Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Way to go, President Santos!

Last Friday, Colombian president JUAN MANUEL SANTOS proudly announced the capture and killing of ALFONSO CANO.  It was a major victory for his government's troops in the world's longest running civil war.  It all began 47 years ago, when Colombia's Communist Party lost big in national elections. Disenchanted with the whole system, the left-wing group declared themselves independent from Bogota.  Called FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), they've grown over the years into a 'de-facto nation' in their own right...it's the size of Switzerland!  Anyhow, it's been awhile since this 'Drug Cartel / Marxist State' has been in the news, so we here at the DUNER BLOG thought it would be fun to run down our five favorite FARC operations of all time.

#5 THE NARCO SUBMARINE. In 2007, the Colombian army ambushed a suspected FARC outpost on the Pacific coast near Ecuador.  Upon entering, they discovered a recently abandoned factory with assembly line production capabilities.  What was FARC building?  A 100-foot long submarine, of course!  Why?  Simple, they needed an undetectable way to get cocaine to the US.  This "Narco-Sub" could hold eight tons of drugs.  It also had a large, turbo-engine that can travel to Tijuana in ten days!  NOTE: It's estimated that FARC makes $320 billion in drug money annually.

#4 COUNTERFEIT OPERATIONS. While drug trafficking is FARC's top source of income, counterfeiting is a close second.  An estimated $160 billion of phony bills are printed each year in Colombia.  However, very little few of them end up in the USA.  Since FARC knows our Feds could easily spot a phony, they are instead passed in neighboring nations.  Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador have all abandoned their currencies and use the US Dollar as their legal tender.

#3 SOCCER TEAMS.  With all the money made from these two illegal operations, it means that FARC has billions of US dollars (both real and counterfeit) just lying around.  How does one launder massive sums of money in Colombia?  Buy a soccer team!  Many of the 18 teams in Colombia's 'Primera Liga' have ties to cartels.  One of the nation's most successful teams, America de Cali had all of its US assets (over $1 million) frozen by President Clinton in 2004 as irrefutable evidence pointed toward the Cali cartel's involvement in the franchise.

Colombian women earned $100 a day in Gaddafi's army.
#2 TIES TO GADDAFI. Although not formally recognized as an 'independent nation' by anyone but the government in Bogota, FARC nonetheless has some international alliances.  Fidel Castro was a supporter.  Hugo Chavez in neighboring Venezuela is always visiting.  However, FARC has always had a most 'special relationship' with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.  So close...in fact...that the 'Desert Despot' even trusted Colombian women as personal bodyguards in his private all-female "Amazonian Guard" unit.

#1 HACIENDA NAPOLES. Ranked #7 on 1987 Forbes' Richest List, PABLO ESCOBAR was the movement's most famous leader.  Fueled by the 'crack wars' in the US, the 'Man from Medellin' was at the center of the action and made billions of dollars.  To celebrate, he built himself one of the most audacious mansions ever known to man.  The 7,000 acre 'Naples Hacienda' makes Hearst Castle look small.  In addition to an opulent mansion, Pablo added his own airstrip, bullfighting ring and zoo.  Today, it's an amusement park, with the feral hippos as the top draw! 

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