Would you believe that Colombia is the U.S.'s biggest ally in South America? Despite all the media attention on the country's cocaine industry, the leaders of the nation have been moving toward accepting more foreign investment and President Álvaro Uribe is experiencing upwards to 80% approval rating while running on pro-business, pro-privatization and pro-U.S. policies. In a region dominated by the far-left politics of nations such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, Colombia remains a strongly capitalist society. And yet the Marxist FARC group continues to exist, stubbornly refusing to concede to the reality that most Colombians don't support their communist ideals. Why isn't this organization suffered the same fate that most communist movements suffered in the 20th century? Why are haven't they been resigned to the dustbin of history? Because being a revolutionary is just so darn sexy. Why do college students wear shirts with Che Guevara's face on it? Do they know about the guy's human rights violations in Cuba and Bolivia? Of course not, they just think it's cool to be anti-authority. The other reason they persist is because of their cocaine dealing. We Americans just can't lay off the 8 balls. Something has to keep Wall Street traders wired, right But the main reason is because of support from individuals like Hugo Chavez. Colombians recently discovered computer files tying the Venezuelan president to FARC during a raid in Ecuador, with Chavez committing $300 million toward their cause. It's the sad fate of America that a chunk of the money being sent to OPEC nations eventually ends up funding terrorist groups, be it the right-wingers in Saudi Arabia or the lefties in in South America. Chavez, who never met a revolutionary he didn't love, even sucking up to Iranian president/Holocaust denier Ahmahdinejad last year, certainly wants to see the noble FARC freedom fighters succeed. It won't do his propaganda any good to have a country right next door to him have a higher GDP and quality of life, despite having smaller hydrocarbon reserves. And really, that's what keeps FARC afloat. They have virtually no support in any of the major Colombian cities, only gettign some Robin Hood-like sympathy from poorer peasants in the more rural and mountainous areas of the country. But if there's any constant about developing countries, it's that rural populations tend to fade as urban populations grow, so love for FARC will continue to erode until they literally have to operate from other countries completely, existing as a state-less organization. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; email@example.com
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