FARC rebels continue drug trade and resist eradication of illicit crops despite ongoing peace talks with Colombian government
FARC rebels are still involved in drug trafficking and are stoking resistance to eradication of illicit crops despite ongoing peace talks with the government, the head of the Colombian anti-narcotics police said on Tuesday.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia's (FARC) did not yet give up the profitable drug business.
The FARC rebels have been funding their five decades of war from drug business, which they have to quit due to a partial accord reached with the government.
The Marxist FARC rebels and the government of President Juan Manuel Santos have been holding peace talks in Cuba since late 2012.
In 2014, FARC agreed to break ties with drug traffickers, help eradicate illegal crops such as coca which is used to make cocaine, and help fight the production of narcotics.
A final accord can be reached soon, say negotiators.
"What's been agreed is that the FARC will stop narco-trafficking, that's what we hope for, that once they sign the FARC will stop," anti-narcotics police head Jose Angel Mendoza said in an interview.
According to Mendoza, FARC is also encouraging local farmers to protest the eradication of coca.
"But up to now what's clear is that areas where the FARC are coincide with areas of cultivation. And so in that order of ideas things continue much as they were," Mendoza said.
"The fight against drug trafficking could become easier for law enforcement if the 7,000-strong FARC do comply with a peace deal and demobilize," he added.
The police will further focus its anti-drug war on crime gangs that expand the process and exports narcotics with another peace deal with the second-largest rebel group the National Liberation Army (ELN).
"We would be talking about combating not on multiple fronts but on one, organized crime," Mendoza said.