This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mexicans in the FARC & the FARC in Mexico

After the Colombian Air Force (FAC) bombed the camp of FARC leader Raul Reyes with Brazilian airplanes and Israeli guidance systems, the camp lay destroyed in the early morning hours of 2 March. When the Colombian military special forces picked through the bodies just moments after the dust settled, they came across an interesting find.

Mexicans figured among the dead.

Six days later, the Colombian vice president, Francisco Santos, said that there were “several” Mexican youths being trained by the FARC while residing at Reyes’ camp. At least one Mexican, Lucia Morett Alvarez, was taking a course on explosives. This fact resonates with the as yet unconfirmed rumors that Raul Reyes had been in contact with a Mexican insurgent off-shoot called the Ricardo Flores Magon - Insurgent Militias. Other information connecting the FARC with insurgencies inside Mexico is likely on the recovered computers, but so far has not been leaked.

According to the Colombian government, however, at least four Mexicans have been confirmed as dead from the bombing of Reyes’ camp.

Beyond insurgent activity, and the reported resurgence of FARC activities among Mexico’s universities, the presence of the FARC in the Mexican drug trade has been well established. As businessmen, FARC operatives have taken no sides in Mexico’s internal struggles. They are known to have worked with all of the major Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Where there is a Mexican buyer, it seems, so there is a FARC seller.

Echoing the Colombian vice president’s public claim of Mexicans taking classes from the FARC, the Mexican Attorney General, Eduardo Medina-Mora, said on 10 March that the FARC maintains a strong presence in Mexico. He claims the FARC sells some US$780 million worth of cocaine to the world market every year, of which Mexican drug trafficking organizations purchase some US$428 million or 55 percent.

While it is difficult to determine the true dollar amount of FARC cocaine sales to Mexico, it’s possible that this number may soon grow if the recently released older brother of the Arellano-Felix drug trafficking organization (AFO), Felipe, decides to get back into the cocaine buying business.

He was the organizations top cocaine smuggler in the early 1990s and is considered the front man who made contact with the FARC, establishing the insurgency as a reliable cocaine supplier. The AFO has been credited with being the first Mexican drug trafficking organization to have engaged the FARC as a cocaine supplier. Now, it seems, there is a chance to renew old ties, bringing the FARC deeper into Mexico.

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