- 2017年12月19日14:37 来源：互联网
- 参与（1） 阅读（666）
Banking for the FARC——Capitalism 101
Guerrillas who used to rob banks are now opening accounts.
During their decades-long war against the Colombian state, the supposedly pro-peasant guerrillas of the FARC were fond of bombing and torching branches of Banco Agrario in remote parts of the country.
A state-owned bank lending to farmers and rural-development projects, it was a tempting target on two counts: attacks were a blow against the state, and they often yielded sackfuls of cash.
With the ratification of a peace accord between the government and the FARC last year, the terrorist-target relationship is becoming more of a customer-company one.
After laying down their arms, more than 7,000 FARC guerrillas are opening bank accounts and picking up debit cards, many for the first time.
As part of their integration into law-abiding society, they are to receive from August a monthly stipend of 663,945 pesos ($220).
Each person will also get a one-time payment of 2m pesos to start a business.
The government has designated Banco Agrario, which has reopened dozens of bombed-out branches over the past decade, to take the lead in opening accounts for the ex-fighters.
Colombian banks have experience of catering to reformed irregulars.
They opened accounts for 30,000 right-wing paramilitary fighters who demobilized between 2003 and 2005.
But many of these were city-based and had banking histories.
Most FARC fighters, by contrast, have never left Colombia's backwaters or handled money other than cash.
Banco Agrario is leading workshops to teach them the basics of personal finance.
The FARC's new bankers have to be careful.
Unsurprisingly, the country that provides the setting for “Narcos”, a television series about the drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, has an elaborate system for detecting money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Banks are obliged to know if their clients have criminal records.
And accounts opened by ex-combatants are subject to a greater level of scrutiny.
The FARC are thought to have amassed a fortune during their half-century of war through such activities as drug-trafficking, wildcat gold-mining, kidnapping, extortion and raiding branches of Banco Agrario.
Estimates of the group's annual income at the height of its power in the 1990s range from $200 million dollars to $3.5 billion dollars.
The FARC say they have no fortune, and have promised to pay out whatever money they do have in reparations to their victims.
If banks come across tainted money, they must report it.
Some of the FARC's leaders will remain unbanked.
At least 90, including some of the governing secretariat, are still on the US Treasury Department's list of drug-traffickers.
Any bank that does business with them risks having its assets frozen in the United States.
Rank-and-file fighters are another matter.
Banco Agrario has permission from the banking regulator to ignore the part of the account application that asks about their criminal past.
Eventually, the new customers will be able to move their accounts to other banks, including private ones, as long as they declare that their money comes from legal sources.
The profit in catering to relatively poor ex-guerrillas is unlikely to be spectacular, but it could open up other opportunities.
The FARC's political party, to start work on September 1st, will need a place to park its cash.
Banks will gladly take it, as long as the accounts are not controlled by the blacklisted criminals of the recent past.