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Are FARC rebels reaching into Central America?

The US Treasury has blacklisted 2 Costa Rican businesses for allegedly supporting the FARC.

Berrocal’s controversial remarks came days after the March 1, 2008, Colombian military raid on a FARC camp in Ecuador. The army killed rebel commander Raul Reyes and obtained FARC’s computer containing information that led to probes inside and outside Colombia.

That same month, the computer’s information brought investigators to an academic’s home just north of the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, where police found $480,000 in rotting cash in a safe that belonged to FARC.

The discovery and Berrocal’s assertions also unearthed a largely forgotten history of cozier times shared by Costa Rica and Colombian leftist rebels that involved frequent visits by FARC members.

Mercedes Munoz, dean of social sciences at University of Costa Rica, criticized Berrocal for taking the computer intelligence out of context without acknowledging the past. “Actions by Reyes and other FARC leaders in Costa Rica not only were not clandestine, but were promoted by ... the very Costa Rican government,” Munoz said. One example is when Costa Rica hosted talks in 1997 between Reyes and a U.S. State Department official.

Further back, from the 1960s through the 1980s, Costa Rica was a “rest stop and medical rehabilitation” location for Colombian rebel groups including the FARC, wrote Costa Rican diplomat Melvin Saenz in an article posted on the governing National Liberation Party website. “They would interact with people in this country, not just the (left-wing) Popular Vanguard and Socialist Party but the (moderate) National Liberation too.”

However, the tone has changed. Today it’s faux pas to discuss FARC friends in most circles. The group is labeled a terrorist organization by Colombia, the United States, the European Union and others.

Adam J. Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement that his office’s recent singling out of kingpins and their financiers is part of the “Treasury’s longstanding campaign against the FARC by exposing their key support networks in Ecuador and Costa Rica.”

Szubin said, "We will continue to dismantle the FARC's financial and logistical networks and reveal its facilitators."