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, February 12, 2009

The "middle" of the end for the FARC?

Colombia's Semana news magazine posted an interesting piece yesterday. Four Colombians presented themselves to Panama's Servicio Nacional de Fontera, located some 50 kilometers from the Panama/Colombia border.

Most speculate the four Colombians were members of the FARC. Reading the story, I was reminded of the FARC's desertion rate, and how in the past couple years, we have seen this rate rise, slowly but steadily.

Meanwhile, on 10 February, El Tiempo reported that a joint force of Colombian police and military apprehended Jesus Antonio Garcia Largo (aka Chucho Mapurilla) in Putumayo, near the border with Ecuador. At 51 years old, he is a 35 year FARC veteran who spent some time with the 48th Front . Chucho was also one of the FARC's remaining ideological leaders...

These two news items, when taken together with the conciliatory position the FARC has taken recently (apart from the Indian massacre in Nariño), points towards what I would call the "middle" of the end for the FARC as an armed threat inside Colombia.

I say "middle" because I've already considered the beginning of the end, here, as well as questioning if they were even still revolutionaries in 2005, here.

Moving forward, I think it is important to note the desertion and attrition rate - measured both by what the Colombian military says (see last to paragraphs in this piece) and by what we see reported, like Panama yesterday.

It is anyone's guess how much longer the FARC will remain as an organization that closely resembles what it was during the Pastraña administration, but I think we can all agree that the FARC has peaked and is now on its way down.

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