The FARC received money from drug traffickers to sustain their struggle

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Flag of Colombia.

Cocaine: In the midst of pure nature raw material of one of the poisons of modern society is grown. Loneliness and no presence of official authorities offered producers the ideal for their business.

The FARC received money from drug traffickers to sustain their struggle

Cocaine: In the midst of pure nature raw material of one of the poisons of modern society is grown. The humidity of the soil and climate of the area are beneficial for the production of the coca leaf, which for many years has been the lifeline of most peasants. Loneliness and no presence of official authorities offered producers the ideal for their business. But this area was not entirely inhabited, and that these same conditions were a conducive loneliness and isolation to be the hideout of the guerrillas.

The cultivation of the coca leaf brought prosperity to the region “Miraflores”, a town near to San José del Guaviare, in the southern part of the plains, “I remember that there were captains of the army , Captain Pinilla and Captain Galindo, who came to say Miraflores was a New York in the jungle. I think so, because it was a village, with houses all of wood, but the money was there it was awesome. The bags of dollars keep coming in” says Yeni Guzman.

Yeni is not the real name of this hard plains, cheerful and suspicious character, who asks to remain anonymous because you never know who might read it. She has also been a victim of the silence of fear. She lived ten years in guerrilla territory and was under the basic law of conflict zones, where no one sees or hears, or speaks. “No one dared to make a comment, because you do not know who you're going to comment and if that person is going to tell the guerrilla that one is not in agreement”. At 16 years old she left her house carrying a cardboard box with four rags patched. She had and settled in Tame (Arauca) area north of the plains, and later in Miraflores, which at that time were areas dominated by the FARC. She moved to the region by the economic boom that existed in the eighties. “Any guy who picked leaf, could win in a month, maybe five million Colombian pesos (2.150 €), a bit silly money for a boy of 20 years”.

Living in Fear

This economic progress linked to drug trafficking, coincided with the increasing importance of the guerrilla groups, since from its inception until the eighties, there were no more than a marginal and eccentric phenomenon posed no real threat to the state. According to Yeni “people devoted to their farms, the cultivation of coca. Everyone was free to grow and sell their product. The major drug traffickers were there with planes to buy the goods. Farmers, farm owners gave the guerrillas a percentage, but it was not a forced thing at that time”.  In recent years the military leadership of the FARC is defined and found in an easy way to get money through extortion or blackmailing the famous drug traffickers. Thus, both groups help each other, first the guerrillas allow the peasants to cultivate coca for the drug trafficking in the areas they dominated, and secondly, the guerrillas received money from drug traffickers to sustain their struggle.

The villagers are gathered in the square. Like almost every Sunday, waiting for the weekly arrival of the commanders for the weekly chat. Its streets are of soil or dust, and in the rainy season become quagmires. The houses are wooden and appear somewhat improvised. “The guerrillas were the heads of the people” says Yeni. “One of their slogans is that they do not have any prisons. So what you do poorly you pay with your life: if you steal, they kill you if you smoke crack users, which is the drug, they kill you”. People wait for the rebels to appear between green cloak that covers around the village, and are expectant of the attitude that arise. If they arrive smiling and relaxed they will  talk about Lenin, Marx and communism, then later it turn into a party, dancing with the girls and get drunk. However, if the tension is reflected in their faces and coldness in his voice, at least one person will not sleep in his bed that night.

You can smell death. The crowd is afraid they do not know if they are the ones that are on the list of subversives. “Oh, sounds unfading glory. Oh, immortal joy. In furrows of pain, the goodness germinates now” Colombia’s national anthem and the anthem of the FARC. “And suddenly you see gathered there, and begin to lend a roll: for such a thing, because so and so, because here is a rules... and regrettably, Pepito Perez come forward, Johnny come forward... and of course, around the world in awe, funky”. From that time forward the calls are moored in front of people and taken to Mt. No one will ever see them again. “It's scary to see how people are gone. And then they come with all their nose to tell the people to go and bury them. It is very cruel. That was very cruel, very painful”. It is both the terror felt that nobody cries. Before the guerrillas no cries because they may take it as a way of opposing what they do, and the result would be fatal.

These are not the only dangers and fears which the inhabitants of the region are exposed. “Anytime you could hear the engines of an airplane army across the sky and had to go running to the mountains, to hide, because the army, when you saw the plane fly over, they were already throwing shots. And they were not going to ask who is a civil and who is a guerrilla”.

The violent actions of the guerrillas towards the inhabitants of the village were increasing. Surveillance was extreme and anyone could be accused of an army informant. “Living in a town where you can’t greet a policeman, but how are you not going to greet a policeman? Is absurd! The town begins to be in a crossfire, can’t greet a policeman, but neither can you greet only a guerrilla, and that is where they start killing people like crazy on one side and the other”, says Yeni.

The FARC received money from drug traffickers to sustain their struggle
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