Forwarded from Anthony (Reply to Domhnall)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Feb 5 06:21:15 MST 2002

Reply to Domhnall

Thanks for the questions: My answers follow the quesitons.

1) " Much of the British and Brit-controlled press has carried stories
about the FARC having developed implosion bombs - specifically these
allegations are made in connection with the three Irish Republicans
arrested whilst studying your peace-process (and the up to thirty others
alleged to have spent time in the FARC-controlled zone). Has you heard
anything of this rumour?"

No. But I would be interested in knowing what an 'implosion bomb" is.

2) "Someone said that the FARC moving its attack to towns was a sign of
military strength as opposed to weakness. Surely, the hardening of
anti-FARC attitudes in the Bourgeoisie is a consequence of the increasing
threat to their position of priviledge. Clearly, you are correct that the
FARC are clearly pushing for a deal and that must be achieved from the
basis of a strong hand."

'Someone' was way off base.

The FARC had gained a tactical advantage over the military where it could
mass a greater number of soliders, with greater firepower, in small battles
against police stations in small towns, or even fairlry large patrols or
positions of soldiers (up to 500) and win the battle.

That tactical advantage was lost about a year and a half ago. The reason is
Plan Colombia. Plan Colomiba has givent he combian army sophisticated spy
planes with infared, photographic radar, and radio intercept capabilities
that have allowed the Colombian army to track virtually all movements of
FARC units. New helicopters have allowed the army to quickly transport
relatively large numbers of troops to ambush FARC units. They have also
given the army a tremendous tactical firepower advantage it did not have
before. Taken together, the FARC has lost battlefield superior in every
sense - and has lost all battles involving more than a handfull of soldiers
in the last year.

Morale is another important factor. Three years ago FARC soldiers NEVER
defected. Army soldiers frequently went AWOL. Now the nightly news
regularly features interviews with defecting FARC soldiers. Why FARC morale
has declined is related tot he FARC's military losses, but more importantly
to the FARC's loss of political support among the oppressed classes.

3) "You seem to think that the FARC have lost support in urban areas, what
about their rural hinterlands?"

My opinion is that the FARC retains substantial support in some rural
areas, but has lost ground politically in the countryside, too. The issue
of land reform, of confiscating and breaking up the great traditional
haciendas, and the huge new haciendas aquired through legal or illegal land
theft, has been put on the back burner by the FARC. In the despeje - the
demilitarized zone - the FARC has made zero attempts at land
redistribution. I don't know why, but it appears that the FARC has been so
focused on making a deal, that they have used the despeje to demonstrate
how 'reasonable' they really are, even when they exercise almost complete
political and military power over a large territory.

It should be noted that about 75% of the 40,000,000 people who live in
Colombia, live in towns and cities.

All the best, Anthony

Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list:

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list