Brazilian Gang Enlists FARC Rebels for Drug Trade

Wall Street Journal WSJ-01SÃO PAULO, Brazil—This country’s largest criminal organization is recruiting members of Colombia’s once-powerful rebel group as it seeks heavy-weapons and other expertise to help expand its hold over Latin America’s drug trade, investigators and officials in both countries say.

Defense and foreign ministry officials from both nations are scheduled to meet Tuesday in the city of Manaus in the Amazon region to share information on how the Brazilian criminal organization, the First Capital Command or PCC, is working to hire guerrillas in Colombia, some of whom opted not to participate in peace talks in that country. Colombia’s government last year signed a peace pact with the Marxist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and most of its 6,000 fighters are now preparing to disarm.

“The PCC has been offering jobs to the FARC,” Colombia Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said, adding an investigation is under way. Between 5% and 10% of FARC members are expected not to accept the peace accord, Colombian officials have said. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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