New South Wales
See Part 1 here: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/10674717#10674717
President Pastrana, the former TV host and news presenter, is once again in front of the cameras but this time he is the one answering the questions. Yes, he is prepared to sit down with FARC and talk. No, he won’t afford the same courtesy to the Cartels who he describes as “Colombia’s international embarrassment.” Yes, he will strengthen ties with the US as both nations share many common goals. No, he does not sanction the AUC.
After intense negotiations just to set up a meeting, the President makes good on his word and does sit down with the FARC leadership. Whilst he finds most of FARC’s demands impossible to contemplate, he takes the unprecedented step of declaring a “FARC Zone” in Guaviare as a sign of good faith. The talks are described as “productive” and “encouraging” and to be continued.
65. Poppies: The Cartels move into Heroin and set up their first operation in Cesar alongside their already established coca operation in the Department. FARC, in the midst of talks with the Government and frustrated by Cartel expansion launch a terror campaign aimed squarely at the Cartels. Attacks take place in Cesar (to neutral), Meta East, Guaviare and Putumayo. Cartel figures are kidnapped and ransomed for a small fortune (10).
36. Zona de Convivencia: AUC takes advantage of the turmoil in Cesar and raises an “autodefensa” unit there along with further reinforcements into Vichada and Antioquia. The government is approached by the ELN looking for a similar “Zone” as FARC has been given. The idea is rejected outright as FARC’s northern allies have nothing really to offer in return. Instead, Pastrana orders 3rd Division headquartered in Cali to give active support to the local police and hunt down the Cali cartel.
61. Air Bridge: The Colombian Cartels begin to co-ordinate and grow the business to fill the “Peruvian void” being created by the overt US policy of the “war on drugs”. New bases are set up in Guainia, Nariño and Atlántico. FARC, angry over the lack of concessions from the Pastrana Government decides to force the issue. They mobilise their considerable forces. 6 LOC’s are occupied (3 underground) and a massive FARC force (10 guerrilla’s) move on Bogota and openly place the capitol under siege. Another large FARC force moves into Putumayo from Guaviare. “Let us see if this new situation makes the Government more flexible?”
The FARC assault on Bogota
A broader view of the FARC push in the SE
6. Oil Spill: Reports are flooding in of FARC roadblocks, uncontested FARC control on the LOC’s and open gun battles in the streets of Bogota’s southern suburbs. Many Senators and Congressmen discover reasons to “attend to their electorates” and get out of Bogota while they still can. The President orders the Army to make necessary preparations and for the Police to respond to FARC’s aggression with their own on the LOC’s. Police patrol with military escorts finding and activating all LOC infiltrators and the Bogota to Ibague line is cleared. 2nd Division troops reinforce the 5th Division in Bogota. “Unofficial” calls go out to the AUC to harass FARC supply lines and the AUC responds with terror and assassination in Huila, Vichada and Putumayo overrunning 2 FARC bases and taking out a FARC cell in Putumayo.
33. Sucumbíos: A cross border war flares up on FARC’s SW flank. It stalls their Colombian push as FARC diverts efforts to the Ecuadorian border region. FARC establishes 2 bases across the border in Ecuador itself. Meanwhile, the military squeeze in Cali begins to take effect. 2 of the 3 Cartel units there give up the city and bug out into the relative cover of Nariño. Huge drug shipments are processed in Cesar and Meta East.
44. Colombia Nueva: Pastrana labels the Cartels as terrorists but the statement proves divisive in Cali which downgrades to neutral. The Governments resource situation worsens to 14. Despite this, the Army having prepared previously is given the go order and assaults in Cali and Bogota. A full Brigade goes “Air mobile” from Bogota and Air assaults Nariño. The FARC attacking and besieging force in Bogota is decimated and the short sharp Operation eliminates a total of 10 FARC G’s, 3 Cartel G’s and 2 Cartel bases. Government operating budget down to 5.
26. Gramaje: FARC turns to the Cartels for help and introduces a “Schedule of fee’s” for FARC protection of Cartel operations. Cartel resources on hand plummet to 10 as FARC builds a war chest that rivals the three other factions put together. The Cartel response is immediate and they quickly rally muscle to cover all bases and manage to cultivate their 10th base in Atlántico.
The sad fiscal position of 3 factions. FARC has 34!
62. Amazonia: The Governments military budget is all but exhausted. Pastrana orders the Treasury to “find savings” in the budget as all else is put on hold. Government resources + 3 to 8. The AUC’s steady campaign in Vichada finally shows real progress as they establish a base in the Department. All remaining manpower is mobilised in Antioquia.
13. Plan Meteoro: With Bogota and Cali cleared, the 5th Division (Bogota) including the 8th mobile Brigade out of Neiva with 3rd Division support from Cali sweep into Huila. Two Cartel bases are eradicated by the Air force in Putumayo. The Cartels trigger the event and “Transport Security is deemphasised” meaning the Police no longer have a Patrol assault capability.
25. ELN: It doesn’t take much rhetoric for FARC to encourage the ELN to mobilise. The ELN was snubbed by the government and sick to death of the AUC buffer zone between them and FARC. 3 ELN guerrilla units infiltrate Antioquia. The AUC continues where they left off with renewed terror attacks in Guaviare, Putumayo and Cesar. A FARC base in the FARC ZONE of Guaviare is eliminated along with a FARC unit in Putumayo. Cartel drug couriers in Cesar are intercepted and brutally murdered and the Shipment is captured by the AUC.
9. High Mountain Battalions: The Government approves a plan by the Army to form and train specialised elite Battalions to guard the corridors of the Andeans. This new capability will make insurgent hold outs in the Andean mountain regions far more difficult and lead to greater presence and control of these critical departments for government forces.
The Cartels build a base in Putumayo, cultivate a second base in Guaviare taking over the entire so called “FARC Zone”, and rally a large force in Cesar to protect their operations and control of that Department.
The Cartels consolidate the north
A view of whats left of FARC - and the growing Cartels...
35. Crop Substitution: The FARC proposal to provide jobs as well as lower dependency on drug crops is lauded. No more so than in Atlántico which shifts away from active support of the government to neutral. The government support level drops to its lowest level in recent history – 48. The AUC, exhausted from a constant campaign against FARC, pause and regroup.
Sadly, many will remember the Pastrana Presidency as a time of seemingly endless crisis. Others will note it as the time Government support fell to its lowest point. Those closest to the decisions will remember it very differently – and with very good reasons.
President Pastrana inherited a Government with half the budget and twice the manpower. The prospect of foreign Aid was almost nonexistent. FARC numbers were at their highest ever and with public support for FARC growing by 25% the country was literally on the verge of all out revolution. FARC controlled a staggering 5 Departments from Vichada, through Meta East and West, Guaviare and Huila.
In stark contrast, at the end of his term GDP was back up and some Foreign Aid had been secured so that Government resources were back to 41. FARC’s level of support was back to square one at 20. Perhaps most importantly, FARC no longer controlled any of the previously controlled Departments and could only claim control of one – Putumayo. The Government safely held all cities and had added control of Huila and Nariño to Chocó, Arauca and Santander. Not to mention finally getting rid of the Cali Cartel HQ.
None of the above really seemed to feature in the election and Alvaro Uribe, former Senator and Governor of Antioquia was easily elected President of Colombia. Uribe could recognise the progress made under Pastrana and sought to capitalise on Pastrana’s strengths by offering the former President the job of Ambassador to the United States. After a brief private meeting between the two, the offer was accepted. Pastrana was to personally seek the greater ties to the US he had as President wished and worked for.
No sooner had Pastrana left for his new post, President Uribe deemed the FARC Zone in Guaviare null and void and moved quickly to confirm his control as Commander in Chief by retiring a number of senior Generals and replacing them. To these new 3 and 4 star Generals he gave three tasks: First a plan to deal death blow to FARC and the Cartels. Second a plan to do the same to the AUC. And third to identify the next generation of Generals with new ideas and approaches to what was a very long war.
The calm before the "Uribe storm"?
This has been one of the best session reports I've read in a long while...looking forward to part three!
So much color and Colombian detail here! Exemplary.