Monday, July 11, 2011

An Unseen Drama

The remote Cañon de las Hermosas, a FARC hideout.
In high, remote mountains in southeast Colombia, a drama is unfolding which could sway the future of Colombia - perhaps.

Cano with Marulanda, who died in 2008.
Colombia's military says that 1,000 soldiers have surrounded FARC leader Alfonso Cano in the Central Range of the Andes Mountains, along the border between Huila and Cauca departments. The mountains are steep and the weather often freezing cold, as this El Tiempo story grippingly reports. Army mules, used to carry supplies, have tumbled off of trails. Soldiers suffer from hypothermia. The guerrillas have also sowed the area with land mines, which have decapitated the legs of 41 soldiers. 18 soldiers have died and 49 been injured in the past year, according to El Tiempo.

At the same time, the armed forces have bombed FARC forces and managed to occupy one of Cano's camps only one day after he'd fled it, according to the paper.

The military may very well kill or capture Cano, just as they did FARC 'foreign minister' Raul Reyes in Ecuador in 2008 and FARC military commander Mono Jojoy in September 2010. During the same period, other guerrilla leaders, including FARC founder Manuel Marulanda also died.

Nevertheless, the guerrillas, altho weakened, have appointed new leaders and carried on. Certainly, their income from the cocaine economy has helped, and will continue to do so as long as drugs are prohibited.

In what probably is the government's best case scenario, Cano's death would cause the FARC to fragment into scattered, uncoordinated bands without any ideology - except greed. But that is the situation in Mexico, which is no model to aspire. toward.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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