Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, was founded by Manuel Marulanda and Jacobo Arenas in 1964.

Key Statistics

1964 First Recorded Activity
1964 First Attack
2019 Profile Last Updated

Profile Contents

Overview

Narrative of the Organization's History

Organization

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

Major Attacks

First Attacks, Largest Attacks, Notable Attacks

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

Maps

Mapping relationships with other militant groups over time

Contact MMP

Send a message to the Mapping Militants team.

Download Full Profile as PDF

Last Updated July 2019

How to Cite

Mapping Militant Organizations. “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.” Stanford University. Last modified July 2019. https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/revolutionary-armed-forces-colombia-farc

Organizational Overview

Formed: May 27, 1964

Disbanded: Organization has transitioned into a political party.

First Attack: May 27, 1964: The Colombian military attacked the FARC in Marquetalia. 48 FARC rebels fought back. This was the group’s first confrontation with the Colombian government and is considered the FARC’s founding date. (unknown killed, unknown wounded).[1]

Last Attack: 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]

 

Executive Summary

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, was founded by Manuel Marulanda and Jacobo Arenas in 1964. The group was formed to represent the rural population’s interests following the Colombian civil war from 1948 to 1958.The FARC originally aimed to overthrow the government, and it financed its operations through the drug trade, kidnapping, extortion, and illegal gold mining. Following a peace deal with the Colombian government in 2016, the FARC has officially disarmed and demobilized. It is now a political party called the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force, though it still uses the acronym “FARC.” Although the FARC has officially become a political party, some ex-guerrilla members have refused to demobilize and have continued militant and drug trafficking activities under the FARC’s original name.

 

Group Narrative

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 organized groups of individuals who felt neglected by the Colombian government. PCC members guided these people 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] Marulanda’s group later became the FARC.

On May 27, 1964, the Colombian military attacked Marquetalia and other surrounding communities.[4] Marulanda’s forty-eight guerrilla fighters fought back. Following the attack, on July 20 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 and adopted the name the Southern Bloc. The Southern Bloc called for land reform and better conditions for those in the countryside. Additionally, the group vowed to defend the communities of followers in the countryside from the Colombian government. The Southern Bloc met again in May 1966 for its Second Guerrilla Conference and renamed itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).[5] In addition to the FARC’s name change, the second conference also marked a shift in strategy for the group. The Southern Bloc was primarily a defense group. Now, instead of just defending the rural population from government attacks, the FARC would provide educational and medical services to loyal communities, train militants for combat, and carry out attacks. In 1972, Marulanda established training camps for the guerrillas. To pay for its camps and social service provision, the FARC initially relied on ransoms from kidnapping politicians and elites.[6]

In addition to kidnapping, the FARC began trafficking cocaine in the late 1970s 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.[7] Together, the increase in profit and new members marked the beginning of the FARC’s exponential growth and rise in power.[8] 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.[9]

In 1982, the FARC held its Seventh Guerrilla Conference in which it changed its name to Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP). This new addition to its name meant “People’s Army.” Despite the name change, the Colombian government, the United States government, and the media still referred to the group as ‘the FARC.’[10] 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. It called for a bilateral ceasefire, which lasted from 1984-1987.[11] 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 Colombian army, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug gangs. Reports show that between 200 and 500 UP leaders, including UP presidential candidate Jaime Pardo, had been assassinated by 1988. Between 4,000 and 6,000 UP members, including UP presidential candidate Bernardo Jaramillo, were murdered from 1988 to 1992. These murders and disappearances thwarted UP growth, and many remaining members fled the country.[12]

Despite the 1984 Uribe Accords, the FARC’s violent tactics and kidnappings continued because the group believed that political reforms made by the government were inadequate. Wealthy landowners were the primary targets of the FARC’s kidnappings. In response to the FARC’s continued violence, landowners 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.[13]

In 1999, the FARC’s membership grew to 18,000. More than 3,000 kidnappings were carried out in Colombia that year, and the homicide rate rose to nearly 60 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The FARC’s heightened influence in the country, its extreme kidnapping records, and its involvement in the drug trade elicited both domestic and international response. In 1999, a quarter of the Colombian population marched in cities throughout the country in the “No Más” protests against the FARC and violence in the country.[14] Around this time, the FARC began peace negotiations with the Colombian government.

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, reassert authority, and increase its capacity throughout the country.[15] The success of Plan Colombia is debated, as it did not eliminate guerrilla drug activities or violence. However, some credit Plan Colombia with increasing the strength of the Colombian state and military, as well as initiating the FARC’s decline.[16] In 2002, President Pastrana ended the 1999 peace talks with the FARC before the end of his term.[17]

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. Once in office, Uribe planned to implement an anti-guerrilla program that would professionalize the army, take advantage of paramilitary assistance, and embrace support from the United States government’s Plan Colombia.[18] 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, the FARC-founded Patriotic Union (UP) lost its legal status and could no longer participate politically for lack of members and support.[19]

Uribe remained in office until 2010 when his term as president expired.  Juan Manuel Santos won the 2010 presidential elections. He restarted the peace process with the FARC, announcing in August 2012 that the government had begun “exploratory talks” with the group.[20] The talks grew more serious but were disrupted many times due to the FARC’s violation of cease-fire agreements. As part of the 2012 peace talks, the FARC publicly renounced kidnapping, yet it 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.[21] In July 2015, the FARC once again declared a unilateral ceasefire, and in response, the Colombian government agreed to cease air strikes on the FARC’s encampments.[22]

The talks continued until a final agreement was reached in 2016, which ultimately ended 52 years of violence between the FARC and the Colombian government. The 2016 peace accords created a plan for the FARC to transition into its new status as a recognized political party. The accords had five main points of focus: (1) creating “Comprehensive Rural Reform;” (2) regaining “Political Participation;” (3) demobilizing in a “Bilateral and Definitive Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and Laying down of Arms" that assures the "Reincorporation of the FARC-EP into civilian life” and finds a “Solution to the Illicit Drug Problem;” (4) affirming a “Victims” agreement with a “Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparations, and non-Recurrence;” and (5) formalizing “implementation and verification mechanisms.”[23] On June 27, 2017, the FARC officially ended its disarmament process, which was monitored by the United Nations.[24] Arms monitors oversaw the handover of 7,132 weapons and the recovery of 77 of the FARC’s 900 arms stores from the countryside.[25]

As of July 2019, the FARC has renamed itself the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force (in Spanish, Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común). Due to the result of the 2018 election, the party currently holds five seats in the Colombian House of Representatives and five seats in the Colombian Senate.[26] In agreement with the 2016 peace deal, the FARC will have these seats guaranteed, regardless of electoral results, until 2026; however, the FARC can gain additional seats if it wins enough votes in upcoming elections.[27] Although the FARC officially demobilized and is now a political party, there remain ex-members of the FARC who rejected the 2016 peace accords.[28] InSight Crime estimates that, as of December 2018, there are between 1,800 and 3,000 FARC dissidents who continue to use the FARC’s name for their militant and drug trafficking activities.[29] These dissidents, also known as the ex-FARC Mafia, are present in Colombia and in Venezuela.



[1] “FARC.” InSight Crime. N.p. N.d. Web. 7 August 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/farc-profile

[2] “Colombia president raps rebels for attacking oil pipeline.” Press TV. N.p. 27 June 2015. Web. 28 July 2015. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/06/27/417675/Colombia--Juan-Manuel-San...

[3] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989; Romero, Simon. “Manuel Marulanda, Top Commander of Colombia’s Largest Guerrilla Group, Is Dead.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 26 May 2008. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/26/world/americas/26marulanda.html?_r=0; “Profiles: Colombia’s Armed Groups.” BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC News. 19 August 2013. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-11400950

[4] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989; Romero, Simon. “Manuel Marulanda, Top Commander of Colombia’s Largest Guerrilla Group, Is Dead.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 26 May 2008. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/26/world/americas/26marulanda.html?_r=0

[5] “The Chronology of Resistance: FARC-EP, A History of Struggle.” FARC-EP Ejército del Pueblo. Web. 17 February 2009. Web. 29. July 2015. http://resistencia-colombia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=articl...

[6] “Entrevista al legendario guerrillerro Jaime Guaracas.” El Muerto que Habla. N.p. 1 October 2008. Web. 20 July 2015. http://elmuertoquehabla.blogspot.com/2008/10/entrevista-al-legendario-guerrillero.html; Martin, Gus. The Sage Encyclopedia of Terrorism. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, 2011.

[7] Leech, Garry. “Fifty Years of Violence.” Colombia Journal. N.p. May 1999. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiajournal.org/fiftyyearsofviolence; Leech, Garry. “FARC rebel group in peace talks: Is Colombia’s 50-year war about to end?” The Independent. N.p. 21 July 2013. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/farc-rebel-group-in-peace-talks-is-colombias-50year-war-about-to-end-8722917.html

[8] “Colombia’s Civil War Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).” Online NewsHour. N.p. 2003. Web. 23 July 2015. http://www.cocaine.org/colombia/farc.html; Luxner, Larry. “Drug trafficking accord with FARC rebels stirs debate among Colombia experts.” The Tico Times. N.p. 17 May 2014. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/05/17/drug-trafficking-accord-with-farc-re...

[9] McDermott, Jeremy. “The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?” InSight Crime. N.p. 26 May 2014. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/farc-and-drug-trade-siamese-t...

[10] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989.

[11] Restrepo, Álvaro Sierra. “Colombia: First political agreement between government and FARC in 30 years of negotiations.” News and Views from Latin America. N.p. http://lo-de-alla.org/2013/05/colombia-first-political-agreement-between-government-and-farc-in-30-years-of-negotiations/

[12] Leech, Garry. “Fifty Years of Violence.” Colombia Journal. N.p. May 1999. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiajournal.org/fiftyyearsofviolence; B., S. “Colombia’s Politics – In need of a new alternative.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper. 27 September 2011. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2011/09/colombias-politics; Freeman, Daniel E. “Patriotic Union” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 13 January 2014. Web. 30 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/patriotic-union-union-patriotica/

[13] Cosoy, Natalio. “Colombia’s top army officers ‘knew of extrajudicial killings.’” BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC. 24 June 2015. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-33253853

[14] Shifter, Michael. “Plan Colombia: A Retrospective.” Americas Quarterly. Americas Society/Council of the Americas. 2012. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/3787; Johnson, Michelle Renay. “No More/No Mas: A glimpse into Colombia.” Peace Magazine. N.p. Web. 29 July 2015. http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v16n3p12.htm

[15] Priest, Dana. “Covert Action in Colombia.” The Washington Post. N.p. 21 December 2013. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2013/12/21/covert-action-in-colombia/; Grossman, Marc. “Press Statement.” U.S. Department of State. Np. 14 August 2002. Web. 8 August 2015. http://2001-2009.state.gov/p/us/rm/13049.htm

[16] Arsenault, Chris. “Did Colombia’s war on drugs succeed?” Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera Media Network. 22 May 2014. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/05/did-colombia-war-drugs-succeed-201452264737690753.html; Smith, P. “Plan Colombia: Ten Years Later.” Stop the Drug War. N.p. 15 July 2010. Web. 21 July 2015. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2010/jul/15/plan_colombia_ten_years_later

[17] Miller, T. Christian. “Pastrana Breaks Off Peace Talks.” LA Times. 21 February 2002. Web. 7 August 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/feb/21/news/mn-29115

[18] Bargent, James. “The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth” InSight Crime. N.p. 26 May 2014. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/farc-2002-present-decapitatio...

[19] Leech, Garry. “Fifty Years of Violence.” Colombia Journal. N.p. May 1999. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiajournal.org/fiftyyearsofviolence

[20] Gligorevic, Tihomir. “Colombia: Santos Announces Another Cease of Air Attacks on FARC.” In News. InSerbia Network Foundation. 29 July 2015. Web. 30 July 2015. http://inserbia.info/today/2015/07/colombia-santos-announces-another-cease-of-air-attacks-on-farc/; McDermott, Jeremy. How President Alvaro Uribe Changed Colombia. BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC. 4 August 2010. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-10841425; “Colombia agrees to hold peace talks with FARC rebels.” BBC News. 28 August 2012. 1 July 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19393096

[21] Forero, Juan. “Colombia’s FARC rebels say they’ll stop kidnapping.” The Washington Post. N.p. 26 February 2012. Web. 5 August 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/colombias-farc-rebels-say-theyll-stop-kidnapping/2012/02/26/gIQAi4UWcR_story.html; “Colombia suspends FARC peace talks over kidnapping.” BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC News. 17 November 2014. Web. 5 August 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30076980

[22] Cárdenas, José. “Is Colombia Getting Played by the FARC?” Foreign Policy. 13 July 2015. Web. 13 July 2015. https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/07/13/is-colombia-getting-played-by-the-farc/; Gligorevic, Tihomir. “Colombia: Santos Announces Another Cease of Air Attacks on FARC.” In News. InSerbia Network Foundation. 29 July 2015. Web. 30 July 2015. http://inserbia.info/today/2015/07/colombia-santos-announces-another-cease-of-air-attacks-on-farc/

[23] “Final Agreement to End The Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace.” 24 November 2016. http://especiales.presidencia.gov.co/Documents/20170620-dejacion-armas/acuerdos/acuerdo-final-ingles.pdf

[24] "Colombia’s Farc Officially Ceases to Be an Armed Group." BBC News. 27 June 2017. Web. 24 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40417207.

[25] "Colombia’s Farc Officially Ceases to Be an Armed Group." BBC News. 27 June 2017. Web. 24 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40417207.

[26] "Colombia: Missing Farc Leader Iván Márquez Re-appears on Video." BBC News. 13 January 2019. Web. 25 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-46853989.

[27] Beittel, June S. and Gracia, Edward Y. “Colombia’s 2018 Elections,” In Focus, Congressional Research Service. IF10817. 12 July 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10817.pdf

[28] Casey, Nicholas, and Federico Rios Escobar. "Colombia Struck a Peace Deal With Guerrillas, but Many Return to Arms." 18 September 2018. Web. 24 June 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/world/americas/colombia-farc-peace.html.

[29] "FARC Dissidents Growing Faster Than Colombia Can Count." InSight Crime. 20 December 2018. Web. 24 June 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/farc-dissidents-growing-faster-colombia-can-count/.

 

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Geographic Locations
  • Resources

Leadership

As a militant organization, the FARC’s highest level of leadership was the Secretariat, a seven-member group that oversaw all of the FARC’s activities and appointed bloc commanders. There were seven blocs, each containing five or more fronts with around 200 rebels each. The list below contains every member of the Secretariat.[1]

Jaime Guaracas (1964-1980s): 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 as of July 2019.[2]

Jacobo Arenas, legal name Luis Alberto Morantes Jaime (1964-1990): In 1964, Arenas moved to Marquetalia and became a founding leader of the group. Arenas died in 1990 of natural causes.[3]

Efrain Guzman, also known as Nariño (1978-2002): 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.[4]

Manuel Marulanda Vélez, also known as “Tirofijo,” legal name Pedro Antonio Marín Marín (1964-2008): 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.[5]

Raul Reyes, legal name Luis Edgar Devia Silvia (unknown-2008): Reyes was a member of the Secretariat until his death. He 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.[6]

Jorge Briceño Suarez, also known as “Mono Jojoy,” legal name Victor Julio Suarez Rojas (1965-2010): 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.[7]

Alfonso Cano, legal name Guillermo León Sáenz Vargas (1982-2011): 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.[8]

Iván Ríos, legal name José Juvenal Velandia (1980s-2008): 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.[9]

Ivan Marquéz, legal name Luciano Marin Arango (1985-Present): Ivan Marquéz was a member of the Secretariat. After joining the FARC in 1985, he became extremely active in the FARC’s political party, Union Patriotica (PU). Due to his alleged involvement in the FARC’s drug trade, the U.S. State Department has indicted Marquéz on drug charges.[10] Following the 2016 peace deal, Marquéz became a member of the FARC party within the Congress of Colombia. However, as of June 2019, Marquéz has declined to take up his seat in the Colombian Senate in protest of the arrest and pending extradition of former FARC leader, Jesus Santrich.[11] Marquéz went into hiding in 2018. In January 2019, he reappeared in a video criticizing the execution of the peace agreement on the part of the Colombian government.[12]

Mauricio Jaramillo, also known as “El Médico,” legal name Jaime Alberto Parra (1990-2016): El Médico joined the FARC in the late 1980s as the physician for former commander in chief, Manuel Marulanda. This earned him the alias “El Médico.” He was the commander of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc and a member of the Secretariat. Jaramillo inherited both of these positions from Mono Jojoy, for whom Jaramillo was a close confidant.[13] As of 2019, the relationship between Jaramillo and the FARC political party is unknown.

Pablo Catatumbo, legal name Jorge Torres Victoria (1990-Present): Catatumbo was a member of the Secretariat, as well as 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). He was held hostage by Death to Kidnappers (MAS), a militant group that formed in opposition to the FARC. Catatumbo then joined the FARC after M-19 demobilized. He was considered a hardliner, was strongly in favor of the FARC’s kidnapping practices and disagreed with the 2012 decision to stop kidnapping.[14] Catatumbo was one of the main directors of the FARC’s drug trafficking operations, specifically of cocaine.[15] In 2018, Catatumbo became one of the FARC’s 10 congressional representatives in the Congress of Colombia.[16]

Pastor Alape, legal name Felix Antonio Muñoz Lascarro (1993-Present): Pastor Alape joined the FARC in 1983. In 1993, he became the leader of the FARC’s 4th Front. Alape was also a member of the Secretariat.[17] Alape was the head of the FARC’s cocaine trafficking in the Magdalena Medio Bloc.[18] Since the FARC’s transition into a political party, Alape has been working on a commission to ensure the government’s fulfillment of the reintegration of former FARC members in compliance with the 2016 peace accords.[19]

Timoleón Jiménez, also known as “Timochenko,” legal name Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (1993-Present): Timochenko became the Commander for the FARC in November 2011; as of July 2019, he has been the leader of the FARC’s political party since its creation in 2017. Since joining the FARC, he steadily climbed the ranks. In 1993, he was leader of the FARC’s Magdalena Medio Bloc. Then, he was promoted to serve as a member of the seven-person Secretariat. In 2011, he became the FARC commander following Alfonso Cano’s death.[20] Timochenko retained his position as the leader of the FARC when it transitioned into a political party, and he ran as the party’s candidate for president in 2018.[21] In June 2019, Timochenko spoke out in an interview with CNN Español about the government’s failure to protect ex-FARC members.[22]

Joaquin Gomez, legal name Milton de Jesus Toncel Redondo (1999-Present): Gomez joined the FARC in 1981 and was the point person in the 1999 peace talks. Gomez was a member of the Secretariat and leader of the FARC’s Southern Bloc.[23] In 2014, he joined the peace talks in Havana, Cuba as a member of the FARC’s delegation.[24] Following the FARC’s demobilization, Gomez led the reintegration of ex-FARC members in La Guajira, where, as of early 2019, Gomez has announced intent to run for governor.[25] In April 2019, Gomez wrote a letter exposing abuses by the Colombian government, particularly by the military, which had targeted him since the 2016 peace accords.[26]

Carlos Antonio Lozada, legal name Julián Gallo Cubillos (unknown-Present): Lozada was a commander of the FARC and a member of its Secretariat. He was a member of the FARC delegation to Cuba for the peace negotiations. As of July 2019, Lozada has been representing the FARC political party as a senator in the Congress of Colombia.[27]

Bertulfo Álvarez, legal name Juan Hermilo Cabrera Diaz (unknown-Present): Álvarez was a commander of the FARC and a member of its Secretariat. As a commander, he was in charge of the Iván Ríos Bloc and led the Caribbean Bloc during the FARC’s negotiations with Santos’ government. In February 2019, he wrote a letter against disarming the guards of former FARC leaders As of July 2019, Álvarez has been a member of the FARC political party.[28]

 

Since the creation of the FARC political party in 2017, the new leadership of the FARC has been comprised of its members in the Congress of Colombia, most of whom were commanders of the former FARC militant organization. Below are leaders who were not a part of the Secretariat, yet as of July 2019, have been leaders in the FARC political party:

Romaña, legal name Henry Castellanos Garzon (mid 1980’s-Present): Romaña was the leader of several eastern bloc fronts.[29] He was nicknamed the “Kidnapping Czar” because of his widespread and effective kidnappings.[30] Romaña was one of the FARC commanders involved in negotiating the 2016 peace accords with the Colombian government in Cuba.[31] In 2017, following the peace deal with the Colombian government, Romaña lived with other ex-FARC combatants in Nariño and Meta.[32] He went into hiding in 2018, and as of July 2019, Romaña has not yet submitted himself to court in cooperation with Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).[33] Although Romaña has not complied with the JEP, there is no evidence that he has joined with ex-FARC splinter groups.

El Paisa, legal name Hernan Dario Velasquez Saldarriaga (1980’s-Present): El Paisa was a commander of the FARC, as well as a former commander of the urban Medellin Cartel. He was a part of the 2012-2016 peace negotiations in Havana. Following the peace deal, El Paisa assisted in the reintegration of ex-FARC members in Caqueta province.[34] Although he demobilized, El Paisa has refused to cooperate with Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), and he went into hiding in 2018.[35] As of June 2019, El Paisa’s arrest warrant has been reactivated, and there is a reward of 3 billion pesos for information on his location.[36] Although El Paisa has not complied with the JEP, there is no evidence that he has joined with ex-FARC splinter groups.

Jesus Santrich, legal name Seuxis Hérnandez (1991-Present): Santrich is a former commander of the FARC who holds a seat in the House of Representatives of Colombia for the FARC political party. In 2018, he was arrested and faced extradition to the U.S. on charges of drug trafficking. The Colombian Supreme Court released him from prison on March 30, 2019 and he has since taken up his seat in the Congress of Colombia.[37] In July 2019, the Colombian government issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to show up to his hearing for drug smuggling related charges.[38]

Sandra Ramirez (unknown-Present): Sandra was a secretary and radio operator for the FARC. She was a companion to Manuel Marulanda and raised 5 of his children from a previous relationship. Ramirez was part of the FARC negotiations team in Havana, Cuba. As of 2019, she has been a senator in the Congress of Colombia, representing the FARC political party.[39]

Victoria Sandino (unknown-Present): Sandino was a propagandist for the FARC. In particular, she was responsible for recruiting women into the FARC. Sandino attended the Havana peace talks and was on a subcommittee focused on gender issues. As of 2019, Sandino has been a senator representing the FARC political party in the Congress of Colombia.[40]

 

Some leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia refused to demobilize, and instead they became commanders of ex-FARC splinter groups that have retained the FARC’s militant name. Below are leaders of the ex-FARC splinter groups, also called the ex-FARC Mafia, who were not part of the Secretariat before the 2016 peace accords:

Armando Rios (unknown-2016; 2016-present as a dissident): As of June 2019, Rios was the commander of the 1st Front of the FARC, located in Guaviare in southeast Colombia.[41] Rios and the fighters in the 1st Front refused to disarm as part of the 2016 peace agreement between the FARC and Santos’ government. Rios was succeeded by Iván Mordisco.

Iván Mordisco, legal name Néstor Gregorio Vera Fernández (2000’s-2016; 2016-present as a dissident): Mordisco is the commander of the 1st Front of FARC dissidents within the ex-FARC mafia. Mordisco was the first commander to announce his renunciation of the 2016 peace accords between the FARC and the Colombian government.[42]

Gentil Duarte, legal name Miguel Botache Santilllana (unknown-2016; 2016-present as a dissident): Gentil Duarte is the commander of the 7th Front of FARC dissidents within the ex-FARC mafia. As of 2019, authorities believe that he is in hiding in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas. According to InSight Crime, Duarte is the most wanted leader of the FARC’s dissidents by the Colombian government. Duarte is credited with organizing the FARC dissidents into an alliance.[43]

Jhon 40, legal name Gener Garcia Molina (1980’s-2016; 2016-present as a dissident): Molina is the lieutenant of FARC dissident leader Gentil Duarte. Under Duarte’s direction, Molina has united the FARC dissidents of Catatumbo into the 33rd Front. As of July 2019, Molina is believed to be operating out of Venezuela.[44]



[1] “Colombia: an overview of the Farc’s military structure.” European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre. Brussels Invest & Export. N.d. Web. 28 July 2015. http://www.esisc.org/publications/briefings/colombia-an-overview-of-the-...

[2] “Jaime Guaracas escribió ‘Así nacieron las FARC’ con un dedo.” Semanario Voz. N.p. 1 May. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.semanariovoz.com/2015/05/01/jaime-guaracas-escribio-asi-nacieron-las-farc-con-un-dedo/

[3] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989.

[4] “Homenaje Al Comandate Efraín Guzmán.” Frente Antonio Nariño ~ FARC-EP. N.p. 17 September 2014. Web. 21 July 2015. http://frentean.org/?p=1180; Holmes, Jennifer S, Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, and Kevin M Curtin. Guns, Drugs, and Development In Colombia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008; http%3A%2F%2Ffarc.narod.ru%2Fmagazine%2F32%2F02s.html&anno=2

[5] Gunson, Phil. "Manuel Marulanda: Obituary." The Guardian. 26 May 2008. Web. 23 July 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/may/26/colombia1.  

[6] Hoft, Jim. “Top FARC Dog Raul Reyes Killed by Colombian Forces.” The Gateway Pundit. N.p. 1 March 2008. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2008/03/top-farc-dog-raul-reyes-killed-by-colombian-forces/;  “Colombia: No. 2 FARC Commander Raul Reyes killed in Gunfight.” Fox News. N.p. 1 March 2008. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/03/01/colombia-no-2-farc-commander-reyes-killed-in-gunfight.html; Goodman, Joshua. “Colombian Rebel Leader Raul Reyes Killed by Army, Minister Says.” Bloomberg. N.p. 1 March 2008. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a5HnABwKGrZc

[7] Brodzinsky, Sibylla. “Colombia troops kill top FARC rebel leader ‘Mono Jojoy.’” The Christian Science Monitor. N.p. 21 September 2010. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2010/0923/Colombia-troops-kill-top-FARC-rebel-leader-Mono-Jojoy; “Victor Julio Suarez Rojas, alias ‘Mono Jojoy.’” InSight Crime. N.p. N.d. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/jorge-briceno-suarez-mono-jojoy

[8] “Quién era Alfonso ‘Cano’?” Semana. Publicaciones Semana. 11 April 2011. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/quien-alfonso-cano/248924-3; “Guillermo Leon Saenz Vargas, alias ‘Alfonso Cano.’” InSight Crime. N.p. N.d. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/guillermo-leon-saenz-vargas-alfonso-cano; “Obituary: Alfonso Cano.” BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC News. 5 November 2011. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-15604609;  Pachico, Elyssa. “Alfonso Cano: FARC to ‘Double’ Actions in 2011.” InSight Crime. N.p. 10 January 2011. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/alfonso-cano-farc-to-double-actions-in-2011

[9] Weyden Velásquez, Carlos Raúl van der. “Colombia; Reward for FARC Guerrilla for killing his Commander.” Global Voices. N.p. 21 March 2008. Web. 21 July 2015. https://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/03/21/colombia-reward-for-guerrilla-man-who-killed-his-commander/; “Quién era Manuel Muñoz Ortiz, alias Iván Ríos?” La Gaceta. N.p. 07 March 2008. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.lagaceta.com.ar/nota/261129/mundo/quien-era-manuel-munoz-ortiz-alias-ivan-rios.html

[10] “Luciano Marin Arango, alias ‘Ivan Marquez.’” InSight Crime. N.p. N.d. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/luciano-marin-ivan-marquez“Narcotics Rewards Program: Luciano Marin Arango.” US Separtment of State. Bureau of Public Affairs. N.d. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.state.gov/j/inl/narc/rewards/115279.htm

[11] "Former Farc Rebels Take Seats in Colombia Congress." BBC News. 21 July 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-44909273.

[12] "Colombia: Missing Farc Leader Iván Márquez Re-appears on Video." BBC News. 13 January 2019. Web. 25 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-46853989.

[13] “El heredero del ‘Mono Jojoy’ entre los negociadores.” KienyKe. N.p. 5 September 2012. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.kienyke.com/historias/el-medico-es-el-heredero-del-mono-jojoy-como-comandante-del-bloque-oriental/; “Quién es ‘Mauricio’, la ficha de las FARC detrás de las negociaciones?” Semana. Publicaciones Semana. 28 August 2012. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/quien-mauricio-ficha-farc-detras-n...

[14] Petterson, Ollie Ohlsen. “Pablo Catatumbo (FARC).” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 21 January 2013. Web. 21 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/pablo-catatumbo/

[15] "Jorge Torres Victoria - United States Department of State." U.S. Department of State. Web. 26 June 2019. https://www.state.gov/narcotics-rewards-program-target-information-wanted/jorge-torres-victoria/.

[16] "Pablo Catatumbo | ColombiaCheck." Inicio. Web. 26 June 2019. https://colombiacheck.com/pablo-catatumbo.

[17] Gillin, Joel. “’Pastor Alape’ (FARC).” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 25 October 2014. Web. 21 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/pastor-alape/

[18] "Felix Antonio Munoz Lascarro - United States Department of State." U.S. Department of State. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.state.gov/narcotics-rewards-program-target-information-wanted/felix-antonio-munoz-lascarro/.

[19] Gillin, Joel. "Pastor Alape (FARC): Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. 30 May 2019. Web. 12 July 2019. https://colombiareports.com/pastor-alape/.

[20] “Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias ‘Timonchenko.’” InSight Crime. N.p. N.d. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/rodrigo-londono-echeverri-timochenko; Cardona, Libardo. “Colombia: Timoleon Jimenez FARC Rebels New Chief.” The World Post. The Huffington Post. 15 November 2011. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/15/colombia-timoleon-jimenez-farc-_n_1095654.html

[21] "Colombia's Farc Leader Timochenko to Run for President." BBC News. 01 November 2017. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41833966.

[22] "Entrevista a Timochenko: El Líder De La FARC Pide Perdón Y Habla De La Muerte De Exguerrilleros." CNN. 26 June 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2019/06/24/entrevista-a-timochenko-el-lider-de-la-farc-pide-perdon-y-habla-de-la-muerte-de-exguerrilleros/.

[23] “’Joaquín Gómez’, septimo hombre de las Farc.” El Espectador. N.p. 11 March 2008. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/paz/articulo-joaquin-gomez-septimo-hombre-de-farc; “’Joaquín Gómez’ podría estar en Venezula.” El Mundo. N.p. 11 March 2008. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.elmundo.com/portal/pagina.general.impresion.php?idx=79087

[24] Colombiareports. ""Joaquin Gomez": Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. 31 May 2019. Web. 12 July 2019. https://colombiareports.com/joaquin-gomez/.

[25] Colombiareports. ""Joaquin Gomez": Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. 31 May 2019. Web. 12 July 2019. https://colombiareports.com/joaquin-gomez/.

[26] Judicial, Redacción. "Joaquín Gómez, Líder De La Farc, Denuncia "persecución" Por Parte De Inteligencia Militar." ELESPECTADOR.COM. 23 April 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/judicial/joaquin-gomez-lider-de-la-farc-denuncia-persecucion-por-parte-de-inteligencia-militar-articulo-851727.

[27] Jimeno, Alfredo Molano. ""Carlos Antonio Lozada", De Jefe De Las Milicias a Senador." ELESPECTADOR.COM. 16 May 2019. Web. 22 July 2019. https://www.elespectador.com/colombia2020/politica/carlos-antonio-lozada-de-jefe-de-las-milicias-senador-articulo-856910.

[28] Judicial, Redacción. "Exintegrante Del Secretariado De Las Farc Pide Que No Dejen a Sus Escoltas Desarmados." ELESPECTADOR.COM. 09 February 2019. Web. 22 July 2019. https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/judicial/exintegrante-del-secretariado-de-las-farc-pide-que-no-dejen-sus-escoltas-desarmados-articulo-838742.

[29] "Henry Castellanos Garzon - United States Department of State." U.S. Department of State. Web. 26 June 2019. https://www.state.gov/narcotics-rewards-program-target-information-wanted/henry-castellanos-garzon/.

[30] Colombiareports. "Romaña (FARC) | Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. May 29, 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://colombiareports.com/romana/.

[31] Colombiareports. "Romaña (FARC) | Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. May 29, 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://colombiareports.com/romana/.

[32] Colombiareports. "Romaña (FARC): Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. May 29, 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://colombiareports.com/romana/.

[33] "Entrevista a Timochenko: El Líder De La FARC Pide Perdón Y Habla De La Muerte De Exguerrilleros." CNN. 26 June 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2019/06/24/entrevista-a-timochenko-el-lider-de-la-farc-pide-perdon-y-habla-de-la-muerte-de-exguerrilleros/.

[34] Colombiareports. "El Paisa (FARC): Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. 20 July 2019. Web. 22 July 2019. https://colombiareports.com/el-paisa-farc/.

[35] Colombiareports. "El Paisa (FARC): Profile." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. 20 July 2019. Web. 22 July 2019. https://colombiareports.com/el-paisa-farc/.

[36] "Hernán Darío Velásquez Saldarriaga, Alias 'El Paisa'." InSight Crime. 07 May 2019. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/hernan-dario-velasquez-saldarriaga-alias-el-paisa/.

[37] Colombiareports. "FARC Leader "Jesus Santrich" Released from Jail for Second Time in Two Weeks." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. May 30, 2019. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://colombiareports.com/farc-leader-jesus-santrich-released-from-jai....

[38] "Arrest Warrant Issued for Farc Ex-rebel Jesús Santrich." BBC News. 10 July 2019. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-48932019.   

[39] Castrillón, Gloria. ""Sandra Ramírez", La Viuda Del Fundador De Las Farc." ELESPECTADOR.COM. 16 May 2019. Web. 22 July 2019. https://www.elespectador.com/colombia2020/politica/sandra-ramirez-la-viuda-del-fundador-de-las-farc-articulo-856920.

[40] Castrillón, Gloria. ""Victoria Sandino", La Líder Feminista De La Farc." ELESPECTADOR.COM. 16 May 2019. Web. 22 July 2019. https://www.elespectador.com/colombia2020/politica/victoria-sandino-la-lider-feminista-de-la-farc-articulo-856917.

[41] Reuters. "Colombian Farc Rebel Unit Rejects Peace Deal, Saying It Will Not Disarm." The Guardian. 07 July 2016. Web. 25 June 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/07/colombian-farc-rebel-unit-not-disarm-under-peace-deal.

[42] "Néstor Gregorio Vera Fernández, Alias 'Iván Mordisco'." InSight Crime. 03 April 2019. Web. 16 July 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/nestor-gregorio-vera-fernandez-alias-ivan-mordisco/.

[43] "FARC in Venezuela." InSight Crime. 27 June 2019. Web. 16 July 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/venezuela-organized-crime-news/farc-in-venezuela/.

[44] "FARC in Venezuela." InSight Crime. 27 June 2019. Web. 16 July 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/venezuela-organized-crime-news/farc-in-venezuela/.

 

Name Changes

  • The Southern Bloc (1964-1966): In 1964, guerrillas who fought in the resistance against the Colombian government in Marquetalia and in other settlements came together to create the First Guerrilla Conference. In this conference, they established themselves as the Southern Bloc and created an Agrarian Reform Plan demanding change and better conditions from the government, such as irrigation, sanitation, and education for peasants and workers.[1]
  • The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) (1966-1982): At the Second Guerrilla Conference in 1966, the Southern Bloc renamed itself the FARC. The name change was accompanied by the creation of a group constitution and the shift to more offensive tactics.[2]
  • The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) (1982-2017): During the Seventh Guerrilla Conference in 1982, the FARC adopted the suffix “EP” for “Ejército del Pueblo” (in English, “People’s Army”).[3] The Seventh Conference resulted in new plans to urbanize the conflict, to expand territorially, and to more heavily recruit fighters.[4] Despite the name change to the FARC-EP, the Colombian government, the United States government, and popular news outlets continued to refer to the group as the FARC.
  • The Revolutionary Alternative Common Force (FARC) (2017-Present): After signing a peace deal with the Colombian government in 2016, the FARC disarmed, demobilized, and transitioned from its status as a militant organization to a political party in the Congress of Colombia. In its renaming, the FARC retained its former acronym.[5]


[1] Holmes, Jennifer S, Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, and Kevin M Curtin. Guns, Drugs, and Development In Colombia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008

[2] Holmes, Jennifer S, Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, and Kevin M Curtin. Guns, Drugs, and Development In Colombia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008

[3] “Cronología de la Resistencia: FARC-EP. Una Historia de Lucha.” FARC-EP Ejército del Pueblo. Resistencia-Colombia. 21 April 2007. Web. 10 July 2015

[4] Gonzalez, Elizabeth. “Explainer: The FARC and Colombia’s 50-year Civil Conflict.” American Society/ Council of the Americas. N.p. 27 October 2014. Web. 9 July 2015. http://www.as-coa.org/articles/explainer-farc-and-colombias-50-year-civil-conflict

[5] Beittel, June S. and Gracia, Edward Y. “Colombia’s 2018 Elections,” In Focus, Congressional Research Service. IF10817. 12 July 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10817.pdf

 

Size Estimates

  • 1964: ~50 (InSight Crime)[1]
  • 1964: 48 (Democracy in Colombia)[2]
  • 1970: 1,000 (Democracy in Colombia)[3]
  • 1971: 780 (Guns, Drugs, and Development in Colombia)[4]
  • 1978: 2,000 (Guns, Drugs, and Development in Colombia)[5]
  • 1982: 6,000 (Wilson Centre)[6]
  • 1983: 3,000+ (Democracy in Colombia)[7]
  • 1986: 4,000+ (Democracy in Colombia)[8]
  • 2001: 16,000 (Council on Foreign Relations)[9]
  • 2003: 17,000 (The Telegraph)[10]
  • 2007: 18,000 (Colombia Journal)[11]
  • 2013: 7,000+ (Council on Foreign Relations)[12]
  • 2014: 7,000+ (InSight Crime)[13]
  • 2018: 11,000+ demobilized (Congressional Research Service)[14]
  • 2018: 1,400+ dissidents (Human Rights Watch)[15]
  • May, 2019: 2296 dissidents, 239 of whom are Venezuelan (Reuters)[16]


[1] “FARC.” InSight Crime. N.p. N.d. Web. 7 August 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/farc-profile

[2] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989.

[3] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989.

[4] Holmes, Jennifer S, Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, and Kevin M Curtin. Guns, Drugs, and Development In Colombia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008

[5] Holmes, Jennifer S, Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, and Kevin M Curtin. Guns, Drugs, and Development In Colombia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008

[6] Otis, John. “The FARC and Colombia’s Illegal Drug Trade.” Wilson Centre Latin American Program. N.p. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Otis_FARCDrugTrade2014.pdf

[7]  Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989.

[8] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989.

[9] Hanson, Stephanie and Renwick, Danielle. “FARC, ELN: Colombia’s Left-Wing Guerrillas.” CFR Backgrounders. Council on Foreign Relations. 01 December 2014. Web. 9 July 2015. http://www.cfr.org/colombia/farc-eln-colombias-left-wing-guerrillas/p9272

[10] “Shining Path back as FARC exports terror.” The Telegraph. The Telegraph Media Group Limited. 13 September 2003. Web. 23 July 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/colombia/1441377/...

[11] Leech, Garry, “Interview with FARC commander Raul Reyes.” Colombia Journal. N.p. 12 July 2007. Web. 23 July 2015. http://colombiajournal.org/interview-with-farc-commander-raul-reyes.htm

[12] Hanson, Stephanie and Renwick, Danielle. “FARC, ELN: Colombia’s Left-Wing Guerrillas.” CFR Backgrounders. Council on Foreign Relations. 01 December 2014. Web. 9 July 2015. http://www.cfr.org/colombia/farc-eln-colombias-left-wing-guerrillas/p9272

[13] McDermott, Jeremy. “The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana.” InSight Crime. N.p. 26 May 2014. Web. 30 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/reality-farc-peace-talks-havana

[14] “Columbia: Background and US Relations.” Congressional Research Service, updated February 8, 2019. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43813.pdf

[15] "World Report 2019: Rights Trends in Colombia." Human Rights Watch. 17 January 2019. Web. 25 June 2019. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/colombia.

[16] Murphy, Helen. "Exclusive: Colombian Armed Groups Recruiting Desperate Venezuelans,..." Reuters. 20 June 2019. Web. 15 July 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-colombia-exclusive/exclusive-colombian-armed-groups-recruiting-desperate-venezuelans-army-says-idUSKCN1TL14E.

 

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organization has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences.

When it was a militant organization, the FARC operated throughout Colombia, primarily focused in the south and in rural areas. Internationally, the group was active in the drug trade and other illegal markets in neighboring countries, such as Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, and Panama. Brazilian drug lords supported the FARC in the drug trade, and the FARC’s largest drug corridors were in Venezuela. In 2015, the FARC reportedly trained Mexican drug cartels, including Jalisco Cartel-New.

Dissidents of the FARC’s peace agreement with the Colombian government have continued domestic militant and drug trafficking operations in 10 to 19 departments of Colombia, mainly in the southern part of the country.[1] As of July 2019, FARC dissidents have also been active in 6 fronts in Venezuela, primarily along the Venezuelan-Colombian border.[2]



[1] "FARC Dissidents Growing Faster Than Colombia Can Count." InSight Crime. 20 December 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/farc-dissidents-growing-faster-colombia-can-count/ . ; "Colombia's Illegal Armed Group (maps)." Colombia Reports Data. 01 June 2019. Web. 12 July 2019. https://data.colombiareports.com/colombia-illegal-armed-groups-maps/.

[2] "FundaRedes: Más De 28 Grupos Armados Irregulares De Colombia Operan En Venezuela." TalCual. 14 May 2019. Web. 11 July 2019. https://talcualdigital.com/index.php/2019/05/13/fundaredes-mas-de-28-grupos-armados-irregulares-de-colombia-operan-en-venezuela/.;

Charles, Mathew. "Feared Colombian Guerrillas Join Forces with Maduro Regime to Quash Aid Protests on the Border." The Telegraph. 01 March 2019. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/01/feared-colombian-guerrillas-join-forces-maduro-regime-quash/.

 

Resources

Before the drug trade boom in the 1970s and 1980s, the FARC received weapons, training, and financial assistance from Cuba.[1] 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. The FARC’s ability to profit from the drug trade ultimately gave the group greater financial independence. In 2002, the growth of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc was funded by money earned from trading cocaine with Brazilian drug lords.[2] At its peak, the FARC owned an estimated 60%-70% of the coca growing areas and cocaine trafficking routes in Colombia.[3]

Beginning in 2012, the FARC 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 only decreased the number of kidnappings and still kidnapped for revenue.[4]

Other forms of funding replaced kidnappings as the FARC’s highest source of revenue, such as gold mining. Profits from gold mining also surpassed those from the drug trade. In 2015, it was estimated that the FARC’s profits from gold mining were more than five times those from cocaine trafficking.[5] In addition to profiting from gold mining, the FARC ‘taxed’ each piece of machinery entering its territory, earning about $240,000 a month. These taxes and the direct sale of gold made gold mining the most lucrative funding source for the FARC.[6]

As prescribed by the 2016 peace negotiations, the FARC submitted an inventory of all of its assets in 2017. According to the FARC, its assets totaled $324 million with additional hundreds of kilograms of gold.[7] However, the government believed that the true value of the FARC’s assets was greater due to the group’s historic involvement in criminal activities. InSight Crime estimates that the FARC’s annual income was around $580 million in 2015 alone, based upon its combined sub-incomes from drug trafficking, extortion, and illegal gold mining.[8] The FARC also claims to have no foreign assets, a fact that the Colombian government disputes.[9] As agreed in the 2016 peace negotiations, the FARC’s assets are to be given to victims of the FARC and its militant activities as reparations.[10] Following the formation of the FARC as a political party in 2017, the Colombian government has been responsible for financing the FARC.[11]

As of 2019, the FARC officially has stopped its involvement in drug trafficking, a requirement of the 2016 peace accords with the Colombian government. However, FARC militants who rejected the accords have continued to fund their projects through criminal activities, such as kidnapping.[12] These FARC dissidents have also profited from extortion and involvement in all levels of drug trade and production, including working with cartels in neighboring countries. Reflecting on rates from 2015-2016, the Colombian government and the United States have been concerned about the increase in coca production and cocaine trafficking by FARC dissidents since 2012.[13].



[1] Otis, John. “The FARC and Colombia’s Illegal Drug Trade.” Wilson Centre Latin American Program. N.p. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Otis_FARCDrugTrade2014.pdf

[2] McDermott, Jeremy. “The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?” InSight Crime. N.p. 26 May 2014. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/farc-and-drug-trade-siamese-t...

[3] Beittel, June S. and Rosen, Lianna w. “Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy,” Congressional Research Service. 30 November 2017. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44779.pdf   

[4] Saab, Bilal Y. and Taylor, Alexandra W. “Criminality and Armed Groups: A comparative Study of FARC and Paramilitary Groups in Colombia.” Brookings. The Brookings Institution. June 2009. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2009/05/06-criminality-saab

[5] “Colombia’s Civil War Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).” Online NewsHour. N.p. 2003. Web. 23 July 2015. http://www.cocaine.org/colombia/farc.html; Luxner, Larry. “Drug trafficking accord with FARC rebels stirs debate among Colombia experts.” The Tico Times. N.p. 17 May 2014. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/05/17/drug-trafficking-accord-with-farc-rebels-stirs-debate-among-colombia-experts; Jamasmie, Cecilia. “Illegal gold mining profits for rebels in Colombia five times larger than cocaine.” Mining. N.p. 24 June 2013. Web. 8 August 2015. http://www.mining.com/illegal-gold-mining-profits-for-rebels-in-colombia-five-times-larger-than-cocaine-68592/; Cawley, Marguerite. “Colombia’s FARC Profit from Illegal Gold Mining in Peru.” InSight Crime. N.p. 3 December 2014. Web. 8 August 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/colombia-farc-profit-from-peru-i...

[6] McDermott, Jeremy. “Gold overtakes drugs as source of Colombia rebel funds.” BBC Latin America. BBC. 17 June 2012. Web. 9 July 2015; Cawley, Marguerite. “Colombia’s FARC Profit from Illegal Gold Mining in Peru.” InSight Crime. n.p. 03 December 2014. Web. 9 July 2015

[7] "Colombia's FARC Rebels Say Assets worth $324 Million." Reuters. 25 August 2017. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-peace/colombias-farc-rebels-say-assets-worth-324-million-idUSKCN1B522G.

[8] "The FARC's Riches: Up to $580 Million in Annual Income." InSight Crime. 21 February 2018. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/farc-riches-yearly-income-up-to-580-million/.

[9] "Colombia's FARC Rebels Say Assets worth $324 Million." Reuters. 25 August 2017. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-peace/colombias-farc-rebels-say-assets-worth-324-million-idUSKCN1B522G

[10] "Colombia's FARC Rebels Say Assets worth $324 Million." Reuters. 25 August 2017. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-peace/colombias-farc-rebels-say-assets-worth-324-million-idUSKCN1B522G

[11] "Colombia's FARC Rebels Say Assets worth $324 Million." Reuters. 25 August 2017. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-peace/colombias-farc-rebels-say-assets-worth-324-million-idUSKCN1B522G

[12] "Recycled Violence | Abuses by FARC Dissident Groups in Tumaco on Colombia's Pacific Coast." Human Rights Watch. 17 December 2018. Web. 24 June 2019. https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/12/13/recycled-violence/abuses-farc-dissident-groups-tumaco-colombias-pacific-coast.

[13] Beittel, June S. and Rosen, Lianna w. “Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy,” Congressional Research Service. 30 November 2017. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44779.pdf   

 

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

  • Communist
  • Marxist-Leninist

The FARC was a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group founded in the 1960s to overthrow the Colombian government and seize control of the country. The FARC’s goal was territorial gain and control within Colombia.[1] Additionally, the FARC opposed American imperialism and financial capital monopolies.[2] Therefore, the FARC opposed U.S. activity and influence in Colombia.[3]

Many leaders of the FARC found inspiration from leftist social movements around the world. In a 2008 interview, Jaime Guaracas, one of the original founders of the FARC, said that FARC leader Manuel Marulanda read and was influenced heavily by the work of Lenin, Marx, Bolívar, and Mao during the group’s formative years.[4]



[1] “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).” Terrorist Organization Profiles. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. N.d. Web. 13 July 2015. http://www.start.umd.edu/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=96; Otis, John. “The FARC and Colombia’s Illegal Drug Trade.” Wilson Centre Latin American Program. N.p. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Otis_FARCDrugTrade2014.pdf

[2] Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989.

[3] Hanson, Stephanie and Renwick, Danielle. “FARC, ELN: Colombia’s Left-Wing Guerrillas.” CFR Backgrounders. Council on Foreign Relations. 01 December 2014. Web. 9 July 2015. http://www.cfr.org/colombia/farc-eln-colombias-left-wing-guerrillas/p9272

[4] “Entrevista al legendario guerrillerro Jaime Guaracas.” El Muerto que Habla. N.p. 1 October 2008. Web. 20 July 2015. http://elmuertoquehabla.blogspot.com/2008/10/entrevista-al-legendario-gu...

 

Political Activities

In 1985, during the 1984-1987 ceasefire that followed the 1984 Uribe Accords, the FARC and 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 PCC members, the UP also attracted members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), leftist leaders, and other rebel group members. In order to gain more followers, the UP discouraged the use of arms despite the party’s endorsement from the FARC and other militants. The party sought to address land reform, provide better medical care and educational services for the poor, and nationalize businesses, banks, and transportation systems.[1] 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 UP members by 1992. By 2002, the UP’s legal status as a party was revoked because of lack of members. The party was inactive until 2013, when its legal status was restored.[2]

In 2005, former UP members, including FARC members, created the Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA) political party.[3] The PDA has proven to be fragmented internally, but it publicly supported the peace negotiations between the FARC and the Santos administration.[4]

In 2012, the FARC and President Santos entered into peace talks in Havana, Cuba. The talks, which lasted until November 2016, paved a path to reintegrate former FARC soldiers into Colombian society, and they promised reforms addressing land and urban-rural inequality. In exchange, the Colombian government called for the FARC’s disarmament, demobilization, and cessation of illegal activities such as drug trafficking. [5] The Congress of Colombia approved the resulting peace agreement between the FARC and the Santos administration in November 2016.[6]  The FARC joined the Congress of Colombia as a political party in July 2018. Under the 2016 agreement, the party is guaranteed to hold 5 seats in the House of Representatives and 5 seats in the Senate until 2026, regardless of electoral outcomes.[7] However, the FARC can occupy more seats in the Congress of Colombia if it wins them in elections. In the March 2018 congressional elections, the FARC did not win any additional seats beyond those guaranteed by the peace agreement.[8]

There has been tension between the Colombian government and the FARC since the signing and ratification of the 2016 peace accords. Some FARC leaders, such as Ivan Marquéz, have refused to take up their seat in the Colombian Congress in protest of the government’s treatment of former leaders of the FARC under Colombian President Iván Duque, who was elected in June 2018.[9] In 2019, former commanders of the FARC, like Timochenko, wrote statements and spoke in interviews condemning the Colombian government’s failure to protect ex-FARC leaders, both physically and from extradition, as part of the government’s responsibilities from the 2016 peace accords.[10] Additionally, some former leaders of the FARC have failed to comply with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the body responsible for determining charges and sentences of ex-members of the FARC.[11]



[1] Freeman, Daniel E. “Patriotic Union.” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 13 January 2014. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/patriotic-union-union-patriotica/

[2] Leech, Garry. “Fifty Years of Violence.” Colombia Journal. N.p. May 1999. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiajournal.org/fiftyyearsofviolence; B., S. “Colombia’s Politics – In need of a new alternative.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper. 27 September 2011. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2011/09/colombias-politics

[3] “Colombia’s Congressional Election – Hostile Forces.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper. 13 March 2014. Print. 10 July 2015. http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21599019-opponents-peace-talks-farc-gain-more-powerful-platform-hostile-forces

[4] Gruenwald, Taylor. “Alternative Democratic Pole.” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 13 April 2015. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/alternative-democratic-pole-colombia/

[5] “Final Agreement to End The Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace.” 24 November 2016. http://especiales.presidencia.gov.co/Documents/20170620-dejacion-armas/acuerdos/acuerdo-final-ingles.pdf

[6] Casey, Nicholas. “Colombia’s Congress Approves Peace Accord With FARC.” The New York Times. 30 November 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/world/americas/colombia-farc-accord-juan-manuel-santos.html

[7] Beittel, June S. and Gracia, Edward Y. “Colombia’s 2018 Elections,” In Focus, Congressional Research Service. IF10817. 12 July 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10817.pdf

[8] Beittel, June S. and Gracia, Edward Y. “Colombia’s 2018 Elections,” In Focus, Congressional Research Service. IF10817. 12 July 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10817.pdf

[9] "Former Farc Rebels Take Seats in Colombia Congress." BBC News. 21 July 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-44909273.

[10] "Entrevista a Timochenko: El Líder De La FARC Pide Perdón Y Habla De La Muerte De Exguerrilleros." CNN. 26 June 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2019/06/24/entrevista-a-timochenko-el-lider-de-la-farc-pide-perdon-y-habla-de-la-muerte-de-exguerrilleros/.

[11] Semana. "La Revolución Epistolar De Las Farc." Partido De Las Farc Dividido ¿cómo Afecta El Acuerdo De Paz? 15 September 2018. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/partido-de-las-farc-dividido-como-afecta-el-acuerdo-de-paz/583167.  

 

Targets and Tactics

The FARC’s tactics ranged from kidnapping and extortion, to murders and bombings. Though the FARC 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 fund direct attacks on the Colombian military.[1]

For membership, the FARC reportedly recruited and accepted many child soldiers. The Human Rights Watch estimates that somewhere between 20% and 30% of all members were under 18 years of age, and El Tiempo reports that about 50% of FARC members were under 18 at the time of joining.[2]

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 UP became inactive less than 20 years after its creation.[3]

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.[4] The peace negotiations, known as the Havana Talks, escalated in 2012. As a result, the FARC drastically decreased kidnappings and its involvement in the drug trade.[5]

While the FARC did 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.[6] Instead of kidnapping, the group relied on unconventional explosive devices and hit and run tactics.[7] These attacks were more targeted than previous attacks on population centers. In 2014, it was reported that the FARC might have used tree bombs, explosives similar to landmines.[8] The FARC used these tactics during negotiations with the Colombian government as a strategy of attacking while seeking peace.

As of July 2019, FARC dissidents have used food, shelter, and sometimes pay as incentives to recruit Venezuelan refugees into joining the ranks of the FARC dissidents along the Venezuelan-Colombian border.[9] Additionally, FARC dissidents have tried to convince refugees to work for them and complete tasks such as cooking for combatants or picking coca leaves in the jungle along the Venezuelan-Colombian border.[10]



[1] Dudley, Steven S. Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia. New York: Routledge, 2004. Print.

[2] Howe, Kimberly, and Nussio, Enzo. “What if the FARC demobilizes?” Stability Journal. Ubiquity Press. 01 November 2012. Web. 9 July 2015. http://www.stabilityjournal.org/articles/10.5334/sta.aj/; “Colombia: Armed Groups Send Children to War – U.N. Security Council to Discuss Colombia’s Child Soldiers.” Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch. 21 February 2005. Web. 9 July 2015. https://www.hrw.org/news/2005/02/21/colombia-armed-groups-send-children-war

[3] “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).” National Counter-Terrorism Centre. N.p. n.d. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/farc.html; Leech, Garry. “FARC Targets Local Officials.” Colombia Journal. N.p. 24 June 2002. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiajournal.org/farc-targets-local-officials.htm

[4] “Colombia’s Battered Rebels Seek Peace.” Consortium News. N.p. 7 January 2014. Web. 10 July 2015. https://consortiumnews.com/2014/01/07/colombias-battered-rebels-seek-peace/

[5] “Cartel de Sinaloa ya está en cinco zonas del país.” EL TIEMPO. n.p. 10 March 2013. Web. 9 July 2015. http://www.eltiempo.com/archivo/documento/CMS-12671625

[6] Gagne, David. “Are FARC Rebels Training Mexican Drug Cartels?” InSight Crime. n.p. 19 May 2015. Web. 9 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/is-the-farc-training-mexican-dru... Begg, Kristen. “Police: FARC is Colombia’s biggest drug cartel.” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 13 September 2010. Web. 9 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/farc-biggest-drug-cartel/

[7] Fox, Edward. “FARC Diversifying Tactics with Unconventional Explosives.” InSight Crime. n.p. 28 February 2012. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/farc-diversifying-tactics-with-unconventional-explosives

[8] Foget, Emil. “Tree Bombs – The FARC’s new war tactic?” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 30 September 2014. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/farc-attacks-colombias-military-tree-bombs/

[9] Otis, John. "Fleeing Crisis, Some Venezuelans Are Recruited By Rebel Forces Fighting In Colombia." NPR. 18 January 2019. Web. 15 July 2019. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/18/685850399/fleeing-crisis-some-venezuelans-are-recruited-by-rebel-forces-fighting-in-colomb.

[10] Murphy, Helen. "Exclusive: Colombian Armed Groups Recruiting Desperate Venezuelans,..." Reuters. 20 June 2019. Web. 15 July 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-colombia-exclusive/exclusive-colombian-armed-groups-recruiting-desperate-venezuelans-army-says-idUSKCN1TL14E. ;

Otis, John. "Fleeing Crisis, Some Venezuelans Are Recruited By Rebel Forces Fighting In Colombia." NPR. 18 January 2019. Web. 15 July 2019. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/18/685850399/fleeing-crisis-some-venezuelans-are-recruited-by-rebel-forces-fighting-in-colomb.

 

Major Attacks

Disclaimer: These are some selected major attacks in the militant organization's history. It is not a comprehensive listing, but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign.

May 27, 1964: The Colombian military attacked Marulanda’s forty-eight followers in Marquetalia. The militants fought back and, along with others, would later become the FARC. This is considered the FARC’s founding date (unknown killed, unknown wounded). [1]

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).[2]

August 30, 1996: The FARC's Southern Bloc attacked Las Delicias military base in southwestern Colombia, near the Ecuadorian border (54 killed, 17 wounded).[3]

February 1997: Six armed guerrillas kidnapped a U.S. oil engineer and his Venezuelan pilot in Apure, Venezuela. The United States government alleges the FARC is responsible for this kidnapping (0 killed, unknown wounded)[4]

March 1998: The FARC stationed a roadblock in Bogota. Militants wounded and kidnapped more than 28 people, including U.S. and Italian nationals (3 killed, 14 wounded).[5]

August 3, 1998: In what is known as the Siege of Miraflores, more than 1,500 FARC troops entered the town of Miraflores. Over the span of two days, militants attacked a church, hospital, and military base. They also kidnapped 129 police (19 killed, unknown wounded).[6]

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. Approximately 800 FARC rebels were killed (840-860 killed, unknown wounded, 84 missing).[7]

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).[8]

May 2, 2002: The FARC clashed with the United Self-Defenders of Colombia (AUC), a right-wing Colombian paramilitary group. During the confrontation, 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).[9]

August 7, 2002: FARC guerrillas launched homemade mortar shells near the Presidential Palace during President Alvaro Uribe's inauguration ceremony (14 killed, 40 wounded).[10]

February 2003: 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)[11]

May 2003: When Colombian Forces attempted to rescue 10 hostages captured in April 2002, the FARC killed all of the hostages (10 killed, unknown wounded).[12]

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).[13]

June 2004: The Uribe Administration suspected the FARC was responsible for an attack that killed 34 coca pickers in La Gabarra (34 killed, 5 wounded).[14]

February 2009: The FARC perpetrated two massacres, the first on February 4 and the second on February 11, of the indigenous Awá people in Nariño. Between the two attacks, the FARC tortured and killed 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).[15]

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).[16]

December 2013: A car bomb was set off in front of a police station in Inza, Cauca. Rebels then continued to throw homemade mortars at the station (At least 8 killed, 20 wounded).[17]

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).[18]

June 22, 2015: The FARC bombed the Tansandio oil pipeline in Nariño, an attack that contaminated waterways. As a result, 150,000 people lost access to water. 10,000 barrels of oil spilled into the waterways, making the attack the worst environmental disaster in Colombia’s history (0 killed, 0 wounded).[19]

April 11, 2018: Dissidents of the FARC’s Oliver Sinisterra Front in Tumaco announced that they killed three Ecuadorian reporters whom they had kidnapped and held hostage since March 2018 (3 killed, 0 wounded).[20]

 


[1] Leech, Gary. The FARC: The Longest Insurgency. New York: Zeb Books Ltd., 2011; Osterling, Jorge P. Democracy In Colombia : Clientelist Politics and Guerrilla Warfare. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1989; Romero, Simon. “Manuel Marulanda, Top Commander of Colombia’s Largest Guerrilla Group, Is Dead.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 26 May 2008. Web. 20 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/26/world/americas/26marulanda.html?_r=0

[2] Mercer, Pamela. “Rebels Kill 80 in Strongest Attacks in Colombia in Decades.” The New York Times. N.p. 2 September 1996. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/02/world/rebels-kill-80-in-strongest-attacks-in-colombia-in-decades.html

[3] Mercer, Pamela. “Rebels Kill 80 in Strongest Attacks in Colombia in Decades.” The New York Times. N.p. 2 September 1996. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/02/world/rebels-kill-80-in-strongest-attacks-in-colombia-in-decades.html

[4] “Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2003: A Brief Chronology.” The U.S. Department of State. N.p. N.d. Web. 24 July 2015. http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902.htm

[5] Mercer, Pamela. “Rebels Kill 80 in Strongest Attacks in Colombia in Decades.” The New York Times. N.p. 2 September 1996. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/02/world/rebels-kill-80-in-strongest-attacks-in-colombia-in-decades.html

[6] Cohen, Steven. “8 FARC members charged in 1998 mass-kidnapping case.” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 12 September 2013. Web. 24 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/8-farc-members-charged-1998-mass-kidnapping/

[7] Arrieta, Laura Ardila. “Mitú fue el infierno.” El ESPECTADOR. N.p. October 31 2008. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.elespectador.com/impreso/nacional/articuloimpreso87232-mitu-fue-el-infierno; “Condenan al Estado por toma de las FARC a Mitú.” Semana. N.p. 17 June 2015. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/toma-de-mitu-primera-condena-para-el-estado/431647-3; Santareno, Rosalia. “Colombian police sergeants survived years of FARC captivity; terrorist group continues to kidnap people.” DIÁLOGO. N.p. 22 May 2014. Web. 24 July 2015. http://dialogo-americas.com/en_GB/articles/rmisa/features/regional_news/2014/05/22/sobrevivientes-secuestros

[8] “Ingrid Betancourt recounts Farc hostage ordeal in book. BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC News. 21 September 2010. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-11379529

[9] Alsema, Adriaan. “FARC asks forgiveness for killing 79 in 2002 Bojaya Massacre.” COLOMBIA REPORTS. N.p. 18 December 2014. Web. 24 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/farc-asks-forgiveness-2002-bojaya-massacre/;  “Tenth Anniversary of Bojoyá, Colombia Massacre.” Washington Office on Latin America. N.p. 2 May 2012. Web. 14 July 2015. http://www.wola.org/commentary/tenth_anniversary_of_bojaya_massacre

[10] Forero, Juan. “EXPLOSIONS RATTLE COLOMBIAN CAPITAL DURING INAUGURAL.” The New York Times. N.p. 8 August 2002. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/08/world/explosions-rattle-colombian-capital-during-inaugural.html

[11] Forero, Juan. “Blast at Social Club Stuck at Colombia’s Elite.” The New York Times. N.p. 9 February 2003. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/09/world/blast-at-social-club-struck-at-colombia-s-elite.html; Fox, Edwar. “Were the FARC Behind the Bogota Bombing?” InSight Crime. N.p. 16 May 2012. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/were-the-farc-behind-the-bogota-bombing

[12] “Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2003: A Brief Chronology.” The U.S. Department of State. N.p. N.d. Web. 24 July 2015. http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902.htm

[13] “FARC TERRORIST INDICTED FOR 2003 GRENADE ATTACK ON AMERICANS IN COLOMBIA.” U.S. Department of Justice. N.p. 7 September 2004. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.justice.gov/archive/opa/pr/2004/September/04_crm_599.htm

[14] Morris, Ruth. “Colombian Rebels Blamed for Killings of 34.” The Los Angeles Times. N.p. 17 June 2004. Web. 24 July 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jun/17/world/fg-colombia17; “Tues 15-34 peasants massacred in La Gabarra; Journalists reports death threats in Cucuta.” US Office on Colombia. N.p. 21 June 2004. Web. 23 July 2015. http://www.usofficeoncolombia.org/InfoBrief/062104.htm

[15] McDermott, Jeremy. “Indigenous Colombians ‘massacred in cocaine region by Farc.’” The Telegraph. N.p. 10 February 2009. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/colombia/4582404/Indigenous-Colombians-massacred-in-cocaine-region-by-Farc.html

[16] Forero, Juan. “Colombian assassination raises fears about FARC’s strength.” The Washington Post-World. N.p. 24 December 2009. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/23/AR2009122302911.html

[17] “Deadly Colombia bomb attack blamed on FARC rebels.” BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC News. 8 December 2013. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-25287046; “Eight killed, 20 injured in Colombia bomb attack on FARC.” Reuters. N.p. 7 December 2013. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/07/us-colombia-attack-idUSBRE9B60BA20131207

[18] Becker, Olivia. “Colombia Blames FARC for Deadly Attack Amid Negotiations.” Vice News. N.p. 11 March 2014. Web. 24 July 2015. https://news.vice.com/article/colombia-blames-farc-for-deadly-attack-amid-negotiations

[19] “Colombia president raps rebels for attacking oil pipeline.” Press TV. N.p. 27 June 2015. Web. 28 July 2015. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/06/27/417675/Colombia--Juan-Manuel-Santos-FARC-rebels-oil-pipeline-Narino-Tumaco-

[20] "Recycled Violence | Abuses by FARC Dissident Groups in Tumaco on Colombia's Pacific Coast." Human Rights Watch. 17 December 2018. Web. 24 June 2019. https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/12/13/recycled-violence/abuses-farc-dissident-groups-tumaco-colombias-pacific-coast.

 

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

The FARC has been on the United States’ annual list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations since October 1997.[1] In April 2015, the listing was re-evaluated, and United States Secretary of State John Kerry successfully pushed to keep the FARC on the FTO list.[2] The FARC is also on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations.[3] In 2008, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez requested that the FARC be removed from the European list, and it was removed in 2017 after disarming under the 2016 peace accords with the Colombian government.[4]

  • US State Department Foreign Terrorist Organizations List: 1997[5]
  • The European Union Terror List: 2002, removed in 2017[6]


[1] Leech, Garry. “Good Terrorists, Bad Terrorists: How Washington Decides Who’s Who.” Colombia Journal. N.p. 7 March 2001. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiajournal.org/colombia62.htm; “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Bureau of Counterterrorism. U.S. Department of State. N.p. n.d. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

[2] “State Recommends FARC Remains Designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization.” Capitol Hill Cubans. N.p. 13 April 2015. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.capitolhillcubans.com/2015/04/state-department-recommends-farc-remain.html

[3] “Five facts about Colombia’s FARC rebels.” CNN World. Cable News Network. 28 August 2012. Web. 13 July 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/28/world/americas/colombia-farc-facts/

[4] “Chavez: Take FARC off terror list.” CNN. N.p. 11 January 2008. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/01/11/chavez.farc/; Ballesteros, Atticus. "EU Removes Colombia's Demobilized FARC Rebels from Terror List." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. November 13, 2017. Web. 22 July 2019. https://colombiareports.com/eu-removes-colombias-demobilized-farc-rebels-terror-list/.

[5] “Foreign Terroirst Ourganizations.” Bureau of Counterterrorism. U.S. Department of State. N.p. N.d. Web. 8 August 2015. http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

[6] “FARC responds to terrorist designation.” People’s World. N.p. 25 July 2002. Web. 28 July 2015. http://peoplesworld.org/farc-responds-to-terrorist-designation/; Ballesteros, Atticus. "EU Removes Colombia's Demobilized FARC Rebels from Terror List." Colombia News | Colombia Reports. November 13, 2017. Web. 22 July 2019. https://colombiareports.com/eu-removes-colombias-demobilized-farc-rebels-terror-list/.

 

Community Relations

During the Cold War, Cuba provided resources and training to the FARC on the condition that they maintain positive relations with the local Colombian community. However, its emphasis on community relations deteriorated as its reliance on the drug trade for revenue grew.[1]

In the 1980s and 1990s, the FARC’s popularity peaked and membership grew. The FARC’s increasing wealth attracted impoverished Colombians. As the FARC accumulated wealth, it also grew more violent. This shift prompted a negative reaction from the community. In 1999, 13 million Colombians participated in the “No Más” protests throughout cities in the country, demonstrating the public’s frustration with guerrilla groups.[2]

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!” The 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.[3]

In addition, during his presidency, Álvaro Uribe 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.[4] In 2014, the FARC’s approval rating was only 2%.[5]

In 2016, there was a referendum on the October 2016 peace accords between the FARC and the Colombian government. The October peace accords were defeated in the referendum, a result that indicated public disapproval of the FARC.[6] However, President Santos’ government and the FARC renegotiated the agreement. A second referendum was not held, and the peace accord passed through the Congress of Colombia in November 2016.[7]

In the March 2018 election for the Congress of Colombia, the FARC won only 0.5% of the vote.[8] Therefore, it failed to win additional seats apart from the 10 that it was guaranteed as a condition of the 2016 peace agreement.[9] The FARC”s failure to win additional seats is another representation of the public’s disapproval of the organization, despite it having been a political party, not a militant group, since 2017.

As of 2019, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) has tried ex-leaders of the FARC for crimes through a restorative, transitional justice method.[10] These trials are part of the 2016 accord that focused on “victims” of the violence between the FARC and the Colombian government since 1964.[11] The transitional justice method faced resistance from international human rights groups, such as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as governmental officials, such as President Duque. These opponents believed that methods of restorative transitional justice were too lenient on human rights offenders and were offering them impunity.[12]

 


[1] Otis, John. “The FARC and Colombia’s Illegal Drug Trade.” Wilson Centre Latin American Program. N.p. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Otis_FARCDrugTrade2014.pdf

[2] Johnson, Michelle Renay. “No More/No Mas: A Glimpse into Colombia.” Peace Magazine. Peace Magazine. July/Sept 2000. Web. 30 July 2015. http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v16n3p12.htm

[3] Perez, Maria. “Facebook brings protest to Colombia.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 8 February 2008. Web. 30 July 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/business/worldbusiness/08iht-protest11.html?_r=1&

[4] “Uribe’s tough hand on FARC issue balloons his popularity, 82%.” MercoPress. n.p. 14 March 2008. Web. 9 July 2015. http://en.mercopress.com/2008/03/14/uribe-s-tough-hand-on-farc-issue-balloons-his-popularity-82

[5] Otis, John. “The FARC and Colombia’s Illegal Drug Trade.” Wilson Centre Latin American Program. N.p. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Otis_FARCDrugTrade2014.pdf

[6] Beittel, June S. and Rosen, Lianna w. “Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy,” Congressional Research Service. 30 November 2017. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44779.pdf   

[7] Beittel, June S. and Rosen, Lianna w. “Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy,” Congressional Research Service. 30 November 2017. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44779.pdf   

[8] "Colombia Election: Farc Fails to Win Support in First National Vote." BBC News. 12 March 2018. Web. 26 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-43367222.

[9] Beittel, June S. and Gracia, Edward Y. “Colombia’s 2018 Elections,” In Focus, Congressional Research Service. IF10817. 12 July 2018. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF10817.pdf

[10] Harper, Brian, and Holly K. Sonneland. "Explainer: Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)." AS/COA. 03 August 2018. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.as-coa.org/articles/explainer-colombias-special-jurisdiction-peace-jep.

[11] Harper, Brian, and Holly K. Sonneland. "Explainer: Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)." AS/COA. 03 August 2018. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.as-coa.org/articles/explainer-colombias-special-jurisdiction-peace-jep

[12] Harper, Brian, and Holly K. Sonneland. "Explainer: Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)." AS/COA. 03 August 2018. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.as-coa.org/articles/explainer-colombias-special-jurisdiction-peace-jep

 

Relationships with Other Groups

The FARC and the National Liberation Army (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 (PCC) in co-founding the Patriotic Union in 1985. Additionally, the FARC and the ELN have exchanged kidnapping victims and shared fighters and equipment.[1] In 2010, they both signed a non-aggression pact. Politically, in May 2015, the ELN reportedly supported the FARC’s decision to suspend their unilateral ceasefire with the Colombian government.[2] Independently, FARC Commander Timochenko supported the ELN’s entry into negotiations with the Colombian government in 2015, which ended without an agreement between the two parties.[3]

The FARC was 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 April 19 Movement (M-19), the FARC, the ELN, and the People’s Liberation Army (EPL). 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.[4] The CGSB dissolved in 1992 after failed talks between the FARC, the ELN, and the Colombian government.[5]

The FARC’s most forceful opposition has historically been from 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. However, since the FARC’s demobilization after the 2016 peace accords, paramilitary members have reportedly killed over 130 ex-FARC members and leaders.[6]

The FARC also cooperated with other militant groups in the trafficking and production of cocaine. Following the AUC’s demobilization in 2006, the FARC started working closely with the Bandas Criminales (BACRIM; in English, “Criminal Bands”). BACRIM was a criminal organization of mid-level, former AUC commanders involved in illegal activities from drug trafficking to gold mining.[7] Some reports suggested that the two were partners in cocaine production.[8] Additionally, reports suggested that the FARC and the Shining Path, one of Peru’s guerrilla groups, were in contact and worked together in the drug trade since 2003 and as recently as May 2015. [9]

Since the 2016 peace accords, the demobilization of the FARC in Colombia has created a power vacuum in the drug trafficking and illegal mining businesses within the regions that the FARC had operated. This led to the replacement of the FARC’s presence with that of FARC dissidents and competing groups, such as BACRIM.[10] BACRIM sought to take over the drug trafficking routes that the FARC used, as well as to control the general traffic of cocaine.[11] In addition to taking over the FARC’s operations, some Colombian militant groups, such as Los Urabeños, have tried to recruit former members of the FARC who refused to disarm and demobilize.[12]

As of July 2019, dissidents of the FARC have formed alliances with groups along the Colombian-Venezuelan border and within Venezuela. The FARC dissidents and the ELN operating along the border allegedly have been coordinating their drug and contraband trafficking operations.[13] Within Venezuela, FARC dissidents have been operating with “colectivos,” or Venezuelan armed groups formed under Chavez to defend the Bolivarian revolution and Chavez’s regime.[14] As of 2019, Maduro called on the colectivos to remain in “active resistance” as a support and security force for his regime.[15] In addition to working alongside the colectivos, some FARC dissidents have chosen to become members of the colectivos along the border.[16]

 


[1] Cawley, Marguerite. “ELN Pass Over Kidnapping Victim to FARC.” InSight Crime. n.p. 16 July 2013. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/eln-pass-off-kidnapping-victim-to-farc

[2] Omari, Torkan. “ELN rebels support FARC in resuming attacks against Colombian State.” COLOMBIA REPORT. N.p. 25 May 2015. Web. 10 July 2015. http://colombiareports.com/eln-rebels-support-farc-in-resuming-attacks-against-colombian-state/

[3] “Farc rebels says ELN must join Colombia peace process.” BBC Latin America & Caribbean. BBC News. 13 May 2015. Web. 29 July 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32731754

[4] García-Peña, Daniel. “The ELN Creates a Different Peace Process.” Colombia Journal. N.p. 27 November 2000. Web. 27 July 2016. http://colombiajournal.org/colombia41.htm; “National Liberation Army (Colombia).” Terrorist Organization Profile. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism – University of Maryland. N.d. Web. 23 July 2015. http://www.start.umd.edu/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=218

[5] Garcia-Pena, Daniel. "The National Liberation Army (ELN) Creates a Different Peace Proces." NACLA. 25 September 2007. Web. 09 July 2019. https://nacla.org/article/national-liberation-army-eln-creates-different-peace-process.

[6] "Entrevista a Timochenko: El Líder De La FARC Pide Perdón Y Habla De La Muerte De Exguerrilleros." CNN. 26 June 2019. Web. 26 June 2019. https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2019/06/24/entrevista-a-timochenko-el-lider-de-la-farc-pide-perdon-y-habla-de-la-muerte-de-exguerrilleros/

[7] Otis, John. “The FARC and Colombia’s Illegal Drug Trade.” Wilson Centre Latin American Program. N.p. Web. 21 July 2015. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Otis_FARCDrugTrade2014.pdf

[8] Cawley, Marguerite. “Colombia’s BARCRIM Expand as FARC Talks Peace.” InSight Crime. n.p. 05 November 2014. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/colombia-bacrim-expand-farc-talks-peace; “Colombia: Bacrim and FARC Increase Cooperation.” STRATFOR Global Intelligence. N.p. 24 April 2012. Web. 10 July 2015. https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/colombia-bacrim-and-farc-increase-cooperation

[9]  Gagne, David. “Peru’s Shining Path Allied with Colombian Drug Traffickers: Report.” InSight Crime. n.p. 19 May 2015. Web. 10 July 2015. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/peru-shining-path-guerrillas-allied-with-colombian-drug-traffickers

[10] Beittel, June S. and Rosen, Lianna w. “Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy,” Congressional Research Service. 30 November 2017. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44779.pdf   

[11] Beittel, June S. and Rosen, Lianna w. “Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy,” Congressional Research Service. 30 November 2017. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44779.pdf   

[12] Beittel, June S. and Rosen, Lianna w. “Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy,” Congressional Research Service. 30 November 2017. Web. 25 June 2019. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44779.pdf   

[13] "El ELN Y Las Disidencias Están Coordinadas." La Silla Vacía. 3 December 2018. Web. 16 July 2019. https://lasillavacia.com/el-eln-y-las-disidencias-estan-coordinadas-69119

[14]  "#Boletin011: COLECTIVOS ARMADOS TRASLADARON SU VIOLENCIA A POBLACIONES VENEZOLANAS EN FRONTERA CON COLOMBIA." ONG Fundaredes |. 16 May 2019. Web, 15 July 2019. https://www.fundaredes.org/2019/05/09/boletin011-colectivos-armados-trasladaron-su-violencia-a-poblaciones-venezolanas-en-frontera-con-colombia/.

[15]  "#Boletin011: COLECTIVOS ARMADOS TRASLADARON SU VIOLENCIA A POBLACIONES VENEZOLANAS EN FRONTERA CON COLOMBIA." ONG Fundaredes |. 16 May 2019. Web, 15 July 2019. https://www.fundaredes.org/2019/05/09/boletin011-colectivos-armados-trasladaron-su-violencia-a-poblaciones-venezolanas-en-frontera-con-colombia/.

[16] "#Boletin011: COLECTIVOS ARMADOS TRASLADARON SU VIOLENCIA A POBLACIONES VENEZOLANAS EN FRONTERA CON COLOMBIA." ONG Fundaredes |. 16 May 2019. Web, 15 July 2019. https://www.fundaredes.org/2019/05/09/boletin011-colectivos-armados-trasladaron-su-violencia-a-poblaciones-venezolanas-en-frontera-con-colombia/.

 

State Sponsors and External Influences

Until its demobilization, the FARC relied on and faced external influences from other governments and from international organizations. During the 1970s and 1980s, the FARC received funding from Cuba. During the early 2000s, the group received funding, arms, and oil from the Chavez government of Venezuela. Chavez was known for favoring the FARC and reportedly supplied the group with up to $300 million.[1] Additionally, 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.[2] In 2016, former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos invited the United Nations to monitor the demobilization of the FARC following the 2016 peace accords.[3] The Mission to Colombia was extended until September 25, 2019.[4]

Since the demobilization of the FARC, human rights groups have worried that FARC dissidents and the Venezuelan government have entered into an unofficial alliance, despite Venezuelan officials claiming otherwise.[5] FARC dissidents have found refuge in Venezuela, where they are largely unregulated by the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.[6] In fact, some analysts claim that the FARC dissidents have been organizing with “colectivos,” Venezuelan paramilitary groups that Maduro has formally supported and called upon to defend Venezuela’s “Bolivarian revolution.”[7] Additionally, analysts claim that FARC dissidents promoted Maduro during the 2018 Venezuelan election season.[8] These combined military and political activities support the theory that the FARC dissidents and Maduro’s government are unofficially cooperating.


[1] “The FARC files- Just how much help has Hugo Chávez given to Colombia’s guerrillas?” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper Limited. 22 May 2008. Print. 13 July 2015. http://www.economist.com/node/11412645

[2] Beaumont, Peter. “Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez played role in Colombia’s peace talks with FARC.” The Guardian. N.p. 13 October 2012. Web. 13 July 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/13/fidel-castro-hugo-chavez-colombia-farc-talks

[3] "World Report 2019: Rights Trends in Colombia." Human Rights Watch. 17 January, 2019. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/colombia.

[4] "World Report 2019: Rights Trends in Colombia." Human Rights Watch. 17 January, 2019. Web. 27 June 2019. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/colombia.

[5] "FARC Dissidents and the ELN Turn Venezuela Into Criminal Enclave." InSight Crime. 10 December 2018. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/farc-dissidents-eln-turn-venezuela-criminal-enclave/.

[6] "FARC Dissidents and the ELN Turn Venezuela Into Criminal Enclave." InSight Crime. 10 December 2018. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/farc-dissidents-eln-turn-venezuela-criminal-enclave/.

[7] "#Boletin011: COLECTIVOS ARMADOS TRASLADARON SU VIOLENCIA A POBLACIONES VENEZOLANAS EN FRONTERA CON COLOMBIA." ONG Fundaredes |. 16 May 2019. Web, 15 July 2019. https://www.fundaredes.org/2019/05/09/boletin011-colectivos-armados-trasladaron-su-violencia-a-poblaciones-venezolanas-en-frontera-con-colombia/. ;

 Newman, Lucia. "Venezuela: Who Are the Colectivos?" | Al Jazeera. 09 May 2019. Web.15 July 2019. https://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/americas/2019/05/venezuela-colectivos-190506163125345.html.

[8]  "FARC Dissidents and the ELN Turn Venezuela Into Criminal Enclave." InSight Crime. 10 December 2018. Web. 11 July 2019. https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/farc-dissidents-eln-turn-venezuela-criminal-enclave/.

 

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that “map” relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.