Oct 18, 2012

Colombia Tries Again to End Drug-Fed War

William Neuman writes in the NYT
Despite three previous rounds of failed negotiations since the 1980s, many observers say there are reasons to hope that this time things could be different, including recent military successes by the government that have the guerrillas on the defensive. 
But the negotiations must not only convince members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, one of the world’s most tenacious armed groups, to finally lay down their weapons. They also aim to dismantle a major criminal enterprise that derives much of its income from drugs and is a prime source of cocaine to the United States.
For many in the organization, known as the FARC, the drug profits may be simply too rich to leave behind.In Bogotá, the capital, with its bustling neighborhoods and expensive restaurants, it is sometimes easy to forget the war. 
But in Toribío, a town in the Cauca region, where the FARC is defending its drug routes from increased army pressure, the nights are punctuated by the sound of mortar rounds. Soldiers and police officers patrol the streets, and many homes bear the scars of a large bomb set off more than a year ago.
It is difficult to believe that the war in Colombia can end without ending the war on drugs first. 

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