Where are Latin America’s Terrorists?

The Colombian army’s killing of Alfonso Cano, head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will not eliminate that country’s largest guerrilla group anytime soon. But it does partly illustrate why international terrorism has not established a major presence in Latin America.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Colombian army’s killing of Alfonso Cano, head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will not eliminate that country’s largest guerrilla group anytime soon. But it does partly illustrate why international terrorism has not established a major presence in Latin America. Local security forces, bolstered by generous American assistance, have made the region a difficult place for foreign terrorists to set up operational cells – and other conditions also help to make Latin America less vulnerable.

One reason why the FARC has survived repeated blows to its leadership is the support that it receives from various groups, perhaps including government officials, in neighboring Ecuador and Venezuela. Fortunately, this backing appears to have declined in the last year or so, following improvement in Colombia’s relations with these countries.

Another factor contributing to the FARC’s survival has been its transformation over the years from a revolutionary organization into a narco-terrorist group that uses violence to support its criminal operations. Many former terrorist and insurgent groups in the region have undergone similar transformations over the last two decades.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/oP00YgA;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.