Colombia’s largest guerrilla group FARC is seeking extra income through corruption in public works and health care, two sectors already disgraced by corruption scandals, said President Juan Manuel Santos Saturday.
According to Santos, emails found on computers of slain FARC commander “Mono Jojoy” show that the FARC’s decreasing ability to raise money through drug trafficking and extortion has made them intimidate mayors in different regons of Colombia to win public work contracts.
Apart from their attempts to raise money through public works, “the criminals of the FARC are trying to get to the health funds of the Colombians,” the President said at a meeting in Barranquilla.
“The FARC have wanted to use these procedures of corruption and extortion in the several public works and health system to find financing,” said Santos.
The guerrillas’ alleged change in tactics shows that the guerrilla group’s “financial situation is increasingly difficult,” the President added.
Colombia’s health and public works sector are under scrutiny after the breaking of mayor scandals in which public and health officials stole billions of dollars.
The FARC, founded in 1964 by Marxist peasants, have changed tactics to finance their armed fight against the state since the beginning. Initially the group imposed taxes on rich landowners in the south of the country where they were most powerful, but later turned to kidnapping, drug trafficking and extortion. In 2010, Santos said the guerrilla group was also involved in illegal mining to substitute falling drug profits.