Merchant of Death
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Blood from Stones

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The FARC's World is Shrinking
The concerted effort by the United States and most of the European Union, along with a few countries in Latin America, are gradually cutting off the operational areas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Yesterday's OFAC designation of eight members of the FARC's international delegation is another step in that direction. The FARC is a designated terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU.

These International Commission members represent the FARC in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, and Canada.

As I wrote in this paper for the NEFA Foundation, the FARC's international structure has been one of the most underestimated elements of support for the terrorist organization.

Until recently the conventional wisdom was that the FARC, historically a rural-based insurgency with little regard for international opinion, had not successfully developed an international support network. The computer documents taken from the camp of Raúl Reyes, the senior FARC commander killed in Ecuador March 1, show a far different reality.

Not only is there a structure that was being nurtured and financed by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, able to reach out to weapons traffickers in Australia and Belarus, but the FARC has successfully set up front groups across Latin America and has established a significant presence in Europe.

In addition, there has been a fairly close relationship between the FARC and the ETA of Spain and the Provisional IRA (P-IRA). The relationship included an extensive exchange of information and technology transfers, particularly in the area of homemade explosives.

It ironic to note that many of the children of senior FARC commanders live and work in Europe, and at least one of them, the son for the now-deceased Reyes, act on behalf of the FARC. Many went to the best universities, paid for by funds for the revolution.

The Reyes documents make clear that the Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana (CCB), a multi-national umbrella organization composed of different national organizations, is funded and directed by the FARC, and used a a recruitment and fundraising instrument. The CCB leadership, founded with Chávez's assistance and encouragement, takes pains not to disclose the links except to select cadres.

None of this is new as tactics for revolutionary or clandestine movements. But it is now clear that following the collapse of the FARC used its ceasefire and peace talks with the government (1999-2002) to turn its attention to generating international support.

Now that structure is under severe stress, but can be rebuilt with the support of Chávez, Ortega in Nicaragua, Morales in Bolivia etc. But at least now people will know who they are dealing with, and a piece of the mask is chipped away.

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