Colombia's Expanding War

Rapidly deteriorating conditions in the Colombian border regions of Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela point to misplaced priorities in the Colombia government’s Plan Colombia and the United States’ contributions to the strategy. In the moment of re-evaluation provided by the transition in the Colombia government in August when Álvaro Uribe Vélez took over the Colombian presidency and the debate in the United States in the last year over anti-terrorism policies and foreign aid, analyses by indigenous people who have been affected by the Colombian conflict suggest modifying these strategies and creating a more inclusive social agenda. Such a shift in policy, they argue, would help keep the struggle from spinning out of control.

Simple geopolitical calculations relating to the balance of military forces, the size of coalitions, and the "us versus them" mentality that characterized the Cold War no longer serve as effective approaches for understanding the world’s wars--especially in the case of Colombia. Nevertheless, the underlying economic crises (poverty and social dislocation) and anti-imperial concerns that heated Third World conflicts during the Cold War have not disappeared. Rather, in areas like Colombia’s Putumayo region and the marginalized border areas of neighboring countries, aspects of the economic globalization that has accompanied the collapse of communism have sharpened these crises and thus aggravated intra-state conflicts in two unique ways.

First, some of Colombia’s insurgency movements, abandoned by the superpowers, have been forced, or have opted, to develop increasingly closer ties to international organized criminal elements (such as mafia groups, arms dealers, and drug traffickers) or to engage themselves in criminal activities to exploit the ever-growing global black market in kidnappings, drugs, and arms. In other words, the distinction between war and organized crime has been blurred, giving insurgent groups in some areas--such as the Putumayo--and under certain conditions the ability to offer what the state cannot: an economic alternative to poverty and the means through which to express frustration at the status quo. These areas have therefore become the focus of the U.S.-Colombia strategy. Second, post-Cold War economic policy changes such as the increase in the number of free trade agreements and the decrease in attention to the social impacts of structural adjustments have deeply affected rural conditions in Colombia and its neighbors. Policies commonly associated with the current process of economic globalization in the Third World--elimination of agricultural protections, increased natural resource exploitation, and decreased social spending--are exacerbating poor economic conditions in conflict areas. The plummeting prices for coffee and other key agricultural products, environmental destruction, and social marginalization have occurred as a result of these policies and have created a breeding ground from which insurgents--who are increasingly well-funded--can recruit new members.

U.S. strategy (both in its support for Plan Colombia and its own Andean Regional Initiative) has focused heavily on the criminal component of the conflict. Its unbalanced approach ignores many of the negative social and economic conditions that allow recruitment to be successful in the first place. As the contributors to this Cultural Survival Quarterly issue attest, Plan Colombia’s current approach has not only failed to affect the financing of Colombia’s insurgents, but is in fact aggravating the economic and environmental chaos that aids recruitment efforts by rebel groups. Based on their unique on-the-ground perspectives, indigenous leaders from Colombia and neighboring countries provide a variety of alternatives to deal with both the criminal aspects and the deeper political-economic issues that are presently feeding off one another to create a rapidly expanding regional conflagration.

The Evolution of Insurgency

Three types of intra-state conflict can be identified within the international system: ideological, ethnic, and economic/criminal. Although all three elements can be present and intertwine with one another in the same conflict, only the first and last factors are relevant in the case of Colombia. Ideological wars are typically defined by disagreements over what "personalities, principles, or policies should rule the state" and the result is that "the opposing sides seek control of the state, not its division or destruction," wrote Chaim Kaufman in Security Studies in 1996. By contrast, economic conflicts are those in which the primary motivation of the insurgents is to maximize their own economic gain and associated political power, usually through the illegal exploitation of natural resources such as diamonds or the production of illicit goods like drugs. Whereas the ideological movements of the past sought to win over the "hearts and minds" of the citizenry at the early stages in their quest for political power, before the routinization of violence set in, today’s combatants who fight for economic gain need not trouble themselves with public approval. Actually, an environment of fear and intimidation is often better for economically motivated movements because chaos permits them to continue their criminal activities.

But the distinction between economic/criminal conflicts and the other two types of conflict--ideological and ethnic--is not always clear. Problems arise because most insurgency movements that originated in the Cold War generally retain the use of Marxist ideological rhetoric--even those groups whose current leadership may actually be interested more in personal economic gain. Obviously, the mere presence of ideological discourse is not necessarily indicative of the motivating force that drives particular intra-state conflicts. The difficulty arises when trying to assess whether a particular insurgency group is primarily driven by ideology and engages in criminal behavior to finance its struggle, or is motivated solely by economic gain and uses ideology as a cover to maintain legitimacy within the international community.

The Colombian conflict epitomizes this dilemma. The origins of the largest and most strategic guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), can be traced to the heart of the Cold War, the mid-1960s. At that time, the FARC was associated with the Communist Party of Colombia, adhered to Marxist ideology, and was composed primarily of communist idealists. Since the end of the Cold War the FARC has continued to espouse Marxist ideological rhetoric and to insist on the profound transformation of the state as the reason for the continuation of its 35-year struggle. At the same time, the FARC has become increasingly involved in illicit activities such as the drug trade as a means of financing its war effort, and has engaged in systematic violence--kidnappings, massive forced displacements, massacres, and recruitment of child soldiers. These actions explain why 90 percent of Colombians do not favor the FARC’s struggle and reject the idea that the insurgents are truly interested in capturing the "hearts and minds" of the general populace and creating a better Colombian society.

The origins of the FARC cannot be understood without reference to the period known as La Violencia (1946-1966) that claimed the lives of some 200,000 Colombians. The source of the violence was partisan fighting generated by contentious presidential elections and the control of the state apparatus by the two main political parties. As the conflict expanded from relatively uncoordinated partisan violence at the local level to official and semi-official government-sponsored violence, the armed forces began to massacre defenseless peasants and a network of professional killers began to assassinate with impunity those who rose up against the government. The direct result of this reign of terror was the formation of guerrilla resistance movements.

Unable to resist the terrorist regime through normal political channels, peasants took up arms as their last option. Although the Violencia period came to an unofficial end in 1957 with a power-sharing agreement between the Conservative and Liberal parties, the guerrilla groups created during the conflict stayed active. In these early stages of development, the FARC was composed of only a few hundred fighters who were driven by their communist ideology. The guerillas received support from the Soviet Union and Cuba--primarily arms, training, and scholarships. As time wore on, the guerrillas’ numbers slowly expanded as they began to develop a financial base independent of their international patrons.

The FARC’s involvement with the drug trade began in the 1970s when drug traffickers settled on Colombia as their base for manufacturing cocaine for export to the United States. Along with drug manufacturing came the need for cultivating coca. Coca was, for the most part, cheaper to import from Bolivia and Peru during this time, but when the United States pressured these countries to reduce supply, drug traffickers discovered that the plant could grow in Colombia as well. A coca and poppy boom ensued as peasant colonizers, who had moved to the Colombian frontier, gradually shifted their cultivation activities from basic foodstuffs to illicit crops. The sudden creation of a vast coca and poppy market opened the floodgates for greater colonization of the hinterlands and indigenous territories as Colombians from every walk of life went there to pursue the riches presented by these crops. Because the government exerted very little control in these new coca-colonization zones, anarchy and violence reigned until guerrillas moved in to impose basic order.

Prior to the coca boom, the FARC had developed a special relationship with the colonizers, who found themselves under continuous threat of expropriation by large landowners. In many areas, the FARC offered the option of armed resistance against the landowners; this arrangement proved to be both popular and effective with colonizers. In exchange for these services, the guerrillas imposed a 10 to 15 percent "tax" or tribute on coca producers, which is still collected today. The Washington Post in February 2001 reported evidence showing that the FARC is directly involved in trafficking drugs, is connected to Brazilian and Mexican drug cartels, and operates drug-processing laboratories in its camps.[1]

During the 1980s, the FARC’s criminal component remained small, as it actively pursued a political solution through peace negotiations and incorporation into mainstream politics.[2] Its involvement in crime accelerated, however, with the loss of international financial support for communist insurgencies that accompanied the end of the Cold War. Throughout the 1990s the FARC steadily increased its involvement in the drug trade from simple taxation to actual trafficking and expanded its involvement in other criminal activities such as kidnapping, extortion, car theft, and illegal gold mining in order to augment its income and military capabilities.

Through illicit activities, the FARC has compiled an impressive war chest. Current estimates of the FARC’s total annual income range from $300 million to $900 million, with revenues from the drug trade thought to be between $170 million and $500 million.[3] One reason for this growth is that the amount of coca under cultivation in Colombia has tripled over this time period, aiding the FARC because more coca means more tax revenues. Because 50 percent of the coca cultivation is located in FARC-controlled territory, it is reasonable to estimate that their drug tax revenue has at least doubled over the past six years. This increase in economic power has coincided with a rapid increase in the number of guerrillas the organization now has under arms. In the 1970s, it was a small guerrilla force operating on nine different fronts; it grew slowly and steadily to 15 fronts in 1982.[4] In 1994, the Colombia government estimated that the FARC had approximately 7,000 fighters operating on 60 different fronts.[5] By 2000, U.S. intelligence sources revealed that the FARC’s strength had more than doubled, to 18,000 fighters operating on 80 different fronts.[6]

For the most part, the FARC appears to be treating its income from drugs and kidnapping as a means to achieve greater power or even a separate state within Colombia, rather than for the self-enrichment of individuals. A great deal of anecdotal evidence indicates that recruits and perhaps some of the old guard are increasingly motivated by monetary rather than ideological concerns. According to Maximiliano Donoso, an Ecuadoran government official, those who join the FARC "earn $550 [per month], have food to eat, and a uniform to wear."[7] Local leaders from Putumayo claim that paramilitaries offer 800,000 Colombian pesos (US $400) per month to indigenous youth who accept their offer because alternate economic opportunities do not exist. Recruitment efforts in neighboring countries are equally business-like. One Ecuadoran guerrilla captured by the Colombian military claimed that he had accepted an offer of $300 a month to join the movement because he could not find work in Quito.[8]

Poverty and Alienation in Ecuador

Throughout the Andean region, links between poverty and increasing guerilla activity suggest that government efforts, at the behest of international lending institutions, to increase exports and decrease social spending are contributing to the conditions for the expansion of the Colombian conflict. In provinces bordering Colombia that have a long history of extractive industries and state neglect, the environmental devastation from oil and mineral extraction along with the continually falling export prices for key commodities such as coffee have resulted in crushing poverty and social dislocation. As indigenous leaders from the Colombian Putumayo attest (see also page 18 this issue), poverty and social dislocation are the two biggest factors in the recruitment of indigenous youths into armed groups. Evidence in neighboring border regions, and in Ecuador in particular, shows that Colombia’s armed groups are increasingly filling the economic void.

While indigenous inhabitants of the border regions have noticed spill-over of the conflict in all five of Colombia’s neighbors, the situation in the Sucumbíos province of Ecuador has been the best documented. Ecuador’s national poverty rate has doubled in the last five years to more than 70 percent,[9] bleaker even than in war-torn Colombia, where the most recent figures place the poverty rate at 64 percent.[10] The poverty rate in the Sucumbios province on Ecuador’s northern border has recently been cited as high as 90 percent.[11] Though Ecuador’s Northern Amazon region has provided the country with tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue since the early 1970s, the provinces near the Colombian border have felt the environmental impacts of unchecked oil development with virtually no reinvestment in social services.

In the Sucumbíos and Orellana oil provinces, severe contamination from more than 400 oil wells has resulted in environmental concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals at 10,000 times the permitted levels, the suspected cause of 985 cancer cases and a miscarriage rate 2.5 times greater than normal.[12] Indigenous groups have been fragmented by oil development, and the dusty towns that have accompanied colonization are well known for extraordinarily high prostitution and homicide rates. The population lacks basic healthcare, schools are empty, and studies have placed the deficit in basic residential services--such as potable drinking water, electricity, and phone lines--as high as 96 percent of all households.[13]

Protests have increased throughout the Amazon region--particularly in the Sucumbíos and Orellana provinces--accompanying the construction of a new heavy-crude oil pipeline. In February 2002, amid a swell of guerrilla activity in the area, unusually violent protests broke out in the Ecuadoran oil regions over the lack of reinvestment of oil profits and "neo-liberal" government policies. Several demonstrators were killed as oil workers, indigenous organizations, and local government leaders clashed with the Ecuadoran military during protests that shut down 60 oil wells and also destroyed the offices of the state-run electric company scheduled for privatization. Clearly, Ecuadoran government policies, guided by stringent IMF/World Bank guidelines, are continuing to heavily antagonize the very communities that are crucial to resisting the expansion of the Colombian conflict.

Carlos Castaño, the former leader of the paramilitary group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), admits that he dispatched his men to Sucumbíos because the Ecuadoran government was not doing enough to stop the guerrillas.[14] Over the past two years, the Ecuadoran military has discovered three abandoned guerrilla camps along with a number of coca-processing laboratories associated with the paramilitaries. Indications also suggest that Ecuadoran armed groups are beginning to appear, among them the Revolutionary Amazonian Combatants (CAR), the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Ecuador (FARE), and the paramilitary Legión Blanca (White Legion). The result is that the these groups have been fighting a largely proxy war in Ecuador, using Ecuadoran recruits against one another for control of territory. Kidnapping and extortion are on the rise, while violence has reached epidemic levels. In Lago Agrio, the provincial capitol of Sucumbios, more than 100 people were murdered in the fist six months of 2002 in a town of only 25,000 people.

The infiltration of Colombia’s insurgents into Ecuador can be attributed in part to their ability to offer impoverished inhabitants economic opportunities. It has long been common knowledge in the area that Ecuadoran workers on coca plantations receive higher salaries than either oil or construction workers. For 10 years, youth from indigenous communities in the area have crossed the Putumayo River into Colombia to work on these plantations, earning between $5 and $15 a day.[15] In the past few years, however, guerrillas have been increasingly present and have supported a hefty portion of the local economy. As one Ecuadoran congressman put it, "The FARC produced an important commercial exchange of goods and services that has stimulated the economy of the region."[16] In July 2002, Ecuadoran police reported that 60 percent of the population of the Sucumbíos province was involved in commerce with the FARC.[17] Both the Ecuadoran police and the Catholic Church claim that the guerillas and paramilitaries are active in recruiting Ecuadorans. While these efforts have been only modestly successful, the continued economic slide and community fragmentation could increase participation in insurgent activities.

The Aggravation of Poverty

Unfortunately, instead of addressing these dire economic and social problems, Plan Colombia--by focusing on the insurgent’s income base--has exaggerated them in many areas. Plan Colombia, now supported as a part of the U.S. Andean Regional Initiative, was to be a $7.5 billion program designed to assist the Colombia government in its efforts to reestablish governance in rural provinces, alleviate poverty, and combat drug trafficking. When the strategy was conceived in 1999, the Colombian government was expected to cover the first $4 billion of the cost, with the difference made up by donations from the United States, the European Union and Japan. While 70 percent of this funding was to be focused on alternative development projects, very few resources actually materialized. The United States’ highly militarized contribution generated a firestorm of criticism, making other potential donors squeamish about putting monies into a controversial program. Consequently, the requisite resources to create a viable alternative to coca production did not materialize and the amount of coca under cultivation surged by nearly 25 percent in the program’s first year, to 419,000 acres, despite herbicide spraying, new military aid, and the crop substitution campaign.[18]

In the at-risk border regions of neighboring countries, and in indigenous territories in particular, repercussions from Plan Colombia are aggravating already unsavory conditions (see also page 49 this issue). In the Sucumbíos province, there have been cross-border herbicide spraying damage, destabilizing refugee flows, and a steep rise in homicides. The large influx of refugees fleeing the violence in Colombia is contributing to the high level of poverty and straining the Ecuadoran government’s meager resources. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 7,740 Colombians have officially solicited refugee status in Ecuador over the past two years (see map page 64).[19] Nevertheless, most unofficial estimates assume that thousands more Colombians are crossing the border each year into Sucumbíos without applying for refugee status. These refugees represent a new group of recruits for Colombia’s various insurgent movements.

Within the funding allocation for Plan Colombia, smaller sums of money were set aside for Colombia’s neighbors to deal with spill-over effects. But the $8 million allocated for social development programs in northern Ecuador have not been nearly enough to deal with the poverty caused by decades of government neglect. The other $12 million Ecuador received to prevent the expansion of the Colombian conflict was allocated to security assistance designed to contain, militarily, the various insurgent groups trying to enter Ecuador. Along with this money, the Ecuadoran government has spent an increasingly large amount of its scarce resources to mobilize 12,000 soldiers to the border region. Such a large mobilization of troops has brought with it a host of other problems, including the alienation of the local population victimized by the inevitable marauding of soldiers. Unfortunately, even with its increased presence, the Ecuadoran military has been unable to prevent the infiltration of Colombia’s insurgents into its territory. (see also page 58 this issue) As the indigenous people who speak out in this issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly attest, the situation in the Sucumbíos province is not uncommon.

Clearly, Plan Colombia is creating new problems and amplifying old ones throughout the Andean region. As border communities’ economies are harmed by environmental damage from herbicide spraying and their cultural integrity is undermined by refugee populations, more individuals fall outside traditional safety nets and are recruited into the conflict. While a stronger military and police presence in border areas is necessary to keep the peace, the anti-insurgency tactics of harassing local communities and community leaders only contributes to the pervasive sense of social unrest and alienation.

Responses to Insurgency

The voices in this issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly emphasize that successful responses to the conflict must address the real economic and social concerns of the local indigenous peoples who are in the eye of the Colombian storm. Indigenous leaders from Putumayo--noting the salaries that the FARC pay and the extreme fragmentation of communities due to herbicide spraying, resource extraction, and continuous military and paramilitary harassment--estimate that a staggering 6,000 indigenous youth have left their communities to fight with the FARC. According to Armando Valbuena, president of the National Colombian Indigenous Organization (ONIC), 80 percent of the Colombian conflict is fought in indigenous territories.

Throughout the Andean region, indigenous communities with strong cultural organizations and ideologies of political autonomy have managed to resist involvement. In areas of Colombia such as the department of Cauca, long processes of cultural revitalization and community trainings on political concepts have paid off with successful non-violent resistance to involvement in the conflict (see also page 39 this issue). Some indigenous leaders in the southern Amazon region of Ecuador argue that strong community cohesiveness--in part because of a lack of oil development in the region--has kept coca plantations and armed groups from making inroads into provinces such as Pastaza and Morona Santiago.

Even if the violence subsides or ends, however, post-conflict prospects for many groups might not be much brighter--the war-torn Putumayo region in Colombia has been divided up and leased to 28 oil companies, and mining and hydroelectric mega-projects are underway in other indigenous territories. Large landowners usurp indigenous land for sugar cane or palm oil plantations; such resource plans lead indigenous leaders to comment that Plan Colombia herbicide spraying is more directed at clearing the way for oil development than at actually undermining guerrilla activity. As Valbuena lamented during the conference in Quito, Ecuador, "The intention of Plan Colombia is not to eradicate coca, it is to eradicate the Indians for being inviable, to eradicate the Indians for being against development, to eradicate the Indians because otherwise they would have to consult us."

Such statements, and the perceptions that motivate them, are indicative of the extent to which indigenous communities have lost faith in the United States and its Colombia policy. Blatant disrespect for the concerns of indigenous and campesino communities, leaders argue, can never lead to peace in the long run. In Colombia, indigenous leaders have noted that peace cannot exist until the concerns of those who join insurgencies are addressed. In creating an effective response for Colombia and its neighbors, a number of lessons will have to be drawn from the failings of Plan Colombia, while new and innovative strategies will have to be created.

In policy planning and in practice, indigenous and campesino communities must be treated as allies rather than as obstacles. To that extent indigenous leaders have three recommendations:

1) Halt herbicide spraying of coca crops and use the money to bolster alternative development schemes.

2) Supply more money to support the consolidation of indigenous cultural-political organizations to offset the fragmenting effect of globalization.

3) Include indigenous and civil society groups at the table in peace negotiations. While Brazil and Venezuela have the resources to deal with their own frontiers, Ecuador and Peru need additional resources. Nevertheless, both the Ecuador and Peru governments need to ensure that the national resources they do have are distributed in a more equitable manner. The fact that the areas in question produce a large percentage of their respective nations’ wealth should be reflected by a greater reinvestment of those resources in those regions.

On the macro-economic level, the Colombia and U.S. governments must recognize how trade liberalization and structural adjustments are aggravating poverty and re-igniting ideological grievances in the Andean region. Specifically, the free market ideology that has led to the end of agricultural protections and price-support systems threatens to leave tens of millions of people in the region without local markets for their products. Some of the damage--like the global destruction of the coffee market--has already been done and requires innovative solutions. Other policies are still in the works, and can be adjusted. Specifically, the Free Trade Area of the Americas and the World Trade Organization promise to limit the ability of countries like Colombia to protect their small agricultural sectors. These multi-lateral trade agreements also limit the ability of local communities and provincial governments to control their own natural resource base or deny contracts to multinational corporations--exactly what indigenous communities are in many cases demanding.

In addressing the effects of macro-economic issues on the spreading Colombia conflict, the debt burdens of the Andean countries are paramount. International financial lending institutions’ continued requirements that these countries reduce government spending make it difficult to imagine their respective governments being able to make the necessary social investments to restore faith in government in the affected regions. Even more critical for indigenous communities, the resource-extraction plans tied to debt restructuring that place local land rights at a disadvantage to multinational companies leave little hope for real peace. Throughout the region, debt burdens must be reduced through massive relief programs in order to free up additional government funds in the region to combat poverty.

U.S. policy toward Colombia and the Andean region should reflect the dual impact that globalization has had on intra-state conflicts. While limiting the funding to insurgent groups can be an important facet of government strategies, they must also focus on the economic and social factors that still lead young people to drug traffickers, insurgency movements, and terrorist organizations. In the Andean region, economic trends are widening the gaps between the rich and the poor and consolidating control over economies and natural resources at the international level, to the detriment of local democracy. Millions of people remain trapped in poverty, an enormous pool of potential recruits for the growing number of insurgency and terrorist organizations that have been able to enrich themselves through economic and criminal activities. While military power may remain an element of self defense against those who have already chosen the path of violence, more dynamic approaches are needed to solve the deep economic and social problems that may cause future generations to take up arms. As the analysis of Plan Colombia by indigenous leaders in this Cultural Survival Quarterly suggests, the failure to take local economic and political issues into consideration may lead current counter-insurgency strategies to produce the opposite of the desired effect.

1. Jared Kotler, "FARC Linked to Brazilian Drug Lord," The Washington Post, February 20, 2001,

2. There were guerrillas who laid down arms for policies in the 1980s. Unfortunately, these leaders were systematically assassinated for their good will by then-army and police paramilitary forces. This retribution led, as can be imagined, to a great deal of suspicion and trepidation on the part of the surviving guerilla commanders.

3. Brian Michael Jenkins, "Colombia: Crossing a Dangerous Threshold," The National Interest, Winter 2000/01, p. 49.

4. Eduardo Pizzaro, “La Insurgencia Armada: Raíces y Perspectivas” in Gonzalo Sánchez and Ricardo Penaranda, Pasado y Presente de Violencia en Colombia, Bogotá: Cerec, 1991.

5. Castilla, El Conflicto Armada y las Manifestaciones de Violencia en las Regiones de Colombia, p. 59.

6. Juan O. Tamayo, "Colombia’s Rebel Forces Build Ranks, Stir Fears of Civil War," Miami Herald, December 11, 2000.

7. Diario La Hora, "Peligro en la frontera es real," April 26, 2001, p.B2

8. Yaco Martinez, "Ecuatoriano en el ELN," El Universo, May 3, 2002, p. 9A

9. U.S. State Department, "Background Notes, Ecuador", August, 2002. r/pa/ei/bgn/2906.htm#econ. OxfamUK cites the current poverty rate at 80%, August, 2002. The most reliable data can be found in UNDP, "Informe Sobre El Desarrollo Humano Ecuador 2001," which lists the national poverty rate as 62.6% in 1998 (p.12), before the severe recession. Given the deep contraction of the economy, all indications are that current rates are significantly higher.

10. World Bank, "Colombia Poverty Report," March, 2002, p. ix. The figure is for 1999.

11. AmazonWatch, 2002, The UNDP “Informe Sobre El Desarrollo Humano Ecuador 2001” placed poverty in the entire Amazon region at 69.3%, with rural poverty rates in the region at 75% (p. 12) in 1998, before the recession.

12. Jesus Esteban Sadava, "Amazonía, Petroleo y Salud," Diario El Comercio, Section A5, July 8, 2002.

13. Diario Hoy, "Orellana y Sucumbíos por dentro," March 1, 2002.

14. Diario Expreso, Interview with Carlos Castaño, July 1, 2002, p.12.

15. Gustavo Abad, "Cachis’ sirven a las FARC," El Universo, May 16, 2001, p. 5.

16. Diario Expreso, "Motivos ocultos del paro," March 1, 2002, p. 4

17. Arie Farnum, "Colombia’s Civil War Drifts South into Ecuador," Christian Science Monitor, July 11, 2002.

18. Christopher Marquis, "U.S. Promotion of Legal Crops Fails to Stem Colombia’s Coca," The New York Times, March 30, 2002.

19. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,

David Edeli ( is a researcher and consultant for the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon and a program associate of the Program on Non-Violent Sanctions and Cultural Survival at Harvard University. Kyle Richardson, a former Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador, is studying international relations and international economics at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

References and further reading

Brown, M.E. (1996). The International Dimension of Internal Conflict. Cambridge: MIT Press. Pp 13-23.

Oficina del Alto Comisionado para la Paz, Observatorio de Violencia. (1999). El Conflicto Armada y las Manifestaciones de Violencia en las Regiones de Colombia, Bogotá: Castilla, C.E. P 59.

Chernick, M. (1991). Insurgency and Negotiations: Defining the Boundaries of the Political Regime in Colombia. Doctoral thesis, Columbia University. Pp 105-116.

Diario El Comercio. (2001, July 9). Paramilitares entrenan a ecuatorianos. P A2.

Diario El Universo. (2001, April 5). Policía: Ecuatorianos sí se entrenan con las FARC. P 7.

Fritsch, P. (2002, July 8) An oversupply of coffee bean deepens Latin America’s woes. The Wall Street Journal.

Kaldor, M. (1999). New & Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era. Palo Alto, California: Stanford University Press.

Kaufman, C. (1996, Autumn). Intervention in Ethnic and Ideological Civil Wars: Why One Can Be Done and the Other Can’t. Security Studies.

Kotler, J. (2001, Feb 20). FARC Linked to Brazilian Drug Lord. The Washington Post. Viewed at

Molano, A. (1992). Violence and Land Colonization. In Violence in Colombia: The Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective. Bergquist, C., Penaranda, R. & Sánchez, G., Eds. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Books. P 212.


Sánchez, G. (1992). The Violence: An Interpretive Synthesis. In Violence in Colombia: The Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective. Bergquist, C., Penaranda, R. & Sánchez, G., Eds. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Books. Pp 88-91.

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