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Colombian rebels: Oil for peace

Monday, March 31, 2014

Peace in Colombia would be good for oil companies, environmental consultants and consumers.

There are two possibilities for peace.

One would be negotiated.

The other would be imposed.

In a negotiated deal, the FARC rebels would get oil money.

Colombia is selling the rights to potential petroleum and natural gas fields in the southern part of the country.

The FARC controls much of the area.

If the FARC were to get royalties from the oil-gas industry, they could wind down the cocaine business.

The Colombian government doesn’t actually care whether or not FARCs are narcs.

But Colombia’s main ally is the United States, which is committed to the war on drugs.

With peace, the FARC would lay down their arms.

They could run for public office.

The past would be forgotten.

Colombian exports would grow.

Consumer prices would drop.

Environmentalists could encourage the production of natural gas, which burns cleaner than oil.

The problem is timing.

The future doesn’t pay today’s bills.

The FARC today get no money from oil royalties.

Meanwhile, cocaine is a steady source of revenue.

If a deal seems unlikely, Alvaro Uribe’s party has a good chance of retaking power, following elections to be held in May.

Negotiations between the government and the FARC have been going on since 2012.

During his presidency – 2002-2010 – Uribe took a hard line with rebels.

Many Colombians think his administration was successful in suppressing the FARC.

Uribe and his allies may get a second chance.