Many of you may have heard of the FARC – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. For those who haven’t, they are the biggest guerrilla group that is made up of a bunch of 9,000 rural peasants who have terrorised Colombia in the past 50 years. Their Marxist hatred of bourgeois is their excuse for their prolonged ransoms (many of the victims have been captured for 10 years or more) and violent mistreatment of ordinary civilians. You may ask how the peasants got money for their AK-47s.. Well, from ransoms and drug trades. Some have said that the guerrillas had been given rifles from Hugo Chavez (because he actually recognizes the FARC as a proper army. This shows you that you can’t really trust anyone who goes to Cuba to be treated by doctors who use medical equipment that is probably 50 years old. So yea, a mental note – DON’T go to Venezuela!).
Colombia has been rather helpless since the birth of FARC in 1964. For 40 years Colombia lived under the haunting shadows of the FARC. Peace talks didn’t change anything. This was until President Alvaro Uribe, the president before the current incumbent, made the radical change. During his reign between 2002–2010, he took initiatives with a series of ‘Operations’ to pursue the FARC. He succeeded in removing some medium-level commanders and top leaders including Raúl Reyes and Ivan Rios, saving an unprecedented large number of prominent political hostages, police and army officers, and pushing the terrorist group from the borders of major and minor cities alike to the jungle. Since then, FARC’s activities have been confined to rainforest areas (but still, we’re talking about one third of the country area) and the borders of Ecuador and Venezuela.
Juan Manuel Santos became the current president after serving Uribe as the Defence Minister. However, since he has become the country’s president, he’s decided to resume the pacifist approach to the civil war, an approach that had never worked in the past! Peace talks with the FARC started in November last year. November 2013 has been set as the deadline. You may wonder why the peace talks should last for one year – I’ll cover this in another article.
The 25th of January proves once again that you can’t talk peace with these animals. FARC kidnapped 2 policemen this day. Later, 3 civilians of Gran Tierra (an energy company) and a soldier were kidnapped. Then in a confrontation 4 more people died and 2 others injured. The FARC demanded a bilateral ceasefire. The casualty figures may look small – but it’s not about the size of the number, it’s about the proof that you can’t reason with barbarians.
The only good news of the recent events is that the government reacted immediately to warn the dissidents that authorities will not be pressured by their recurring terrorising acts. Yesterday the FARC announced that they planned to release the latest hostages.
Watch this space.