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Cablegate: Farc Documents Indicate That Eradication Financially Hurts

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RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//SCJ2/SCJ3/SCJ5//
RUWDQAC/US INTERDICTION COORD WASHDC
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR SENV KCRM PTER CO
SUBJECT: FARC DOCUMENTS INDICATE THAT ERADICATION FINANCIALLY HURTS
THE ORGANIZATION

REFS: A) BOGOTA 800 NOTAL B) BOGOTA 1014 NOTAL

1. (U) SUMMARY: Documents recovered from the laptop computers of
two recently killed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC in
Spanish) Secretariat members and subsequently released to the press
indicate that coca eradication causes financial hardship for the
organization. In essence, the FARC itself provides concrete proof
that aerial eradication negatively impacts on FARC operations. END
SUMMARY.

2. (U) On March 1, Colombian security forces launched a successful
operation against a FARC camp located just across the border in
Ecuador. During the operation the organization's second in command
and FARC Secretariat member, Luis Edgar Devia Silva (aka Raul
Reyes), was killed, and a number of computers seized (REF A).

3. (U) Shortly thereafter, El Tiempo, Colombia's leading daily, ran
an article on its website with a collection of documents taken from
Raul Reyes' computers. One was an e-mail to Reyes dated February
16, 2008 from alias Edgar Tovar, a FARC front commander making
reference to the negative effects that aerial spray and eradication
have had on the organization's ability to generate income. Mr.
Tovar says, "We have not been able to do any good business deals, we
are just now trying to close some deals, we have done some small
things, but the situation is difficult due to the eradication and
fumigation."
4. (U) On March 6, Manuel Munoz Ortiz (a/k/a Ivan Rios), another
member of the FARC general secretariat and commander of the FARC's
central block, was killed by one of his own bodyguards. The
bodyguard turned over Rios' laptop computer along with Rios' severed
right hand to prove that Rios was dead (REF B). According to a
March 12th article in the Colombian weekly magazine "Cambio,"
documents on Rios' computer show that he was concerned with
eradication because it decreased his organization's ability to
generate revenue from narcotrafficking activities. An email sent to
a subordinate said, "Make me a proposal on distribution percentages
that we receive from this business, taking into account the needs of
all fronts and also taking into account that the crisis in this zone
is worse than others, because the part where we would make a lot of
money charging our tax is subject to massive aerial eradication, and
the units there are living off of very small tax collections and the
funds for the radio station, workshops, schools, emergencies, and
war material are all at zero."
5. (SBU) COMMENT: The latest public estimates are that the FARC
generates at least 80 percent of its revenue from narcotics
production and trafficking. The information found on Reyes' and
Rios' computers demonstrates that eradication is effective in not
only reducing the productive capability of Colombia's coca
producers, but also in taking its toll on the finances of Colombia's
oldest terrorist organization. Destroying the coca of the FARC
destroys the funding that it would use to buy arms, ammunition,
explosives, food, and equipment. It also denies the FARC funding to
try and intimidate or corrupt public and private officials. Now
that Interpol has confirmed that the computers were not manipulated,
it is our hope that other documents regarding aerial eradication
will come to light. END COMMENT

Brownfield

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