US embassy cable - 86BOGOTA9347 (original version)

PROSPECTS FOR COLOMBIA'S GUERRILLA WAR (original version)

Identifier: 86BOGOTA9347
Wikileaks: View 86BOGOTA9347 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Bogota
Created: 1986-07-08 23:29:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KPRP PINS MILI PTER CO
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
P 082329Z JUL 86
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9394
INFO USCINCSO QUARRY HEIGHTS PN
AMEMBASSY QUITO
AMEMBASSY CARACAS
AMEMBASSY PANAMA
AMEMBASSY LIMA
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BOGOTA 09347 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: KPRP, PINS, MILI, PTER, CO 
SUBJECT: PROSPECTS FOR COLOMBIA'S GUERRILLA WAR 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: THE GUERRILLA WAR IN COLOMBIA IS 
STALEMATED: THE GUERRILLAS ARE UNABLE TO CONTROL AREAS 
OF SIGNIFICANT POPULATION OR ENGAGE IN SET-PIECE 
BATTLES, BUT THE GOVERNMENT IS UNLIKELY TO DESTROY 
THEM.  FIGHTING MAY INCREASE FOLLOWING THE INAUGURATION 
OF THE BARCO ADMINISTRATION.  THE GROUPS OUTSIDE THE 
PEACE PROCESS WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT, BUT THE MAIN 
LONG-TERM GUERRILLA THREAT IS THE FARC: WELL-ARMED, 
WELL-FINANCED, POLITICALLY DURABLE, AND (FOR NOW) IN THE 
PEACE PROCESS.  THE COLOMBIAN ARMED FORCES ARE HAMPERED 
BY PROBLEMS OF PERSONNEL, INTELLIGENCE AND EQUIPMENT, 
AND WOULD BE HARD PRESSED TO ENGAGE ALL COLOMBIA'S 
GUERRILLA GROUPS AT ONE TIME.  THE ARMED FORCES AND 
PRESIDENT-ELECT BARCO ARE AWARE OF THESE DEFICIENCIES 
AND WILL SEEK TO RECTIFY THEM.  END SUMMARY. 
 
 
A NEW BALL GAME? 
---------------- 
 
2. (C) FROM NEW PRESIDENT A NEW APPROACH: COLOMBIA IS 
ABOUT TO ENTER A NEW STAGE IN ITS THIRTY-YEAR BATTLE 
WITH GUERRILLA INSURGENCY.  VIRGILIO BARCO AS THE NEW 
PRESIDENT IS EXPECTED TO CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT'S 
ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE GUERRILLA FORCES RANGED AGAINST 
IT.  BARCO HAS TOLD US OF HIS INTENTION TO MAKE THE 
PEACE PROCESS CONFORM TO THE INTERESTS OF THE COLOMBIAN 
GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE, AND REDUCE GUERRILLA MANIPULATION 
OF THE PROCESS.  HE WILL OFFER SOME ECONOMIC AND 
POLITICAL REFORMS, CONCENTRATED IN RURAL AREAS WHERE THE 
INSURGENCIES ARE STRONG.  HE HAS ALSO SAID THAT HE WILL 
STRENGTHEN THE ARMED FORCES.  HOW THE GUERRILLA FORCES 
WILL REACT TO BARCO'S TWO-HANDED POLICY IS THE KEY 
QUESTION. 
 
3. (C/NF) THE INSURGENT LINE-UP: THE COLOMBIAN 
INSURGENCY IS A COMPLEX AND CONTRADICTORY PHENOMENON. 
THE LARGEST OF COLOMBIA'S GUERRILLA GROUPS, THE 
REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES OF COLOMBIA (FARC), IS AT 
PRESENT THE LEAST ACTIVE MILITARILY DUE TO ITS 
PARTICIPATION IN THE PEACE PROCESS.  THE FARC MAINTAINS 
AROUND 4,000 PERSONNEL.  COLOMBIAN ARMY SOURCES INDICATE 
THAT THIS NUMBER INCLUDES ONLY HEAVILY ARMED FIGHTERS, 
WITH SOME "FRONTS" (LOCAL FARC UNITS, DIVIDED ON A 
GEOGRAPHIC BASIS) ABLE TO QUINTUPLE THEIR STRENGTH 
THROUGH USE OF LIGHTLY ARMED AUXILIARIES.  A SEPARATE 
AND RECENT ESTIMATE DIVIDED FARC GUERRILLAS BETWEEN FULL 
AND PART-TIMERS, AND CAME UP WITH 3,500 UNDER EACH 
HEADING.  THE FATE OF THE PEACE PROCESS WILL DETERMINE 
WHETHER THIS CONSIDERABLE FORCE IS BROUGHT INTO THE 
SCALES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.  THE REMAINING INSURGENT 
GROUPS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY SPECTRUM -- THE M-19, 
NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY (ELN), POPULAR LIBERATION ARMY 
(EPL), AND THE MINOR GUERRILLA GROUPS HAVE LARGELY 
ABANDONED THE PEACE PROCESS, ALTHOUGH TWO FRONTS OF THE 
ELN REMAIN INSIDE.  OFFICIAL COLOMBIAN ESTIMATES OF THE 
STRENGTH OF THE REMAINING MAJOR INSURGENT GROUPS 
(INCLUDING BOTH FULL AND PART-TIME GUERRILLAS) ARE AS 
FOLLOWS:  AROUND 650 EPL, ABOUT THE SAME NUMBER OF ELN, 
AND OVER 1,400 M-19.  WE DO NOT HAVE GREAT CONFIDENCE IN 
ANY OF THESE ESTIMATES.  WHEN COLOMBIAN SECURITY FORCES 
WISH TO LOOK SUCCESSFUL, THE NUMBERS GO DOWN; WHEN THEY 
TALK ABOUT NEEDING MORE RESOURCES, THE NUMBERS GO UP. 
IF FORCED TO CHOOSE, WE WOULD GUESS THAT ACTUAL STRENGTH 
IS HIGHER THAN OFFICIALLY ESTIMATED, RATHER THAN LOWER. 
 
4. (LOU) INSURGENT GAME PLANS: THE TACTICS OF THESE 
GROUPS HAVE TRADITIONALLY CONSISTED OF EXTORTION, 
KIDNAPPING, AND AMBUSHES OF COLOMBIAN SECURITY FORCES. 
THE AVAILABLITY OF NARCO MONEY IN RECENT YEARS MAY HAVE 
REDUCED THE PROPORTIONATE ROLE OF EXTORTION IN TOTAL 
GUERRILLA FINANCING.  URBAN TERRORISM REMAINS A PROBLEM, 
BUT POLICE HAVE RECENTLY BEEN FAIRLY SUCCESSFUL IN 
HUNTING DOWN TERRORIST SAFE HOUSES.  POSSIBLY AS A 
RESULT, M-19 AND ITS ALLIES HAVE CONCENTRATED IN RECENT 
MONTHS MAINLY ON RURAL OPERATIONS IN THE VALLE DEL CAUCA 
(CALI) AREA.  AN IMPORTANT FACTOR SINCE LATE 1985 HAS 
BEEN THE FORMATION OF AN ALLIANCE OF ALL THE GUERRILLA 
GROUPS WHO ARE OUTSIDE THE PEACE PROCESS, INTO THE 
NATIONAL GUERRILLA COORDINADORA (CNG).  THIS 
ORGANIZATION, WHICH HAS BEEN DOMINATED BY M-19 TO THE 
POINT THAT SOME GUERRILLAS HAVE THEMSELVES COMPLAINED, 
HAS PROBABLY ENABLED THE GUERRILLAS TO MASS LARGER 
NUMBERS FOR PARTICULAR ATTACKS THAN WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE 
BEEN POSSIBLE.  SHOULD THE FARC ONE DAY LEAVE THE PEACE 
PROCESS AND JOIN THE CNG, POSSIBILITIES WOULD OPEN FOR 
EVEN LARGER-SCALE OPERATIONS. 
 
 
FARC: ENEMY NUMBER ONE 
---------------------- 
 
5. (C/NF) FARC -- PATIENT AND DISCIPLINED: WHETHER AS 
PART OF THE CNG OR OTHERWISE, THE FARC REPRESENT 
POTENTIALLY THE GREATEST DANGER TO THE COLOMBIAN 
GOVERNMENT.  UNLIKE THE OTHER GUERRILLA GROUPS, THE 
FARC'S DEDICATION TO A REVOLUTIONARY TRIUMPH IS TEMPERED 
BY PATIENCE AND DISCIPLINE.  THE FARC LEADERSHIP IS TOO 
SOPHISTICATED TO EXPECT POWER BASED ON A SHORT-TERM 
MILITARY VICTORY.  THIS ATTITUDE CONTRASTS WITH THAT OF 
THE M-19, WHICH CONCENTRATES ON SPECTACULAR, BUT 
ULTIMATELY COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, ACTIONS SUCH AS THE 
PALACE OF JUSTICE SEIZURE, THE ATTACK AGAINST THE CIUDAD 
JARDIN SUBURB OF CALI, OR THE ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE THE 
MINISTER OF GOVERNMENT.  THE KEY TO THE FARC'S STRATEGY 
APPEARS TO BE ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE PEACE PROCESS. 
THE FARC HAS USED THE AMBIGUITIES OF THE PEACE TREATY TO 
GAIN MORE RECRUITS, AS WELL AS INCREASED NUMBERS AND 
TYPES OF WEAPONS, WHILE ALSO ACQUIRING SOME POLITICAL 
RESPECTABILITY.  FARC LEADERS HAVE DEVOTED CONSIDERABLE 
EFFORT TO CONSOLIDATING THEIR CONTROL IN AREAS UNDER 
THEIR INFLUENCE.  THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS OF FARC 
ATTEMPTS TO REACH AGREEMENTS WITH THE ELN AND THE EPL IN 
AREAS WHERE THEY COMPETE TO ENABLE JOINT OPERATIONS SUCH 
THAT THE FARC'S PARTICIPATION WOULD BE COVERT.  SUCH AN 
ARRANGEMENT WOULD GIVE FARC LEADERS PLAUSIBLE DENIAL FOR 
TERRORIST ACTS WHILE ALLOWING THEM TO MAINTAIN CONTROL 
OF THEIR AREAS OF INFLUENCE.  MEANWHILE, COLOMBIAN 
MILITARY SOURCES CLAIM THAT, OUT OF ANXIETY TO AVOID 
BREAKING THE TRUCE, PRESIDENT BETANCUR ORDERED THE ARMED 
FORCES NOT TO ENTER AREAS OF FARC ENCAMPMENTS.  THE FARC 
HAS BEEN THE LEADER AMONG THE GUERRILLAS IN FORGING 
HIGHLY PROFITABLE LINKS WITH THE NARCO-TRAFFICKERS, 
WHOSE AREAS OF ACTIVITY ARE FREQUENTLY IN TRADITIONAL 
FARC OPERATING AREAS.  IN VIEW OF THESE TANGIBLE 
BENEFITS, THE FARC PROBABLY DESIRES TO MAINTAIN THE 
PEACE PROCESS IN ITS PRESENT FORM. 
 
6. (C/NF) FARC-UP IN CONGRESS: PERHAPS THE GREATEST 
BENEFIT ACHIEVED BY THE FARC IS THE MODICUM OF 
RESPECTABILITY DERIVING FROM ITS ENTRY INTO COLOMBIAN 
ELECTORAL POLITICS VIA ITS FRONT PARTY, THE PATRIOTIC 
UNION (UP).  THOUGH THE UP'S VOTE TOTAL WAS NOT 
SPECTACULAR, THE PARTY HAS INJECTED THE FARC INTO 
MAINSTREAM POLITICS.  REPORTING INDICATES THAT THE FARC 
INTENDS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ITS SEVERAL SEATS IN 
CONGRESS TO PRESS FOR A UNITED OPPOSITION FRONT TO THE 
NEW BARCO GOVERNMENT.  SUCH A FRONT WOULD FEATURE 
ALLIANCES WITH CONGRESSMEN FROM ANY PARTY OR BACKGROUND 
DISAFFECTED WITH THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT.  THE UNITED 
FRONT IDEA IS OVER-AMBITIOUS BUT NOT TOO FAR-FETCHED. 
ASSORTED LIBERALS AND NEW LIBERALS ALLIED READILY WITH 
THE UP IN THE MARCH LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS.  A "NEW 
LIBERAL" LEADER SAID BEFORE THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 
THAT HIS PARTY WOULD SEEK TO RECOUP ITS STANDING BY 
ALIGNING ITSELF WITH ANY PARTY IN THE CONGRESS, 
INCLUDING THE UP.  THE UP/FARC LEADERS HOPE THIS 
STRATEGY WILL EVENTUALLY MAKE THEIR GROUP THE LEADING 
OPPOSITION FORCE IN COLOMBIA.  THEY WILL PUSH THE PUBLIC 
ARGUMENT THAT THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES ARE MUTUALLY 
COMPROMISED LOOK-ALIKES. 
 
7. (C/NF) FARC FALLBACK TO ARMS: EVEN WHILE IT PLAYS ITS 
LEGAL POLITICAL "CARD," THE FARC HAS NOT LOST SIGHT OF 
ITS AMBITION TO ACHIEVE PRIMACY AMONG COLOMBIA'S 
GUERRILLA FACTIONS.  THE FARC LEADERSHIP MAY BE 
CONSIDERING JOINING THE CNG.  THE GOAL OF SUCH A MOVE 
WOULD MOST LIKELY BE TO DOMINATE ALL COLOMBIA'S 
GUERRILLA MOVEMENTS, SUBJECT THEM TO FARC/COMMUNIST 
PARTY DISCIPLINE, AND LEAD THEM BACK INTO THE PEACE 
PROCESS.  FARC LEADERS PRIVATELY ARGUE THAT ALL GROUPS 
COULD CONTINUE MILITARY OPERATIONS WHILE INSIDE THE 
PEACE PROCESS, DENY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEM, AND THEREBY 
ATTAIN A MEASURE OF PROTECTION AGAINST COLOMBIAN 
GOVERNMENT ACTIONS -- AS THE FARC HAS DONE. 
 
 
M-19: VIOLENCE IN A VACUUM 
-------------------------- 
 
8. (C/NF) SEEKING ATTENTION, FACING ATTRITION: WHILE THE 
FARC POSES THE GREATEST LONG-TERM THREAT TO COLOMBIA, 
THE 19TH OF APRIL MOVEMENT (M-19) CONTINUES TO DOMINATE 
THE HEADLINES BOTH IN COLOMBIA AND ELSEWHERE.  THE 
M-19'S RECENT HISTORY IS REPLETE WITH GROSS 
MISCALCULATIONS.  THE CONTINUING ATTRITION OF THE M-19'S 
LEADERSHIP, REPRESENTED BY THE DEATHS OF MEN SUCH AS 
JAIME BATEMAN THREE YEARS AGO, IVAN MARINO OSPINA IN 
CALI IN AUGUST 1985, ANDRES ALMARALES IN THE PALACE OF 
JUSTICE SIEGE LAST NOVEMBER, AND ALVARO FAYAD IN A MARCH 
1986 BOGOTA FIGHT, HAS LEFT THE MOVEMENT WITH MANY 
PISTOLEROS BUT FEW POLITICALLY ASTUTE CHIEFS.  M-19'S 
CONTINUED ATTEMPTS TO GO FOR THE ELUSIVE KNOCKOUT, WITH 
ACTIONS LIKE THE SEIZURE OF THE PALACE OF JUSTICE AND 
THE CIUDAD JARDIN ATTACK, SHOW THE UNREALITY OF ITS 
POLITICAL CALCULATIONS.  AS A RESULT, ITS POPULAR 
SUPPORT -- WHICH WAS ONCE QUITE LARGE (IN A 1981 OPINION 
POLL, 40 PERCENT NATIONALLY EXPRESSED "SOME SYMPATHY" 
FOR M-19) -- IS DECLINING. 
 
9. (C/NF) LEADING FROM WEAKNESS?: SEVERAL ACTIONS ATTEST 
TO THE M-19'S INFLATED SENSE OF ITS CAPABILITIES.  THE 
FORMATION OF THE INTERNATIONALIST "AMERICAS BATTALION" 
IN DECEMBER 1985 WAS AN OSTENSIBLE ATTEMPT TO FORM A NEW 
"BOLIVARIAN ARMY" TO LIBERATE ANEW THE ANDEAN 
COUNTRIES.  BUT THE AMERICAS BATTALION HAS NOT ENJOYED 
MUCH SUCCESS IN ITS CHOSEN THEATER, THE CAUCA VALLEY. 
DESPITE THEIR WEAKNESS IN NUMBERS, THE M-19 LEADERSHIP 
CONTINUES TO PLAN TO ESTABLISH AN ALTERNATE GOVERNMENT 
IN VALLE DEL CAUCA DEPARTMENT AND CONVENE A NATIONAL 
"CONGRESS" THERE IN AUGUST 1986.  THE M-19 HAS SAID IT 
WILL NOT RPT NOT SEEK AN ACCOMMODATION WITH THE BARCO 
REGIME, BUT WILL CONTINUE ITS OPERATIONS AS USUAL. 
(ATTEMPTS TO SEEK PAPAL MEDIATION, IN THE NEWS LATELY, 
WERE ALMOST CERTAINLY MADE WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT 
THEY WOULD FAIL IMMEDIATELY.  THEY WERE PUBLICITY 
GESTURES ONLY.) 
 
 
PROBLEMS OF THE COLOMBIAN ARMED FORCES 
-------------------------------------- 
 
10. (C/NF) RESOURCES THINLY STRETCHED: AS IT PREPARES 
FOR A SITUATION WHICH MAY CHANGE CONSIDERABLY OVER THE 
NEXT YEAR, THE COLOMBIAN ARMED FORCES CONFRONT SEVERAL 
MAJOR PROBLEMS.  ONE IS A SHORTAGE OF PERSONNEL: THE 
COLOMBIAN ARMY TOTALS ABOUT 70,000 MEN.  GIVEN THE 
GEOGRAPHIC SPREAD OF THE GUERRILLA FORCES, THE 
INHOSPITABLE TERRAIN, THE NEED TO DEFEND MANY FIXED 
HIGH-VALUE TARGETS, AND THE SHORTAGE OF DEPLOYABLE 
FORCES, THE ARMY IS ALREADY STRETCHED THIN.  SHOULD THE 
PEACE PROCESS UNRAVEL AND THE FARC RESUME THE ATTACK, 
THE ARMY WOULD BE HARD PRESSED.  ONE GENERAL OFFICER 
SPECULATED THAT 15,000 ADDITIONAL TROOPS WOULD BE 
REQUIRED, SHOULD THE FARC SHIFT TO A WAR FOOTING. 
 
11. (C/NF) SEEING THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY: LACK OF 
INTELLIGENCE IS ANOTHER MAJOR PROBLEM FOR COLOMBIAN 
MILITARY PERFORMANCE.  ALTHOUGH THE ARMY HAS CONDUCTED 
OPERATIONS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS AGAINST THE AMERICAS 
BATTALION IN VALLE DEL CAUCA AND CAUCA DEPARTMENTS, THE 
LACK OF GOOD AND READILY AVAILABLE MILITARY INTELLIGENCE 
PREVENTS A CLEAR PICTURE OF THE SITUATION.  AT LEAST IN 
THIS THEATER, THE ARMY APPEARS BOGGED DOWN AND UNABLE TO 
BRING ITS CONCENTRATED STRENGTH TO BEAR.  THE POLICE 
(MORE THAN 60,000 STRONG, AND PARA-MILITARY) ALSO PLAY A 
LARGE ROLE IN COUNTER-INSURGENCY IN ALL AREAS, BUT 
PARTICULARLY IN THE CITIES.  INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION 
APPEARS MORE AVAILABLE IN THE CITIES, AND GUERRILLA 
OPERATIONS THERE HAVE BEEN HURT RECENTLY. 
 
12. (C/NF) ARMS SHORTFALLS:  QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT IS YET 
ANOTHER ISSUE.  GOC OFFICERS ARE CONVINCED THAT THE 
QUALITY OF ARMS IN THE HANDS OF THE GUERRILLAS, 
PARTICULARLY THE FARC, ACTUALLY EXCEEDS THAT OF THE 
ARMY'S WEAPONS.  GIVEN THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE 
TO THE GUERRILLAS THROUGH EXTORTION AND NARCOTICS, THEIR 
ABILITY TO PURCHASE SUCH ARMS IS UNQUESTIONED.  SOME 
COLOMBIAN OFFICERS FEEL THAT THE GAP CAN BE BEST 
ADDRESSED THROUGH THE APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY, 
STRESSING IN PARTICULAR THE USE OF MORE HELICOPTERS TO 
PROVIDE LIFT AND MOBILITY. 
 
 
THE YEAR AHEAD: DRAWING THE BATTLE LINES 
---------------------------------------- 
 
13. (C) SLIPPING STALEMATE?: THE PRESENT MILITARY 
SITUATION IS IN MANY RESPECTS A STALEMATE.  THE 
COLOMBIAN ARMY IS UNABLE TO DEFEAT THE GUERRILLAS 
CURRENTLY RANGED AGAINST IT.  FOR THEIR PART, THE 
GUERRILLAS ARE UNABLE TO MAKE INROADS AGAINST THE 
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT IN AREAS OF DENSE SETTLEMENT, BUT ARE 
EXPANDING IN SOME ISOLATED RURAL REGIONS -- PARTICULARLY 
WHERE THEY ALREADY HAVE TRADITIONAL SUPPORT.  THE 
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM HOLDS THAT A GOVERNMENT IS LOSING 
WHEN MERELY KEEPING AN INSURGENCY AT BAY.  THE SHIFT IN 
STRENGTH MAY BE GLACIAL, BUT OVER TIME THE DECAY OF THE 
GOVERNMENT'S POSITION IS REAL.  THERE ARE MORE 
GUERRILLAS ACTIVE NOW IN COLOMBIA, AND THE LEVEL OF 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE IS HIGHER, THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE THE 
CIVIL WAR OF THE 1950'S -- BUT DURING THAT WAR, MOST 
GUERRILLAS WERE LIBERALS, NOT COMMUNISTS.  THE SITUATION 
IS NO CAUSE FOR PANIC.  THE NUMBER OF GUERRILLAS IS 
SMALL IN PROPORTION TO THE SIZE OF THE COUNTRY, AND 
COLOMBIANS CAN TOLERATE A LOT OF VIOLENCE.  BUT IT CAN 
SCARCELY PROMOTE EASY SLUMBER FOR COLOMBIAN LEADERS. 
 
14. (C/NF) THE COMING YEAR:  AS THE PRESIDENTIAL 
INAUGURATION APPROACHES, ALL PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT 
ANTICIPATE CHANGES IN THE PRESENT REALITY.  IN PRIVATE 
TALKS AND IN HIS SIX-POINT PEACE PROGRAM, 
PRESIDENT-ELECT BARCO HAS SERVED NOTICE THAT THE PEACE 
PROCESS MUST AND WILL CHANGE.  THE ARMED FORCES CHIEF OF 
STAFF EXPECTS AN INEVITABLE (BUT PROBABLY GRADUAL) 
INCREASE IN GUERRILLA ACTIVITY AFTER THE INAUGURATION, 
AS THE GUERRILLAS REACT TO BARCO'S HARDER LINE.  THE 
PAYOFF WOULD, HOPEFULLY, COME IN A YEAR OR TWO WHEN THE 
GUERRILLAS HAVE EITHER LAID DOWN THEIR ARMS OR BEEN 
DEALT WITH FORCEFULLY.  BOTH MILITARY AND CIVILIAN 
LEADERS HAVE EXPRESSED TO US THE NEED FOR ADDITIONAL 
RESOURCES TO MEET THIS EXPECTED UPTURN IN GUERRILLA 
ATTACKS.  WHILE CONTINUED AND EVEN EXPANDED ACTIVITIES 
BY GROUPS SUCH AS THE M-19, ELN, AND EPL, SEEM 
INEVITABLE, THE WILD CARD REMAINS THE FARC.  MANUEL 
MARULANDA VELEZ (AKA TIROFIJO), TOP LEADER OF THE FARC, 
HAS HINTED THAT THE GROUP WILL NOT ACCEPT AN ATTEMPT BY 
BARCO TO CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME.  IN AN INTERVIEW 
PUBLISHED IN THE COLOMBIAN WEEKLY "SEMANA," TIROFIJO 
DECLARED THAT THE FARC WILL NOT ACCEPT ULTIMATUMS FROM 
THE BARCO GOVERNMENT, VIEWING SUCH DEMANDS AS AN ATTEMPT 
TO RUPTURE THE PEACE PROCESS.  HE ALSO DECLARED THAT HIS 
GUERRILLAS WOULD NOT DEMOBILIZE UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT 
IMPLEMENTED THE FULL RANGE OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL 
REFORMS DEMANDED BY THE FARC.  HIS STATEMENT AGREES WITH 
REALITY, AS WE SEE IT FOR THE FARC: WITHOUT GUNS, THE 
FARC WOULD BE A NEGLIGIBLE MINI-PARTY.  WITHOUT GUNS, 
THEY WOULD HAVE NO ATTRACTION FOR NARCO MONEY.  WITHOUT 
GUNS, THEY WOULD SWIFTLY FADE FROM PUBLIC ATTENTION.  WE 
CONCLUDE THAT, THEREFORE, THEY WILL FIND A PRETEXT TO 
KEEP THE GUNS.  THE SPARRING HAS BEGUN.  OVER THE COURSE 
OF THE YEAR FOLLOWING THE AUGUST 7 INAUGURATION, WE 
THINK THE FIGHT BETWEEN THE GOC AND ITS GUERRILLA 
ENEMIES WILL GET HOTTER BEFORE IT GETS COLDER. 
 
 
GILLESPIE 

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