plan to appeal their convictions.
August 7, 2006: More than 30,000 soldiers and police made sure that the presidential inauguration was not interrupted by rebel attacks, as in years past.




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