This follow-up to an earlier post from The Strategy Page seen here: Colombia - Ecuador & Venezuela, Border History will provide you with a wealth of recent history from the region. Interesting reading!
March 10, 2008: More documents from FARC leaders laptops are showing up in the Colombian media. Apparently, these documents are both explosive in their implications, yet also consistent with what FARC has been doing for decades. FARC is known to be close to leftists in Europe, North America, and throughout South America. So finding email messages between all those people should not be a surprise. But it is, because many leftists have turned, officially, against FARC of late, because FARC has evolved into a criminal organization, paying its way via drug dealing, extortion and kidnapping. But many leftists, often privately, still support FARC, and believe the Colombian rebels were forced into a life of crime by circumstances.
March 8, 2008: Venezuela and Ecuador made peace with Colombia, with everyone apologizing to each other and pledging to cooperate in the future. Ecuador promised to drive FARC out of its territory, and Colombia promised not to make any more raids across the border. Both of these pledges are unlikely to be kept.
March 7, 2008: A second member of the FARC ruling council, Ivan Rios, was killed. There are now only five members of this council left. In this case, Rios was killed by his chief of security, who then cut off Rios hand, put it on ice, grabbed Rios’s laptop, and fled to the nearest police station and surrendered. Rios has a $5 million price on his head, which might have encouraged his security chief.
March 6, 2008: As the result of a U.S. intelligence operation, Thailand arrested wanted Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, who was negotiating to sell FARC millions of dollars of weapons, and deliver them by parachute to FARC camps in the bush. Bout has been a major illegal arms provider, since the end of the Cold War. He is wanted in many countries.
March 3, 2008: Ecuador protested that they shut down 47 FARC camps last year, and 16 the year before. But Colombia knows that these operations simply forced the FARC members to move, either back across the border into Colombia, or elsewhere in Ecuador. If a FARC group didn’t want to move, the Ecuadorian troops could be bribed. Ecuador has about 11,000 troops on the 590 kilometer Colombian border, and moved several thousand move up after the Reyes raid.
March 2, 2008: Venezuela and Ecuador strongly condemned the Colombian raid into Ecuador. Ambassadors were recalled, embassies closed and troops moved to the border. The contents of Raul Reyes laptop were dismissed as fabrications.
March 1, 2008: Using a combination of electronic reconnaissance (tracing phone calls) and nearly a million dollars in payments to informants, troops located the camp of the FARC second-in-command, Raul Reyes, just across the border in Ecuador. An aircraft was sent to bomb the camp, as a small infantry unit was sent across the border to examine the camp, confirm the kill, capture survivors and search for useful information. Reyes and 21 other FARC members were killed, and several wounded were captured. The troops found Raul Reyes laptop, and this produced a goldmine of email messages and documents. This information clearly showed FARC relationships with leftist leaders in Venezuela, Ecuador and around the world. FARC has been buying politicians for years, and it was long believed that FARC support from Venezuela and Ecuador was the result of financial support for the current presidents of those two countries. Now, however, Venezuela has become a major supporter of FARC, paying the rebels group $300 million recently, apparently to gain more influence in formulating FARC strategy, and preventing the rebel organization from being destroyed by government forces.