, acting commander in chief of the Southern Command
noted that the brigade has not been accused of human rights abuses.
Colombia's three main rebel groups the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC; the National Liberation Army of Colombia
, ELN; and the United Self-Defense Group of Colombia
, AUC are on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations.All three are self-financed through drug trafficking, Speer
said. The AUC
, a right-wing paramilitary group, aims to destroy the FARC and the ELN, both leftist guerrilla armies.
Dodd said the FARC recently had an estimated 17,000 members, while AUC
had 11,000.But support for the AUC
has increased as FARC-sponsored violence grew, he
"When people are frightened, they will grasp onto whatever offers some security," Dodd said.
Colombia's military now views the AUC
as a greater threat than the FARC or the ELN, Speer
said."The people in Colombia look at the AUC as doing something."
Said Dodd: "I have an eerie feeling you're going to be back here at this table next year telling me it's not getting better, it's getting worse," with the AUC
growing to 18,000 people.
A report Wednesday from the House International Relations Committee's Republican majority contends the IRA
and the FARC have had well-established links since at least 1998.