CARTAGENA DE INDIES, Colombia — In May 2003 a leak from the Bush Treasury Department indicated that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was about to add to its extensive narcotics traffickers list. This time it would add someone in Colombia.
OFAC would be using one of the enlightened Republican Congress’s new drug war laws, the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. I was pretty sure who the new addition would be. The word “kingpin” was a dead giveaway.
It had to be the guy who had attained high office; whose brother had organized 20 or more death squads and maintained a couple of them out at the family hacienda; whose cousin in the Colombian Congress was the mouthpiece for those death squads as well as a close friend and promoter of various well known narcotraficantes, including the legendary Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria; someone whose own father was wanted by the Colombian police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for cocaine trafficking when he was killed in an abortive kidnap plot; and who himself was removed from his position as mayor of Medellín for having well-known ties to drug runners.
Who else could it be, but master criminal and El Presidente himself, Álvaro Uribe Vélez?
Imagine my surprise when it was announced the next day, that it was not Uribe after all, but the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo) and 15 of their known or suspected leaders, even though I already knew they had to be a bad bunch of hombres. Five years before, in 1997, they were named a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State.
It couldn’t have been easy to make it to the top of two government lists at the same time (the terrorist list and the narcotraficantes list) and be the defining designees of a whole new hyphenated word, “Narco-terrorist”! That should keep them from gaining credibility with anyone with media access in the U.S.! I started wondering who these FARC guys were. Somebody needed to check them out, find out where they came from, and why.
New Year Greetings from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC)
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