Global Security Headlines

Monday, March 9, 2009

Colombia's Uribe Moves Forward



Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe seems destined for a historic third term as president of the South American Andean country.

A year ago in a daring dash across the border with Ecuador, Colombian military units raided a FARC base killing a top lieutenant and propagandist striking again in the inner circle of the implacable Marxist rebel group which has waged a war with Bogota for over 40 years, the longest running guerrilla war in Latin America.

A treasure trove of internal documents contained on three laptops grabbed during the incursion gave proof positive of support by Ecuador and Venezuela of the FARC, an embarrassment for both governments. While Venezuela's Hugo Chavez broke ties with Bogota, the two big trading partners have patched up differences for now.

Ecuador's Rafael Correa, in whose country was implicated in giving aid and comfort to the rebels including direct meetings, has demanded certain conditions before considering reestablishing ties. Colombia has paid little price for striking against the FARC in Ecuador.


President Uribe's steel nerve to defeat the FARC rebellion, restoring government control over more of the countryside, promoting a strong economy and fomenting a greater sense of security has generated an approval rating topping 80%. Last July, in an apparent flawless mission, a group of Americans and international darling Ingrid Betancourt were successfully freed after government troops tricked their FARC captors into releasing them.

Colombia is a firm US ally in the war on narcoterrorism and narcotrafficking despite recent Supreme Court decisions which may imperil future extraditions.


While rumors of paramilitary links persist, President Uribe has reset the table in Colombia for a generation. While his predecessors bowed before the FARC threat or were too comfortable with the narco factions, his first two terms in office have been a success.

Now the people of Colombia must decide by referendum if a third term, if he so desires, is merited.

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