Monday, October 31, 2011
FARC of Colombia, Latin America's Rapacious Terrorists
As world leaders focus thought, strategies and incredible
amounts of resources so intensely against world terrorism, how have they missed what can be described as the al-Qaeda of Latin
Although there appears to be no known or factual link
to Middle Eastern terror groups, the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) revolutionary army of insurgent-like
guerrillas continue to perform organized crime operational acts, with apparent impunity, throughout the Americas.
Central America and Mexico's rate of organized crime and murder alone is setting historic
world records. Do we simply attribute this monumental scourge to "drug violence"?
A failure to properly diagnose any problem always leads to "reactive measures." In the case of the
FARC, an appropriate analogy might be a tossed match that was allowed to become a continuing raging inferno. Simply
putting out the flames around a protected area of interest is obviously insignicicant as to control. And refusing to
call it an inferno does little to marshal resourcefulness and refuge, and combat the fluid movement and irregular path.
One must look to the founding origin of the massive threat for the answers to the ever-growing
complexities of transformation.
The FARC professes to be fighting
a war against the Colombian government - now for 40 years. They are the oldest armed revolutionary guerrilla group in
the Western Hemisphere. Financing their terror has traditionally been through typical organized criminal activities
involving kidnapping, extortion (ransoms), drug trafficking, bank robbery, and related crimes.
This arrogantly oppressive and overbearing agenda, and tenured behaviour, appears to draw conduits of complicity
from similar and powerful philosophy.
As far back as 1992,
the Central Intelligence Agency was convinced and reported that the FARC "had become increasingly involved in drugs through
their 'taxing' of the trade in areas under their geographical control, and that in some cases the insurgents protected
trafficking infrastructure to further fund their insurgency."
Curiously, the CIA concluded that "we do not believe that the drug industry [in Colombia] would be substantially
disrupted in the short term by attacks against guerrillas. Indeed, many traffickers would probably welcome, and even assist,
increased operations against insurgents."
The U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration also concluded, in 1994, that "any connections between drug trafficking organizations and Colombian insurgents
were 'ad hoc alliances of convenience.'"
At that time the
DEA believed "the independent involvement of insurgents in Colombia's domestic drug productions, transportation,
and distribution is limited ... there is no evidence that the national leadership of either the FARC or the ELN
has directed, as a matter of policy, that their respective organizations directly engage in independent illicit drug
production, transportation, or distribution."
What has now
caused the massive death and violence and Latin American drug war escalation? Has the FARC evolved into a major terror
Colombian and U.S. officials now do not hesitate to offer
explanations. Larry Palmer, who in 2010 was nominated by President Barack Obama as ambassador to Venezuela, answered
a US senator by saying he was "keenly aware of the clear ties between members of the Venezuelan government" and
leftist Colombian guerrillas, including the FARC. He said FARC guerrillas "maintain camps in Venezuela."
He also offered that "Colombian guerrillas operate freely in Venezuela, and some ‘high command' officials occasionally
appear in public in Caracas." (As a result, reportedly due to these statements, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
subsequently rejected Palmer .)
Former President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia
echoed Palmer's frustrations "as a lack of support by Venezuela and Ecuador in the tracking and capture of these
terror insurgents," and for a total lack of cooperation. Furthermore, Bogota accused Caracas of harboring some
1,500 leftist Colombian rebels, a charge denied by Chavez.
Uribe accused President Rafael Correa of Ecuador of having ties to the FARC. A letter allegedly pulled from the computer of
a slain rebel leader showed that the FARC had supported Correa during his 2006 presidential campaign.
As well, Colombia's national police chief stated that evidence from a computer showed that the FARC had given
Venezuela's Chavez $100 million pesos when he was a jailed rebel leader. The computer apparently also revealed a US$300
million contribution to the FARC from Chavez. Venezuela is now ranked by the US as one of the principal drug transit
countries in this hemisphere.
Just a few years ago 50 leaders of the FARC
in Colombia were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of importing more than $25 billion worth of cocaine
into the United States and other countries. In January 2011, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos admitted that the FARC
had killed 460 government soldiers and wounded over 2,000 in 2010.
US indictment stated that the FARC currently supplies more than 50 percent of the world's cocaine, and more than 60 percent
of the cocaine that enters the United States, plus it said the FARC "used terrorism and violence to further [its] cocaine-trafficking
Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation
firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.