Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army

FormedMay 27, 1964
DisbandedGroup is active.
First AttackMay 27, 1964: The Colombian military attacked the FARC in Marquetalia, in which 48 FARC rebels fought back. This was their first confrontation with the Colombian government and considered the FARC’s founding date. (unknown killed, unknown wounded). [1]
Last AttackJune 22, 2015: June 22, 2015: The FARC bombed the Tansandio pipeline, an oil pipeline in Nariño, causing 10,000 barrels of oil to contaminate waterways. The water contamination resulted in 150,000 people losing access to water and the Colombian government speculates that the environmental damage resulting from this attack is the worst environmental disaster in Colombia’s history. (0 killed, 0 wounded). [2]
UpdatedAugust 15, 2015

Narrative Summary

In 1964, Colombian Communist Party (PCC) member Manuel Marulanda worked with Jacobo Arenas to form the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or, in Spanish, Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia; the FARC). Following the decade of civil war from 1948 to 1958, known as La Violencia, PCC members led groups of individuals, who felt neglected by the Colombian government, to settle throughout the countryside and create their own communities. Marulanda led a group to settle in Marquetalia, Tolima with the goal of creating a society in which the needs and concerns of the rural population would be addressed. [3] [4] Marulanda’s group later became the FARC.

On May 27, 1964 the Colombian military attacked Marquetalia and other surrounding communities. [5] Marulanda’s forty-eight guerrilla fighters fought back. Following the attack, on July 20th 1964, the guerrillas from Marquetalia met with other communities, organized, and unified in what they called the First Guerrilla Conference. During this conference, in which some 350 guerrillas participated, they formally declared themselves a guerrilla group, taking on the name the Southern Bloc. The Southern Bloc called for land reform, better conditions for those in the countryside, and vowed to defend the communities of followers in the countryside from the Colombian government. Primarily a defense group, the Southern Bloc met again in May 1966 for its Second Guerrilla Conference and renamed itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC. [6] In addition to the FARC’s name change, the second conference also marked a shift in strategy for the group; instead of just defending the rural population from government attacks, the FARC started providing educational and medical services to loyal communities, training militants for combat, and carrying out attacks. In 1972, Marulanda established training camps for the guerrillas. In the FARC’s early years, to pay for the camps and social service provision, the FARC kidnapped for ransom, primarily targeting politicians, and elites. [7] [8] 

In addition to kidnapping, in the late 1970s, the FARC began trafficking cocaine to fund its activities, a practice that facilitated its rapid growth throughout the 1980s. The FARC’s newfound wealth, from kidnappings and the drug trade, and its provision of social services attracted a large number of new members who sought to escape the increasing poverty levels in Colombia. [9] [10] Together, the increase in profit and new members marked the beginning of the FARC’s exponential growth and rise in power. [11] [12]  However, the FARC’s reliance on the drug trade also harmed its reputation; reports on the FARC by the United States government, the Colombian government, and news sources quickly started referring to the group as a drug cartel and its leaders as drug traffickers. [13]

In 1982, the FARC held its Seventh Guerrilla Conference in which it changed its name to the FARC-EP for Ejército del Pueblo, meaning “People’s Army;” however, the Colombian government, the United States government, and the media still refer to the group as ‘the FARC.’ [14] Additionally in 1982, the FARC and the Colombian government, led by President Belisario Betancur, started peace talks for the first time. In May of 1984, an agreement, the Uribe Accords, was successfully reached and called for a bilateral ceasefire, which lasted from 1984-1987. [15] Colombian politician Ivan Cepeda said the Uribe Accords would allow FARC members to slowly begin to live legally.

As part of the agreement, the FARC co-founded the Patriotic Union (UP), a political party, with the Colombian Communist Party (PCC) in 1985. The UP achieved unprecedented leftist success in the 1986 elections, securing 350 local council seats, 9 House seats, and 6 Senate seats. However, this rapid success was quickly undermined by forced disappearances and systematic assassinations of UP leaders by the army, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug gangs. Reports show that, by 1988, between 200 and 500 UP leaders, including UP Presidential candidate Jaime Pardo, were assassinated. From 1988 to 1992, between 4,000 and 6,000 UP members, including another presidential candidate, Bernardo Jaramillo, were murdered. These murders and disappearances thwarted UP growth and many remaining members fled the country. [16] [17] [18]

 Despite the peace accords in the 1980s, the FARC’s violent tactics and kidnappings continued because the group believed that political reforms made by the government were inadequate. In retaliation for the FARC’s continued violence, wealthy landowners, the primary targets of the FARC’s kidnappings, formed militant groups, such as Death to Kidnappers (MAS) and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). These groups aligned with the Colombian military in the 1980s to rid the country of guerrilla presence. Paramilitary groups killed innocent civilians but reported them to be FARC guerrillas or FARC supporters in order to appear as if they were effectively mitigating FARC influence in the country. Paramilitaries used these tactics from the 1980s through the 2000s. [19]

 In 1999, the FARC’s membership and kidnapping peaked at 18,000 and 3,000 respectively. The FARC’s heightened influence in the country, extreme kidnapping records and involvement in the drug trade elicited both domestic and international response. In 1999, a quarter of the Colombian population protested in cities throughout the country, in the “No Más” protests, against the FARC and violence in the country. [20] [21] Around this time, the FARC began peace negotiations with the Colombian government. Regardless, in 2000, the United States and Colombia initiated Plan Colombia, a $9 billion U.S. military aid program meant to help the Colombian government combat the drug trade and reassert authority and increase its capacity throughout the country. [22] [23] The success of Plan Colombia is debated as it did not eliminate guerrilla drug activities or violence; however, some attribute the Colombian state and military’s increased strength, and the start of FARC’s decline to Plan Colombia. [24] [25] In 2002, President Pastrana ended the 1999 peace talks with the FARC before the end of his term. [26] 

In 2002, Álvaro Uribe ran for presidency, and won, on the promise that he would aggressively combat guerrilla presence and activity in the country. During the 2002 election season, the FARC kidnapped presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, increasing political motivation to combat the FARC. Uribe’s anti-guerrilla program, once elected, was to professionalize the army, take advantage of paramilitary assistance and embrace support from the United States government’s Plan Colombia during his presidency, which lasted until 2010. [27] Uribe’s crackdown on the FARC was well received by the Colombian public and it led to a decrease in violence within the country and a dramatic decrease in the number of FARC members. Not only did the FARC become weaker in 2002, but, also, the FARC-founded Patriotic Union (UP) lost its legal status and could no longer participate politically for lack of members and support. [28]

 Following Uribe’s tenure, President Santos, elected in 2012, restarted the peace process with the FARC. [29] [30] The talks have been disrupted many times due to the FARC’s violation of cease-fire agreements. For example, as part of the 2012 peace talks, the FARC publicly renounced kidnapping but, nonetheless, continued to kidnap for ransom. The FARC’s decision to continue kidnapping led the Colombian government to suspend the cease-fire in November of 2014. [31] [32] In July 2015, the FARC once again declared a unilateral ceasefire, and, in response, the Colombian government then agreed to cease air strikes on FARC encampments. [33]  [34] Whether or not peace talks will continue hinges on both sides cooperating. In November 2015, President Santos will evaluate the progress made in the peace negotiations and decide whether or not to continue. [35]    

Leadership

  1. Iván Ríos, legal name José Juvenal Velandia (Unknown to Present): Iván Ríos joined the FARC in the 1980s and was a member of the Secretariat until his death. His bodyguard, Pedro Pablo Montoya, killed him in exchange for a $2.5 million reward from the Colombian government.[36]
  2. Raul Reyes, legal name Luis Edgar Devia Silva (Unknown to 2008): Reyes, a member of the Secretariat until his death, joined the FARC after his time as a Marxist union leader. He was considered a top commander and represented the moderate wing of the FARC. In 2008, the Colombian army killed him and his death was reported as a devastating blow to the group.[37]
  3. Jaime Guaracas (1964 to Unknown): Guaracas was third in command for the FARC until the 1980s when he retired from combat due to health issues. Guaracas now lives in Cuba and is one of the few original founders of the FARC still living.[38]
  4. Jacobo Arenas, legal name Luis Alberto Morantes Jaime (1964 to 1990): In 1964, Arenas moved to Marquetalia and became a founding leader of the group. Arenas died in 1990 of natural causes.[39]
  5. Manuel Marulanda Vélez, also known as "Tirofijo," legal name Pedro Antonio Marín Marín (1964 to 2008): Marulanda, a member of the Colombian Communist Party (PCC), was the founding leader of a community in Marquetalia that was attacked by the government in 1964. Following the attack, Marulanda’s guerrillas and others founded the Southern Bloc, which would later become the FARC. Marulanda died of a heart attack in 2008.[40]
  6. Jorge Briceño Suarez, also known as "Mono Jojoy", legal name Victor Julio Suarez Rojas (1965 to 2010): Mono Jojoy joined the FARC when he was only 12 years old and moved steadily up the ranks. He was deeply embedded in the FARC’s drug activities, and involved in kidnappings and extortion. He was the leading military commander for the FARC until Colombian government forces killed him in 2010.[41]
  7. Efrain Guzman, also known as Nariño (1978 to 2002): Guzman joined the FARC in 1978 and was appointed commander of the FARC’s 5th Front at the 1978 Sixth National Guerrilla Conference. At the 1993 Eighth National Guerrilla Conference, he was invited to the Secretariat and assigned to the FARC’s Caribbean Bloc.[42]
  8. Alfonso Cano, legal name Guillermo León Sáenz Vargas (1982 to 2011): Cano joined the FARC in the mid 1970s. In 1981, Cano was arrested in a raid on his family home and remained imprisoned until 1982 when President Betancur granted him amnesty. After his release, he became commander of the FARC’s Western Bloc. Following the death of Jacobo Arenas in 1992, Cano became a member of the Secretariat. Following the death of leader Manuel Marulanda in March of 2008, Cano became the FARC’s commander. Cano was killed on November 4, 2011, in a military raid.[43]
  9. Iván Marquéz, legal name Luciano Marin Arango (1985 to Present): Ivan Marquéz is currently a member of the Secretariat. After joining the FARC in 1985, he became extremely active in the FARC’s political party, Union Patriotica. Due to his alleged involvement in the FARC’s drug trade, the U.S. State Department has indicted Marquéz on drug charges.[44]
  10. Mauricio Jaramillo, also known as "El Médico", legal name Jaime Alberto Parra (1990 to Present): El Médico joined the FARC in the late 1980s as the physician for former commander in chief, Manuel Marulanda, earning him the alias “El Médico.” He is the commander of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc and a member of the current Secretariat. Jaramillo inherited both of these positions from Mono Jojoy, for whom Jaramillo was a close confidant.[45]
  11. Pablo Catatumbo, legal name Jorge Torres Victoria (1990 to Present): Catatumbo is a member of the current Secretariat, a negotiator and commander of the Western Bloc – the FARC’s strongest bloc. During the 1980s, Catatumbo was a member of the April 19 Movement (M-19), held hostage by MAS, then joined the FARC after M-19 demobilized. He is considered a hardliner, strongly in favor of the FARC’s kidnapping practices and disagreed with the 2012 decision to stop kidnapping.[46]
  12. Pastor Alape, legal name Felix Antonio Muñoz (1993 to Present): Pastor Alape joined the FARC in 1983 and, in 1993, became the leader of the FARC’s 4th Front. He is a member of the current secretariat.[47]
  13. Timoleón Jiménez, also known as "Timochenko", legal name Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (1993 to Present): Timochenko became the Commander for the FARC in November 2011. Since joining the FARC he has steadily climbed the ranks, beginning in 1993 when he was leader of the FARC’s Magdalena Medio Bloc, then a member of the seven-person Secretariat, and finally, in 2011, he became the FARC commander following Alfonso Cano’s death.[48]
  14. Juaquin Gomez (1999 to Present): Gomez joined the FARC in 1981 and was the point person in the 1999 peace talks. Gomez is currently a member of the Secretariat and leader of the FARC’s Southern Bloc.[49]

Ideology & Goals

The FARC is a Marxist-Leninst guerrilla group founded in the 1960s to overthrow the Colombian government and seize control of the country. Today, the FARC’s goal is territorial gain and control within Colombia. [50] [51] Additionally, the FARC opposes American imperialism and financial capital monopolies. [52] Therefore, the FARC opposes U.S. activity and influence in Colombia. [53]

 Many FARC leaders sought inspiration from leftist social movements around the world. In a 2008 interview, Jaime Guaracas, a former FARC leader, said that, during the FARC’s formative years, leader Manuel Marulanda read and was influenced heavily by the work of Lenin, Marx, Bolívar, and Mao. [54]

Name Changes


Size Estimates

Designated/Listed

The FARC is on the United States’ annual list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and has been since October of 1997. [72] In April of 2015 the listing was re-evaluated, and United States Secretary of State John Kerry successfully pushed to keep the FARC on the FTO list. [73] The FARC is also on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations. [74] In 2008, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez requested that the FARC be removed from the European list but the FARC was not removed. [75] [76] [77]

Resources

Before the drug trade boom in the 1970s and 1980s, the FARC received weapons, training, and financial assistance from Cuba. [78] During that time, the FARC also kidnapped politicians and elites for revenue. Their kidnappings continued throughout the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and peaked in 1999. The thriving drug business in Colombia also facilitated the FARC’s rapid growth in the 1980s and 1990s, when it tripled in membership, and gave the FARC greater financial independence. In 2002, the growth of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc was funded by money earned from cocaine trade with Brazilian drug lords. [79]

Since 2012, the FARC has scaled back on kidnappings due to the joint effort between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas to move toward peace. Though the FARC agreed to stop kidnapping in 2012, the group has only decreased the number of kidnappings and still kidnaps for revenue. [80] 

Other forms of funding now replace kidnappings. Profits from gold mining have surpassed those from the drug trade; it is estimated that the FARC’s profits from gold mining are more than five times those from cocaine trafficking. [81] [82]. [83] [84] In addition to profiting from gold mining, the FARC ‘taxes’ each piece of machinery entering its territory, earning about $240,000 a month. These taxes and the direct sale of gold make gold mining the most lucrative funding source for the FARC. [85] [86] 

Today, the FARC funds its projects through criminal activities: kidnapping, extortion and involvement in all levels of drug trade and production, including working with cartels in neighboring countries. The FARC is active internationally, illegally gold mining in Peru, running drug operations from Venezuela, and working with Mexican drug cartels.

External Influences

During the 1970s and 1980s, the FARC received funding from Cuba. Since the early 2000s, Hugo Chavez’s government was known for favoring the FARC and reportedly supplied the FARC with up to $300 million and traded arms and oil with the group. [87] In addition, former Cuban President Fidel Castro and former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were integral in facilitating the peace talks between the Colombian Government and the FARC in 2012. [88]    

Geographical Locations

The FARC operates throughout Colombia. The group is also active in the drug trade and other illegal markets in neighboring countries, such as Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico and Panama. Brazilian drug lords support the FARC in the drug trade and the FARC’s largest drug corridors are in Venezuela. In 2015, the FARC was reportedly training Mexican drug cartels, including Jalisco Cartel-New Generation (JCNG) and Los Cuinis.  [89] [90] [91]

Targets & Tactics

The FARC’s tactics range from kidnapping and extortion to murders and bombings. Though the FARC has kidnapped for ransom since its inception, kidnapping became an integral part of the group’s revenue starting in the 1970s. In 1999, the number of FARC kidnappings, particularly of the Colombian elite, peaked at 3,000. Starting in 1982, the FARC began relying heavily on the drug trade for income in order to expand and fun direct attacks on the Colombian military. [92]

 For membership, the FARC reportedly consistently recruits and accepts many child soldiers. The Human Rights Watch estimates that somewhere between 20% and 30% of all members are under 18 years of age, and El Tiempo reports that about 50% of FARC members are under 18 at the time of joining. [93] [94]  

 In the 1980s, the FARC sought to achieve its goals through the political process. In the 1982 negotiations with President Belisario Betancur, both parties reached an agreement resulting in a ceasefire from 1984 until 1987. In 1985, during the negotiation process, the FARC co-founded a political party, the Patriotic Union (UP), to pursue political and socioeconomic reform. Paramilitary groups persecuted members of the UP and drug gangs and the party became inactive less than 20 years after its creation. [95] [96]

 During the Santos administration, beginning in 2010, instead of using violent resistance, the FARC sought political involvement, social involvement, and peace negotiations with the Colombian government. These changes suggested an unprecedented shift in a peaceful direction, including possible demobilization. [97] The peace negotiations, known as the Havana Talks, escalated in 2012 and, since then, the FARC has drastically decreased kidnappings and its involvement in the drug trade. [98] While the FARC does not consider itself a drug cartel, and claimed to be relinquishing ties with the drug business, several reports released in 2015 showed that the FARC was working closely with and training many Mexican cartels. [99] [100] Instead of kidnapping, the group now relies on unconventional explosive devices and hit and run tactics. [101] These attacks have been more targeted than previous attacks on population centers. In 2014, it was reported that the FARC might be using tree bombs, explosives similar to landmines. [102]

Political Activities

In 1985, during the 1984-1987 ceasefire that followed the 1984 Uribe Accords, the FARC, along with the Colombian Communist Party (PCC), co-founded the Patriotic Union (UP), a political party with the goal of presenting formidable opposition to the dominant political entities at the time. In addition to FARC and Colombian Communist Party (PCC) members, the UP also attracted members of the ELN, leftist leaders, and other rebel group members. In order to gain more followers, the UP discouraged the use of arms despite endorsement from the FARC and others. The party sought to address land reform, provide better medical care and educational services for the poor, and nationalize businesses, banks, and transportation systems. [103] The UP was extremely successful during the 1986 elections, winning hundreds of local council seats, nine seats in the House, and six seats in the Senate. Following this success, the Colombian government and paramilitaries allegedly assassinated 500 UP leaders before 1988 and an additional 4,000 by 1992. By 2002, the UP’s legal status as a party was revoked because of lack of members and the party was inactive until 2013, when its legal status was restored. [104] [105]

 In 2005, during the UP’s inactive years, former UP members, including FARC members, created the Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA) [106] The PDA has proven to be internally fragmented but publicly supports the peace negotiations between the FARC and the Santos administration. [107]

Major Attacks

  1. Unknown: The Uribe Administration suspected the FARC was responsible for an attack that killed 34 coca pickers in La Gabarra. (34 killed, 5 wounded).[108]
  2. Unknown: When Colombian Forces attempted to rescue 10 hostages captured in April 2002, the FARC killed all of them. (10 killed, unknown wounded).[109]
  3. Unknown: A 330-pound bomb was placed in the garage of Club El Nogal in Bogota. The FARC denied involvement but email evidence suggests that it was a FARC attack. (32 killed, 160-200 wounded).[110]
  4. Unknown: The FARC stationed a roadblock in Bogota and wounded and kidnapped more than 28 people, including U.S. and Italian nationals. (3 killed, 14 wounded). (3 killed, 14 wounded).[111]
  5. Unknown: Six armed guerrillas, in Apure, Venezuela, kidnapped a U.S. oil engineer and his Venezuelan pilot. The United States government alleges the FARC is responsible for this kidnapping. (0 killed, unknown wounded).[112]
  6. Unknown: The FARC perpetrated two massacres, the first on February 4th and the second on February 11th, of the indigenous Awá people in Nariño. Between the two attacks, the FARC tortured and killed a total of 27 members of the Awá community but some witnesses escaped. The FARC believed that the Nariño community was “conspiring against them.” (27 killed, unknown wounded). ().[113]
  7. Unknown: A car bomb was set off in front of a police station in Inza, Cauca. Rebels then continued to throw home-made mortars at the station. (8+ killed, 20 wounded).[114]
  8. May 27, 1964: The Colombian military attacked Marulanda’s forty-eight followers in Marquetalia, who fought back and, along with others, would later become the FARC, fought back. This is considered the FARC’s founding date. (unknown killed, unknown wounded). (unknown killed, unknown wounded).[115]
  9. April 8, 1983: The FARC kidnapped a U.S. citizen for ransom, in what the United States refers to as the FARC’s first attack against the United States. (unknown killed, unknown wounded) (unknown killed, unknown wounded).[116]
  10. August 30, 1996: The FARC's Southern Bloc attacked Las Delicias military base in southwestern Colombia, near the Ecuadorian border. (54 killed, 17 wounded).[117]
  11. August 3, 1998: In what is known as the Siege of Miraflores more than 1,500 FARC troops entered the town of Miraflores and, over the span of two days, attacked a church, hospital, and military base and kidnapped 129 police. (19 killed, unknown wounded).[118]
  12. November 1, 1998: Between 1,500 and 2,000 FARC guerrillas launched a 3-day offensive against the remote city of Mitu in Southern Colombia in which they fought against 120 police officers. The FARC temporarily seized Mitu’s police headquarters and approximately 800 FARC rebels were killed. (840-860 killed, unknown wounded, 84 missing).[119]
  13. February 23, 2002: The FARC kidnapped Ingrid Betancourt, a presidential candidate, along with her campaign manager in 2002. The FARC held them until Colombian forces rescued them both and other hostages in Operation Jaque in 2008. (0 killed, 0 wounded).[120]
  14. May 2, 2002: During a confrontation between the AUC and the FARC, the AUC filled a church with civilians as a human shield. In an attempt to attack the AUC, the FARC launched a gas cylinder bomb at the church and killed the civilians inside. In 2014, the FARC asked for forgiveness for this attack, which later became known as the Bojayá Massacre. (79+ killed, unknown wounded).[121]
  15. August 7, 2002: FARC guerrillas launched homemade mortar shells near the Presidential Palace during President Alvaro Uribe's inauguration ceremony. (14 killed, 40 wounded).[122]
  16. November 15, 2003: The U.S. government alleges the FARC was responsible for grenade attacks at the Bogota Beer Company in which 5 Americans were injured. (1 killed, 73 wounded).[123]
  17. December 21, 2009: FARC guerrillas kidnapped Luis Francisco Cuellar, governor of the Caquetá Department, from his home. Cuellar's body was found the following day bound, gagged, and shot. (2 killed, unknown wounded).[124]
  18. March 11, 2014: Disguised FARC guerrillas opened fire on Colombian military members in the middle of the road in La Montañita. (4 killed, 4 wounded).[125]

Relationships with Other Groups

The FARC and the ELN, a Marxist-Leninist group founded in 1964, have been both rivals and allies.  Members of the ELN joined the FARC and Colombian Communist Party in co-founding the Patriotic Union in 1985. Additionally, the FARC and the ELN have exchanged kidnapping victims and shared fighters and equipment. [126] In 2010, they both signed a non-aggression pact. Politically, as of May 2015, the ELN reportedly supported the FARC’s decision to suspend their unilateral ceasefire with the Colombian government. [127] Independently, FARC Commander Timochenko supported the ELN’s entry into the current peace negotiations with the Colombian government. [128]

 The FARC is a member of the Simon Bolivar Guerrilla Coordinating Board (CGSB), an umbrella organization created in 1987 as an ELN initiative following the peace processes. The CGSB included the M-19 (April 19 Movement), the FARC, the ELN (National Liberation Army), and the EPL (People’s Liberation Army). By 1991, the FARC and the ELN were the last remaining members of the CGSB after all other groups demobilized and signed peace agreements with the Colombian government. [129] [130]

 The FARC’s most forceful opposition has historically been paramilitaries aligned with the Colombian army. During the 1990s the United Self-Defense Force of Colombia (AUC), one of the strongest paramilitary groups fighting against leftist guerrillas, targeted FARC members, their supporters, and sympathizers. In the 2000s, both the FARC and the AUC were competing for control over coca plantations and trafficking routes. By the mid 2000s, the relationship between the FARC and the AUC shifted to one of partnership where both benefited from cooperating in the drug trade. The AUC demobilized in 2006 but the FARC works with the AUC’s successor, BACRIM, in the drug trade. [131]

 Following the AUC’s demobilization in 2006, the FARC started working closely with BACRIM (Bandas Criminales, in English, “Criminal Bands”), a criminal organization of mid-level, former AUC commanders involved in illegal activities from drug trafficking to gold mining. [132] Some reports suggest that the two are partners in cocaine production and, should the FARC exit the drug trade in the course of political negotiations, BACRIM is prepared to fill FARC’s position. [133] [134]

 The Shining Path, one of Peru’s guerrilla groups, is often compared to the FARC due to use of similar taxing practices within the drug trade. [135] Reports show that the FARC and the Shining Path have been in contact and worked together in the drug trade since 2003 and continue to do so, as recently as May 2015.

Community Relationships

During the Cold War, Cubans provided resources and training to the FARC on the condition that they maintain positive relations with the community. However, its emphasis on community relations deteriorated as its reliance on the drug trade for revenue grew.   [136]

 In the 1980s and 1990s, the FARC’s popularity peaked, apparent in the increase in FARC membership during that time. The FARC’s increasing wealth attracted impoverished Colombians. As the FARC grew in wealth, it also grew more violent, to which the community began to react negatively. In 1999, 13 million Colombians participated in the No Más protests throughout cities in the country, demonstrating the public’s frustration with guerrilla groups. [137]

 In a similar protest in February 2008, millions of people in 104 major cities globally and throughout Colombia protested against the FARC. They marched saying, “No more kidnappings! No more lies! No more deaths! No more FARC!” This march was organized through social media in an event entitled, “A million voices against the FARC” and displayed dissatisfaction with the FARC on a domestic and international level. [138]

 In addition, during Álvaro Uribe’s presidency, he maintained a strong anti-FARC, anti-Guerrilla policy that was well supported by the Colombian public. Furthermore, Uribe’s approval rating in 2008 skyrocketed to around 82% due to his crackdown on FARC activity, reflecting the sentiments of the population. [139] In 2014, the FARC’s approval rating was only 2%. [140] 


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