In the latest chapter of his complex mediation between left-wing guerrillas and the right-wing Colombian government, Chavez has asked the FARC guerrillas to lay down their arms and release all hostages "in exchange of nothing" - as a humanitarian gesture.
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In order to clarify the complex relationship between FARC, Chavez, the Uribe government in Colombia, and the Bush administration, Real News analyst Pepe Escobar spoke with one of the foremost US specialists in South America, historian Forrest Hylton.
According to Hylton, FARC has not represented a popular revolutionary movement for a long time, and since the late 1970s have been engaging in extortion, kidnapping, and drug trade. However, unlike right-wing paramilitary forces that have cocaine distribution networks in Europe and the United States, FARC has played a relatively small role in South American drug production and trade.
The Bush administration appears uninterested in fostering a peaceful resolution to the problem, as imbalances in the Plan Colombia budget clearly suggest, but with support through Chavez, Correa, and the French government, there may be a political solution yet.
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