June 12, 2006 [LINK]

FARC attacks rival rebels

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have launched an offensive against the much smaller National Liberation Army (ELN) in the eastern province of Arauca, accusing their erstwhile quasi-allies of acting in the interests of the enemy "bourgeoisie." See BBC. Their official communique (see the FARC Web site, in Spanish) cited unspecified acts of aggression by the ELN, and warned farmers in that region not to get involved. The justification for this offensive seems contrived, however. This seems to be an effort by FARC to fill the power vacuum as ELN has been engaged in preliminary discussions for the last several months that may lead to an end to hostilities. FARC is much more involved in the illegal drug trade than ELN is, which is why it has greater resources and less inclination to end hostilities. It has essentially evolved over the years into an enormous, vicious mafia using revolutionary symbols and rhetoric as a cover.