Pubdate: Fri, 29 Dec 2000
Source: Associated Press
Copyright: 2000 Associated Press


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Guerrillas in Colombia issued a New Year's
message on Thursday, pledging to defeat a major U.S.-backed anti-drug

The leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said in a
posting to the Internet that it was determined in 2001 "to defeat the
evil war plans of the governments of the United States and Colombia."

The United States is providing $1.3 billion in support of Plan
Colombia, President Andres Pastrana's strategy for reviving Colombia's
ailing economy and for destroying drug crops and laboratories
protected by armed groups including the FARC.

The aid from Washington includes Special Forces training for Colombian
counternarcotics troops and helicopters to help ferry troops into
rebel-held southern coca fields. Heavy fighting with guerrillas is
expected once the troops start major operations, possibly in January.

The FARC believes the U.S. aid program is really aimed at stopping the
rebels and their 36-year war. U.S. officials insist they are only
interested in curbing drug production in the country, which supplies
90 percent of the world's cocaine and a large amount of heroin. 
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