There is no greater danger in Central and South America to anyone, whether they be military, civilian, foreigner, native, man, woman, or child, than the danger presented by these armed groups.  The lesser of the two evils lies in the Rebel Forces, who actually in many cases strive for a noble cause, or are at least fighting against tyranny.  The terrorists however stop at nothing, and care little for anyone who gets in their way.  They are fanatics and have no compunction about using the deaths of children and women get in the way of accomplishing those goals.

Rebels are usually respected, and have at least a local group of staunch supporters.  They operate using guerrilla tactics, making hit and run raids on the opposition, stealing supplies when possible and retreating into the safety of the landscape.  For the most part they are disorganized, usually fighting in their own country against whatever or whoever they feel is imposing upon them.  However this is not always the case.    Still most rebel groups are small, made up mostly of military deserters and civilians who don't agree with the way their country is run.  Most rebels, even in the larger groups, are armed with old U.S. and Soviet surplus left over from previous occupations or bought from arms dealers at cut-rate prices.  It is common to see a rebel carrying an old M-16 (Possibly an M-16/M-204 combo) or an AK-47.   Uniforms are almost basically whatever a rebel can scrounge together, consisting usually of a pair of good boots, a pair of shorts and possibly a camouflage t-shirt (though more often any t-shirt will do, its kind of amusing to note that the guy shooting at you is wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt).  The luckier groups are also equipped and armed by the Chinese, whose technology is much higher, but still inferior to the Americans and Europeans by about 10 years.  And then there are the really poor rebels, who must equip themselves with whatever they can find.  In some cases this means the rebels only weapon will be an 80 year old pistol, or a hunting rifle, or even antiques left over from WWII.  As far as vehicles and armor go, it is almost nonexistent in most groups.  When a group does procure a vehicle it is usually a jeep or truck stolen from a civilian, or a captured vehicle from the opposition.  Most of the armored vehicles left in Central and South America from previous occupations have been claimed by the countries own military, though in some of the larger rebel groups there are armored vehicles, and in some cases even aircraft.

The rebels operate the way rebels anywhere in the world do, and find support in the community.  They operate effectively because of their ability to blend into their surroundings, either hiding in plain sight, or disappearing into the landscape.  They are comprised of men, women, and children loyal to whatever cause they are fighting for.  Their cause is usually just and right, and sympathy with their struggle is overwhelming.  Who can't sympathize with a group fighting for freedom, or even simply to survive.  That's right, most rebel forces are fighting for political causes.  However some are comprised of tribal and religious groups that have been slaughtered by their government near the point of extinction and are now fighting back as best they can only for the right to survive.  Another major component of the rebel forces are mercenaries.  Professional soldiers from all over the world are hired by these groups to supplement and train their forces.  In many cases these mercenaries will be incredibly well trained, equal to special forces at least, and much better equipped than the standard rebel as they have the luxury of bringing in their own supplies.  However most mercenaries are in it strictly for the money, so will usually retreat if fighting a losing battle.   Many of the free lance solo's around the world can find work here, although the pay isn't much.  Learning from the mercenaries and Chinese advisers the rebel forces have gained the knowledge to implement the dirtiest of tricks.  Tunnel digging is very widespread here, as are the use of simple traps like pungi stakes and tiger traps.

So on the surface everyone sides with the rebels, and that's the way it should be.  However, the rebels are not completely sympathetic, nor are they always benevolent.  Often rebel tactics include banditry and murder.  Stopping civilians on the road, especially foreign tourists, robbing them and killing them is an all too common tactic.  They also have a penchant for attacking non sympathetic villages and towns.  Still other groups of rebels are every bit as bad, and in some cases worse than the governments they are trying to overthrow.   Cases such as these are exploited heavily by American and EEC media alike,and military spin doctors of both the superpowers make sure that this is the image of Central and South American rebels their soldiers have.

Terrorists are the true scum of the earth no matter where you are, and this holds no less true in Central and South America.  Unlike the rebels who for the most part engage their enemy directly, terrorists prefer to attack with bombings on civilian installations, assassinations of political figures, and kidnapping.  They are completely fanatical, willing, if not wanting, to die for their cause and take as many people with them as they can.

Terrorists are not as well equipped as the rebels, they don't need to be.  They don't engage in open conflict.  The prevailing mode of thought seems to be, "Why waste 100 bullets and hit nothing, when one bomb properly placed can make the point so much more clearly!"  Powered by religious or political fervor, often times both, a terrorist is the most deadly weapon on the planet.  His own life means nothing to him, he will gladly strap a bomb to his own chest and walk into a crowded restaurant.  In cases where security is a bit tighter terrorists will often use children, usually their own in the same type manner.  They usually don't have the popular support that rebels enjoy, but they do have support in their own communities.  In other more rare cases rebels and terrorist groups work closely together.

Above all else, when you find yourself in an area with a history of terrorist activity trust no one and nothing.

 (Written by Deric "D" Bernier.  Images by Adam Warren, Flying_Debris, faxmaster, Knightwatch, Matt Olsen, Genocidal Penguin, hooplaboogah, and other unknown artists,)