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Colombian Drug War

             Petersburg Times article dated November 5, 2000 "Rising Violence Precede Plan Colombia'- it was reported that heavy fighting has erupted throughout Colombia between paramilitary units of the Colombian army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC. The FARC is a communist organization that for years has been trying to establish political control. Paramilitary gunmen identify themselves as former government soldiers that wear anti-guerrilla insignias upon the sleeves of Colombian army shirts. Fighting has always been escalated by the presence of the coca-plant, which produces the drug cocaine. In recent weeks the fighting has become heavier, but not because of the civil conflicts the two factions hold, rather the benefits the money coca production in southern Colombia can generate. .
             The United States has become involved in a perspective peace plan to end civil war and reduce the amount of illegal drug production. The plan is to underwrite funding for an alternative crop development program that will substitute food crops for coca and opium. Even with the escalation of rebel fighting the U.S. is determined to provide military involvement in order to establish control and reduce the civil conflicts that have claimed 38,000 civilian lives. The U.S. should help Colombia end its civil turmoil peacefully and terminate the illicit drug trade. January has been designated as the month U.S. will become involved and aid the Colombian military in retaining peace after 34 years of civil war. But what war will the United States be aiding? It has become increasingly difficult to separate Colombia's war on drugs from its war against communist rebels. .
             Historical Perspective.
             Since 1994, the intensity of guerrilla warfare has increased. The FARC has demonstrated during the past two years that it has the ability to confront and defeat the Colombian army units in combat.

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