Colombia Hunts 300 FARC Dissidents Doing ‘Pure Organized Crime’

BloombergDissident Colombian guerrilla fighters refusing to lay down their arms have morphed into “pure organized crime” dedicated to cocaine production in the nation’s southern jungles, according to the government.

Confusion and hold-ups in the implementation of a peace accord after voters rejected the initial deal may have undermined commanders’ control over their troops, allowing the 300-strong faction of former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to get established, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said.

“If the command and cohesion of the FARC is weaker today, one of the causes is because of those two months of delay,” Villegas said in an interview Wednesday in Bogota. “In the uncertainty, they preferred the easy money from drug trafficking.”

The pro-treaty majority of the FARC, which Villegas says represents about 95 percent of the total force, are deploying to zones where they’ll hand over their weapons to a United Nations mission. The government has estimated that the ending of the conflict will boost economic growth by 1 percentage point or more per year. …

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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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