The FARC Is Not Finished by Juan Galeano

8 Jul

Juan: The recent news headlines announcing the fall of the FARC are ill timed and inappropriate.

While recent setbacks to the FARC (the deaths of the founder along with two other members of the original seven person leadership team and the loss of four high profile hostages) have demonstrated significant progress on behalf of the Colombian government there is still much work that needs to be done in order to dismantle the rest of the organization.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest rebel insurgency in South America, has been a top supplier of cocaine throughout the world and destabilized the Western Hemisphere through violence and terrorism. In recognition of this Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. aid outside of the Middle East and receives significant support in military funding to combat the guerilla force.

Since the early 1980s the FARC and other drug mafias based out of Colombia have been providing cocaine, heroin, and other drugs to the detriment of many communities within the United States even till this day.

To understand why the FARC is currently in disarray, it is important to understand the factors both external and internal to Colombia that have led to the fallout which it is currently experiencing.

External:

1) From 2000- 2007 Colombia has received over $5 Billion dollars in U.S. Aid for counter narcotics efforts which includes the build up of military forces.

2) International pressure and condemnation have discredited the organization across the world.

3) Support to FARC from foreign governments such as Venezuela has waned due to international pressure.

Internal:

1) Through drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping the organization has become very unpopular at home.

2) The current president of Columbia, Alvaro Uribe, is determined to put an end to the FARC.

  • Past presidents have taken much softer stances including turning over territory as a safe haven

3) Incentives by the government have given the FARC members a reason to defect. Incentives include:

  • Allowing FARC members to face less harsh penalties for turning themselves in peacefully.
  • Financial compensation for divulging information,
  • Bounties which can be collected no questions asked in return for wanted criminals
  • Not having to face extradition to the United States

4) The ability to cross the Colombian border to another country has even become more difficult.

This list is by no means all encompassing, but it gives you an idea of some of the factors at play. Through analyzing both the internal and external factors you will notice that most of them are contingent upon the conditions of today and they can quickly change tomorrow.

Should the Untied States stop funding military aid to Colombia, what would happen? What if the pressure against the FARC from the international community decreases now that Ingrid Betancourt is free? What if the Colombian people elect a president that takes a soft stance against the FARC in 2010? Now this is stretching it but, what if the FARC attempted to reorganize the way it operates and regains some legitimacy? None of these factors are guaranteed.

With the FARC having estimated membership ranging from 9,000 troops to 18,000 along with 200,000- 300,000 million in yearly drug revenue (mostly cocaine) they are still a force to be reckoned with.

Headlines announcing the coming end of the FARC create a feeling of a premature victory. Until the FARC agrees to cease operations and end the armed conflict completely they will be no where near done.

Juan Galeano can be reached for comments at galeanojd@gmail.com

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One Response to “The FARC Is Not Finished by Juan Galeano”

  1. SAM SAM July 9, 2008 at 6:56 am #

    The world must be serios about this devil organisation called FARC and their surporters to put them in a right line or faced them out. All forces that are distroying the peace of the world must be faced out, if they refuse to change.
    18,000 troops with 300,000 million worth of cocaine yearly must not allow to continew distroying the future of the world´s young ones by selling their product all over the world. They must be surely now face out. Enough is enough.

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