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     Home > Politics  >  2013-11-30 07:52:25
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Colombian FARC tax coca farmers

(Vatican Radio) The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is conceding it collected taxes and revenues from coca cultivators.

In a statement the FARC says it was obliged to establish what it terms a system of fiscal contributions and transaction regulations with farmers. It also claims it protected them from drug traffickers. This revenue helped the FARC to financially fuel its 50 year conflict with the Colombian Government, which has resulted in more than half a million deaths and the upheaval of more than four million people from their homes.

At the peace talks in Havana, FARC second in command, Ivan Marquez, who is the Chief Negotiator, said it too wants a nation without cocaine. But he pointed out that this also depends on other nations who are implicated in the equation, one way or the other. Drug users in the United States are major consumers of cocaine.

Marquez also criticised the Colombian Government for siding with the US in what he termed imperialist strategy concerning cocaine, instead of tackling its home grown structural causes and effects. He again stressed that this is not purely or solely a Colombian issue.

These statements show just how sensitive this particular portion of the peace negotiations are and how very dependent the FARC was on this injection of funding.

Whether it is prepared to renounce this highly questionable source of income is a crucial issue under current examination. The Colombian Government is insisting the FARC cease this illicit method of so-called tax collecting.

Listen to James Blears’ report: RealAudioMP3


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