Sunday, February 26, 2012


The FARC says it will no longer kidnap people, and claims it will release those people it has already kidnapped. A few thoughts come to mind:

First, the FARC has no credibility. I hope this is true, but their leaders are not trustworthy. Just read the official statement yourself (in Spanish)* as it is a tribute to bizarre thinking about how hard the FARC has tried to foster reconciliation (you know, by killing and kidnapping people).

Second, even if true this is essentially just saying we've decided only to keep killing people rather than abducting them for our own financial or political gain. In other words, it just means they return to the normal business of guerrilla war in a country where they have no support.

Third, the Colombian government's crusade to kill FARC leaders is paying off, as the guerrillas are reeling in leadership terms. Even if they renege, just making such a rhetorical concession is important. As always, though, we need to recognize that the government's effort has also led to the second largest displaced population in the world, second only to Sudan.

Fourth, and more troubling, is that cocaine income has made kidnapping revenue less necessary, so the FARC can take the cut without getting hit the way it would've 10 years ago. As long as Americans take drugs, the FARC will have a strong financial base to work with, which of course is an obstacle to ending the conflict.

*it is actually dated February 26, 2002. Apparently they FARC can also turn back time.


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