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, April 30, 2009
FARC kills eight soldiers
When I see news about the FARC killing eight soldiers in Colombia, near the Venezuelan border, I'm reminded that there is still some fight in this old revolutionary dog.
The Colombian government argues that the FARC is on the decline, with high desertion rates, and a declining revenue base.
And it's true. The FARC today is not what it was five years ago, or three years ago. I think we're looking at the "middle of the end" for the FARC.
But I have to consider the possibility that the FARC has, for years now, made concerted efforts to move beyond Colombian borders into Venezuela and Ecuador. Some time ago, we prepared a piece on the FARC's presence outside of Colombia. Venezuela is certainly a welcoming environment.
Given the country's well established role as a drug transit zone, and the ongoing allegations that at least a section of the Venezuelan National Guard is a drug smuggling organization (called the Sun Cartel by DEA agents in Venezuela before they got kicked out the first time), it is certainly a great place to operate compared to Colombia.
In Ecuador, the president is not a vocal supporter, but he is willing to look the other way, and allow the FARC to operate just inside Ecuador. Even if he isn't willing to let the FARC play on Ecuadorian soil, Correa has limited political currency, and I'm not sure he wants to spend it on making a loud and expensive campaign against the FARC.
Back to those eight soldiers. They fell under attack from the 49th front of the FARC, according to La Semana. The 49th front is known to operate on both sides of the border between Venezuela and Colombia. It is also considered the Caribbean front of the FARC, operating around the Guajira peninsula.
It will be interesting to see if Chavez answers Uribe's call to hunt down these FARC soldiers. I doubt it.
(image from colombiareports.com)