The Wall Street Journal | 12/14/2009 12:00:00 AM
The FARC and the 'Peace Community'
Dec 11--In Colombia, a former guerrilla commander says that in "peace communities" controlled by NGOs, the population was exploited and peace-niks helped the terrorists.
The testimony of the former second in command of the 5th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which operates in the banana-growing, drug-trafficking region known as Urabá, could serve as Lesson One.
Ex-guerrilla commander Daniel Sierra Martinez—known by the nom de guerre "Samir"—turned himself in to Colombian authorities in December 2008 in response to President Álvaro Uribe's national reconciliation offer. In exchange for a reduced prison sentence, he had to come clean about what he did in over two decades in the FARC. Last week Colombian authorities agreed to let him sit down with me and talk about his rebel experience.
Samir gave me an earful about the FARC's cocaine business and its exploitation of civilians in zones designated by "nongovernmental organizations" as "peace communities." He also told me that the supposed peaceniks who ran the local NGO were his allies and an important FARC tool in the effort to discredit the military.
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