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Rebel ‘Romance’ Means Gold and Cocaine to Flow After Peace Deal

  • Guerrilla accountant describes metal’s role in Colombian war
  • Peace efforts are driving rebel migration from FARC to ELN
Two hundred and fifty gram gold bars sit stacked in this arranged photograph at Solar Capital Gold Zrt. in Budapest, Hungary, on Thursday, March 10, 2016. Gold advanced to the highest level in a year after the European Central Bank indicated it wouldn't cut interest rates further, boosting the euro and making dollar-denominated bullion less expensive for investors.
Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg
Updated on

Victor Builes’s account of his four years as a Colombian rebel money man offers a harsh reality check for politicians and investors celebrating an historic peace accord 1,300 miles away in Havana.

Recruited by the National Liberation Army, or ELN, in 2012 to trade cocaine and collect taxes at a gold mine, Builes said the prospect of a permanent cease-fire with the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is swelling ELN ranks with former FARC guerrillas.