Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | March 2, 2012

The new landscape in Colombia’s war

Colombian authorities will switch focus from killing top FARC commanders to attacking FARC fronts. The “fronts” make up the bigger “blocks,” which are led by the ruling FARC secretariat.

This way, the armed forces will hurt the FARC structurally and financially. Colombian authorities are now equipped with better intelligence and mobility, and the plan is to disintegrate the cocaine smuggling, the arms trafficking, the manufacture of bombs, and the illegal mineral mining.

So far, the FARC have adapted by returning to even smaller units. Since 2008, they have relied more on landmines and on hit-and-run strikes.

Déjà-vu, non? – Except, unlike before when the AUC paramilitaries and the guerrillas were enemies for ideological reasons, there has been little or no conflict in some regions, especially in Catatumbo, between any of the guerrilla groups and the bacrim, Rastrojos and Los Urabeños have so far allowed the guerrillas to control coca cultivation in the countryside of Catatumbo while they dominate in the larger towns and handle the more lucrative drug transactions.

Moreover, the FARC and the ELN have begun co-existing and co-operating with each other in some regions.

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