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Terror in retreat

The US and Colombia are winning a campaign against rebels and Chávez.

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When John McCain visits Colombia next month, he'll see an emerging US success story against terrorism. (Barack Obama also plans a visit to the region soon.) Not only is Colombia beating terror-wielding guerrillas with US help, it also has forced the rebels' rich funder, Hugo Chávez, to relent on his public support.

The Venezuelan president, who aspires to be as Red as Fidel Castro, was caught red-handed in March when a rebel laptop, captured by the Colombian military, revealed Mr. Chávez's $300 million backing of the guerrilla group known as FARC, which often crosses into Venezuela to resupply.

Since then, Chávez has beat a retreat from FARC as fast as a fandango in order to avoid being ostracized in Latin America for trying to overthrow a democratically elected government. Venezuela might also face being listed as a terrorist state by the US.

On Sunday, Chávez appeared to pull the plug on FARC. He told it to end its 44-year rebellion and release more than 700 kidnap victims. And he concluded: "At this moment in Latin America, an armed guerrilla movement is out of place."

Please note the "at this moment." The day before Chávez's backflip, Colombia caught a Venezuelan solider smuggling arms to the rebels.

Sincere or not, these words from the would-be revolutionary and former coup plotter are a major victory for Colombia and the US. Since the end of the Clinton administration, nearly $4 billion in US aid has been spent to beef up the country's military and suppress the narcotics trade that feeds the rebels' coffers.


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