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When most people think of the problems in Colombia they believe they are drug related The truth however is that Colombia has more problems than that Over the last 38 years the country has been involved in a civil war in which leftist rebels have been pitted against the government and other paramilitary groups However the paramilitary groups are now leaning towards peace talks and a cease-fire It is possible that the last thirty-eight years of violence are about to come to a close Back in the 1980s The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia a paramilitary group that called themselves the AUC arose to defend the government against rebel kidnappers This right-wing group was composed of drug traffickers and ranchers and became increasingly brutal to both rebels and civilians as time progressed These people have even been labeled as terrorists by the United States government and are wanted on charges of drug trafficking The leftist rebels groups The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FARC and The National Liberation Army ELN began focusing their attention on attacks directed at the AUC Thirty-eight years later they are still fighting that same fight All of that could change within the next few weeks though Carlos Castano who commands about 70 percent of all paramilitary fighters including the AUC has declared a cease-fire against the rebel groups He claims the cease-fire is due to the fact that the government of President Alvaro Uribe is serious about cracking down on the rebels and the paramilitary groups are no longer necessary The only stipulation to the cease-fire is a request to the government for a guarantee that the AUC members will be protected from attacks by the rebels Castano also holds that if attacked the members will defend themselves Castano claims that the AUC leaders are ready to sit down with the rebels and discuss a peace treaty As a second leader of the AUC Mancuso said They no longer
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