Sun Setting on FARC Rebellion

Key link to past now dead, and Colombia's efforts at last paying off against rebels
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2008 10:14 PM CDT
Students pretend to be dead during a protest in Mexico City, March 27, 2008, in front of the Colombian Embassy, to remember four Mexicans killed during a Colombian Army cross-border raid on FARC camp.   (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
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(Newser) – FARC chief Manuel Marulanda’s death might not be a fatal blow to Colombia's Marxist rebels, but the Economist sees an organization on the way out anyway. In its mid-'90s heyday, FARC boasted a force of 19,000 soldiers that threatened Bogota, the capital; today, the group is fragmented, with perhaps 9,000 troops, thanks to the strong-arm policies of president Alvaro Uribe.

“They are reduced militarily, isolated politically, have a reduced social base, and we are cutting their finance,” Colombia’s army commander said. FARC's post-Cold War turn to drugs and kidnapping to pay the bills inspired the government; Marulanda’s successor, Alfonso Cano, is rumored to be a moderate despite some talk that he wants to “do away with the state.”