FARC Lashes Out – Terrorist Attacks In Colombia

Living Sprinter Life south of the border is a constant risk assessment.

Which border crossing should we use? Is that city too dangerous? Is this section of road safe? Should we eat at that food stand? Can we trust the cops in this country? Will this museum be the one where I finally snap and use my stun gun on an innocent ticket-taker?

RISK, RISK, RISK, a constant balancing act.

On June 29th FARC attacked police on the Pan American highway north of Medellin, killing one cop and wounding 4. Then on July 9th, the FARC executed five near-simultaneous attacks, including a deadly bomb. A car loaded with 220 pounds of explosives was detonated in a town plaza killing 6 and injuring over 70. The attacks occurred in the Cauca province, approximately 200 miles southwest of Bogota.

Time for a Sprinter Life risk assessment because Cauca happens to be directly in our path of travel.

Our crux is that we have to move south. In 2 weeks we fly out of Quito, Ecuador to the U.S. for a month long vacation. Quito is a long way from our current location when you’re driving in the Andes.

But this is no joke. We need to be careful south of Bogota. Roads have been closed intermittently and the military is reacting to the situation. The advice we’ve been getting from locals is that you don’t want to F@ck with FARC.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is the largest rebel insurgency in South America. It has long financed its political and military battle against the Colombian government by kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking. Since the early 1980s the FARC has been a top supplier of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs to its number one customer, the United States of America

In recognition of this, Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. aid outside of the Middle East and receives significant support in military funding to combat the guerrilla force.

The FARC has an estimated membership of 18,000 troops along with 200,000- 300,000 million in yearly drug revenue (mostly cocaine). In Colombia they are a force to be reckoned with.

Note: I’ve already established that The War On Drugs Cannot Be Won. But, if the U.S. would legalize drugs, the FARC revenue steam would be decimated and the organization would most likely follow. The same thing would happen to the cartels in Mexico – read more here

The current violence that just sprung up in Cauca demonstrates FARC’s willingness to engage in heavy combat with military troops. But why? What do they want?

It’s simple. They want control of the roads.

This entire region is vital for the FARC’s drug interests. It is a key drug trafficking corridor, connecting inland cocaine-covered mountains to the Pacific coast. Yes, the OCEAN!

Did you ever wonder how these guys are able to move so many drugs to the US? I did, especially given the hundreds of road blocks we’ve been through. When we were in Venezuela we started hearing for the first time that the drugs are sent by submarine! I was like, yeah right! But we heard it over and over again. A few days ago authorities here in Colombia seized 3 submarines in a craft workshop in the coastal town Neococli.

Each one of these vessels is capable of smuggling 3 tons of cocaine to the United States.

There are not a lot of roads that link the mountains to the ocean in Colombia, so it’s no wonder that the FARC wants to secure this southern corridor, nor that they are willing to fight the military.

On Friday, July 15th, 460 members of the Colombian special forces, along with the newly formed High Mountain Battalion, arrived in Cauca. We’re told they will install checkpoints and roadblocks at critical points throughout the region in order to limit guerrilla mobility. This will surely result in more violence.

So what is our risk assessment? Well, our plan is to backtrack 10 hours from Bogota up to Medellin and hang for a few days. We’ll wait and see how things shape up in the south. My hope is that the military will secure the Pan American south, and we’ll be able to cruise through without incident. 

In the meantime we’re looking forward to checking out Medellin.
TREE

Comments

  1. UPDATE: After 2 days of driving we arrived safe in Medellin this afternoon. It took longer than expected due to the fact that the main road was closed because of a huge mudslide. We had to backtrack through the tiny mountain roads to get around the slide, hence the planned one day drive turned into two! Super-joy.

    But we're checked into a nice hotel now. Stevie just had a hot shower. I have wifi. Kiki got a steak bone. All is well!
    TREE

  2. John Wilson says:

    You guys really have a desire to SEE!
    Cool what you guys are doing, would love to be a fly in the Sprinter to watch what goes on.
    Be safe, be cool.
    Good luck with getting to Quito!
    Cheers,
    John D. Wilson

  3. unbelievable. Be FARCin careful please.

  4. Melissa says:

    OMG!!! Please please be careful!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    HE WON'T LAST ALONE OUT THERE! GET IN THE FIGHT! MAVERICK! MAVERICK!

    MAVERICK'S RE-ENGAGING, SIR.

    I CAN'T LOSE THEM!

    ICE, I'VE GOT YOUR MIG. I'VE GOT HIM DEAD AHEAD. GOOD TARGET. GOOD TONE. I GOT TONE! FIRING

  6. I read an article about the submarines , drug traffickers further south off the coast of Ecuador. The Submarine operators will just ditch/ sink the subs and poof there is no evidence, (thats their idea, at least), can you imagine; " Pablo, I saw a boat that looked like the Coast Guard, so I sunk the 3 tons of Coca, sorry"……..

    I have to give up my Coke habit!

  7. And we wonder why we see US coastguard ships chillin in the port of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. FARC is just mad, cause they lost to Peru in the Copa America quarter finals. Muchisima suerte amigos! You got this!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Be Frickin' Farcin' Freakin' CAREFUL!

  9. mamatuyas says:

    What is, Is. I admire how you accept and work with what's Real. The shadows and lights of Human nature are acted out in every "Where", and every "Time", it seems. Since your lives are usually so drenched in excitement – may these few days be ones of some rest and comfort for you for a while. – Equanimity in the middle of Crazy! I like your style, Nomads.

  10. ZAINA SHUIBI says:

    This is so crazy you guys are like full on international reporters ! Be safe and hope to see you at the bbq when you get back!

  11. Quito!! Get to Quito. It’s beautiful.

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