Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

Table of Content


Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is a guerilla army established as the military branch of Communist Party of Colombia with the goal of overthrowing the Colombian government and establishing a Marxist-Leninist society. Inspired by the Cuban revolution, the FARC were born out of class struggles in the aftermath of the La Violencia Colombian civil war, and are based in remote areas of the country where the state has no effective control. The FARC employs both bush fighting tactics and conventional army action against political, military and civilian targets. These actions include vehicle bombings, assassination, landmines, high jacking torturing, and hijacking. The FARC were involved in many failed attempts to negotiate peace with the Colombian government, including establishing their own political party. Following the failure of their political party and the breakup of the Soviet Union, the FARC turned to the illegal drug trade as a source of funding, eventually becoming the largest and best-financed guerilla army in the Western Hemisphere. The United States has provided assistance to the Colombian government to help combat the FARC, first as a way to reduce drug accessibility and usage in the U.S and then in as a national security initiative in the ongoing effort in the global war on terror.

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A combination of stepped up U.S. and Colombian government cooperation and the death of three of the FARC’s four top leaders in a single month created a command crisis in the organization. Fewer recruits are joining the movement for ideological reasons while suffering high levels of deserters and defectors at the same time. They are running out of fame among the masses. What began as a straggle between classes for economic ad social equality has evolved into an organization that exists simply to protect and profit from illegal drug activities. The promise of some higher moral purpose disappeared long time ago, and so to it seems, the long held hope of creating of an ideal socialist society in Colombia (Vieira, 2004).

The Class Struggle

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels released the Communist Manifesto, which explained history by explaining the rivalism between two groups of people, that is, the entrepreneurs and the labourers who did not derive any benefits. It also predicted that revolution would be inevitable due to the predicted advancement of capitalism while the larger majority of the working class would be poor. It is for this reason that the foundation of class struggle started. Resulting to socialism which was a new employees’ state. It made it possible for people to give what they could afford and received all the things they needed. Meanwhile, the government would become purposeless and allow a society with no government to emerge creating the final stage of “communism”.

Marx understood these principles were not free-standing.  In fact, more than no other person, he understood they could only be delivered by way of action. Inevitability the price of change is conflict. Historians have long debated the intent of Marx’s philosophy and if he in fact advocated change through revolutionary violence, which is not relevant.  What is important is that Marx would ultimately serve to influence countless violent conflicts using his principles as a call to arms. It was the successful outcome of one such Marxist-inspired conflict that would ultimately create another (Richani, 2005).

Cuba – A Model for Inspiration

A mere 94 miles from the south end of the United States lies the Cuban Republic. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, Spain would eventually preside over Cuba for nearly 400 years. By any measure, it (Cuba was a country that was prospering. Its thriving economy (trade in molasses and sugar from Cuba exceeded $18,000,000 in 1838 alone) was based on plantation agriculture, mining and the export of sugar, coffee and tobacco. Unfortunately, it was this very success that would eventually serve to polarize the Cuban population against Spanish rule. The colonial administration made huge profits that were used on military expenditure instead of being invested on the Island or sent to Spain (12%).The residents of Spain who were approximately 8% of the population appropriated over 90% of the island’s wealth. Furthermore, most of the Cuban people did not have political rights creating illegal movements. Fueled by resentment, the seeds of dissatisfaction were progressively sewn. The notion of autonomy and by virtue the right to freely determine political, economic, community cultural status and possess full control over its own affairs, eventually led to conflict.

The United States joined the in 1898 the incident of sinking of the USS marine in Havana by an explosion whose origin could not be told. The treaty of Paris was signed in December the same year which made Spain to surrender Cuba to the United States of America. The United States gave Cuba its independence on May 20, 1902 but with the right to come in to preserve the independence and stability of Cuba under the Platt Amendment. The United States and Cuba made an amendment in 1903 which made Cuba to lease Guantanamo-Bay marine base to the United States. However, as with most fledgling republics the early path under sovereignty would be not easy Even so, few could have imagined that within slightly more than 50 years the Cuban Revolution would be born (Markey, 2008).

            A critical turning point in Cuban democracy would occur in 1952 when, preceding presidential    elections, former president of Cuba Fulgencio Batista grabbed power through a military coup de tat. Batista promptly suspended the constitution, dissolved the Cuban congress and instituted a provisional government with the promise to restore elections. Indeed, elections were planned to be carried out the following year. Nearing the elections, however, Batista turned down his promise and suspended the elections, attempting to rule by force. Due to the turned down promise, Batista’s government faced stiff public opposition, and elections were ultimately rescheduled. Not surprisingly, Batista overwhelmingly became the winner. Many believed, and rightfully so, that the elections were neither free nor fair. Legal avenues were attempted to depose of the Batista government on the grounds that it had illegally suspended the electoral process. Supporters suffered a big blow when the legal petitions were not acted on by the Cuban courts (Kapelos, 2003).

            As pointed out by Carl Marx in an 1872 essay, “The Possibility of Nonviolent Revolution,” Marx suggested that some countries may contain a proletariat that “can attain their goal by peaceful means”; however, he asserted, “we must also recognize the fact that in most countries” this is not the case and that “the lever of our revolution must be force.” Having failed at a peaceful means of succession, plans were made for a more direct approach. However; those who opposed Batista’s government did not stay long. Less than a year later, led by Fidel Castro, raids were made targeting Cuban military facilities. They were initially unsuccessful, but the revolutionary process had begun (Harper, 2002).

            While the Cuban Revolution did not come about easily, its success would eventually serve to inspire countless similar revolutions all over the planet. In the ashes of World War II, and counter to U.S. capitalistic ideals, the notion of class equality and shared wealth would advance the world over, particularly in central and South America (Gorman, 2002).

Colombia – A Rich Political History

            Not surprising, as with Cuba, Colombia can trace its early beginnings to Spanish rule.  Under Spanish control the Viceroyalty of New Granada was formed with what now comprises what is currently referred to as Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. With its capital of Bogota Complete sovereignty from the Spanish was achieved in 1819, and resulted in the Republic of New Granada, which comprised of the areas of Colombia and Panama. Following several name changes the Colombian republic was finally declared in 1886. Panama would eventually succeed from Colombia in 1903. Even so, Colombia, with an area more than the double of France, is fourth largest nation in the South America in terms of size and economy and is the second largest in terms of populace (Farah, 2008, April).

The Conservative and liberal parties which were found in 1843 and 1848 respectively are the two oldest political parties surviving in Colombia which has a long tradition of a constitution   government. However, tensions between the parties have frequently erupted into violence, most notably in the Thousand Day War (1899-1902) and more importantly, following the 1948 assassination of Liberal Party presidential candidate Jorge Eliece Gaitan, a popular leader despised by the U.S. government, the La Violencia civil war (PBS News, 2003).

Socialist Undercurrent

It is clear that the Cuban Revolution effected an enormous change in the social context of class conscious thinking    worldwide. If that change was factual in any country, it was certainly true of Colombia. By the late 1950s several hundred rural-based landless Colombians of communist ideology had banded together in self-defense groups forming rural communities known as “Independent Republics” in an effort to protect themselves against conservative peasants known as autodefensas or paramilitaries, who roamed the countryside committing atrocities against civilians and which were backed by wealthy landowners and industrialists.

 These independent republics remained intact following the end of the La Violencia civil war in response to expanding Colombian government capitalistic interests which were driven in large part by U.S. encouragement. Trying to exist as an autonomous geographical community, these independent republics were based on peasants operating land collectively in relatively isolated regions of the country. They sought to establish a stable society, uncorrupted, and based on local control, and to counter the post-civil war repressive central government by extending the communities into other areas .Supported by majority of the natives, the forces increasingly expanded their spheres    of influence in the end of that decade and the beginning of the decade that followed to include multiple areas of southern and central Colombia. By 1964, over sixteen such groups of communities had successfully been established countrywide. At the beginning the government assumed the influence that was growing   of hose who believed in communism until 1964 when it was pressurized by the United States and by members of the Colombian Conservative Party in Congress who considered such autonomous republics as a de facto threat; the Colombian Army was ordered to attack the communist controlled republics. The new government’s army attacked the independent republics, but most of the camps were already abandoned and the guerilla members had dispersed to other nearby enclaves. These independent republics were reorganized as the Southern Bloc (Bloque Sur) later that same year under the leadership of Pedro Antonio Marin, and officially   named again as Fuerzas Armadas Revolutionaias de Colombia (FARC) in 1966.  Based on Marxist ideology, the FARC became the official military arm of the Communist Party of Colombia (CCP) (PBS News, 2008).


According to Poremoy (1968). “Born into a peasant family, Pedro Antonio Marin joined Colombia’s Liberal forces as a guerilla fighting against the Conservatives in the La Violencia civil war” (p.18).  Marin and his family members, like many other  locals  rebelled  immediately they heard about the assassination of  Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the presidential candidate of the Colombian Liberal party .Formerly, they were protecting themselves from the  members of the Conservative   party who took control of the police forces.

Finally Marin broke up with some of his relatives to join a group of guerrilla fighters that came under the control of Communist party of Colombia (PCC) which developed a more proactive role in fighting Conservative targets, executing more frequent attacks and offensive operations. He was renamed Manue Marulanda to honor a murdered union leader .At the same time, he met and befriended Luis Morantes (Jacobo Arenas), a member of PCC.  Together they would later become the key leadership team of FARC. As they approached the end of the La Violencia civil war members of the group settled in an area known as Marquetalia, keeping their weapons. They did not trust the Colombian army and government even after it was toppled over by a coup in 1953 which was led by General GustavoRogas against PCC president Laureano Gomez. He had given out an amnesty which was accepted by most liberal fighters who were not regular through out the country, but as claimed, the assassination of a few individuals who were not mobilized made Marulanda, his rural comrades and his PCC superiors in the cities uneasy.

After national front agreement was signed in 1958 between  Colombians two main parties following the fall of Rojas in 1957,these self sufficiently  armed groups  called “Independent Republics” and in particular a supposed “Marquetalia Republic”, were considered as dangerous by the new government. According to The Colombian army raided Marquetalia in 1964 following pressure from the US and the conservative legislatures. The army action against Marquetalia was part of a larger U S initiative known as Plan LASO (Latin American Security Operation), that was meant to suppress dissent and possible communist rebellions that might spring up in the entire region. In Colombia, the attack against Marquuetalia under the plan was planned and launched with assistance from the pentagon including 16000 troops of Colombia  army and helicopters and  airplanes, while against to the number of peasant communist fighters was thought to be much smaller, allegedly no larger than 2000 guerillas. Despite the significant military advantage, Operation Marquetalia merely served to temporally scatter the guerilla fighters. They hid in jungles and remote villages throughout Colombia and eventually regrouped later that year, assembling to flight a long-lasting war by using guerilla warfare techniques in order to someday seize power.   Recognizing the need for a more formal insurgent structure the rebels organized as the Southern Bloc, later renamed the Revolutionary Armed Colombian forces since the 1964 Operation Marquetalia under Plan LASO Colombian forces and the FARC have been engaged in the continent’s longest-running armed conflict.

Seeking official recognition by the international community as legitimate “belligerents” and an insurgent force with legitimate political aims in Colombia, and pursuant to Protocols I and II of the Geneva Conventions which stipulate that oppositional armed movements vying for state power must formally arrange themselves into a visible ranked military construct with a distinct chain of command, the FARC reorganized themselves accordingly. Forming a Secretariat of the Central General Staff of FARC consisting of seven members (At the beginning of Plan Patriota in 2004 the Secretariat consisted of Manual Marulanda Vélez, Raúl Reyes, Timoleón Jiménez, Iván Márquez, Jorge Briceño, Alfonso Cano, and Iván Ríosiota), who oversee the Central General Staff composed of twenty-five members specifically located within seven blocks throughout the country: Eastern, Western, Southern, Central, Middle Magdalena, Caribbean, and Cesar. As explained by Brittain (2000, August), “In May 1982, the FARC formally added Ejército del Pueblo, People’s Army, to their name, hence FARC–EP” (Richani, 2005, p.113). The thinking behind this strategy was two fold. Firstly, the secretariat, via a Marxist-Leninist strategy knew that only through the people’s support they could create a socialist society and in turn they had to play a decisive role in winning power for the people.2ndly   it was based on the activity of the guerilla. Their idea was heavily built in maintaining –guerrilla characteristics in defensive structure and militaristic operations. It recognized the need to start its historic development by increasing its activities into truly guerilla movement. For years, they carried out their famous small-scale attacks on their enemy (Farah, 2008, July).

Surprise Cold War Implications

While the entire world watched as the wall separating East Berlin and West Berlin fell in late 1989, putting a symbolic end to the cold war, few gave much thought to Colombia and its 25- year war with FARC rebels. The long fog of the cold war that had enveloped the U.S. had finally lifted.  The euphoria of the early 1990’s was in full swing. America had emerged victorious. Expansion of the economy was observed everywhere.  Instant wealth had arrived in the form of credit cards, giving American consumers significantly expanded financial freedoms and spurring an ever increasing demand for instant gratification and overindulgence.  The drug cartels of Colombia were only too happy to fill the recreational drug habits of this growing class of nouveau´ rich Americans. The “Medellin´ and Cali” drug cartels were soon shipping thousands of tones of cocaine to the United States whose timing could not have been better according to the FARC (Chernick, 2000).

Stinging from its failed attempt at establishing its own political party in Colombia and with the Soviet Union in total disarray, the group’s traditional source of external financing had dried up   the management of FARC soon realized that the solution to their funding troubles was closer at hand than anticipated. They began protecting the Cali´ cartel drug trafficking operations in rural Colombia. Nearly all pretenses at bringing about a higher ideological social order were soon lost as the FARC participation in the Colombian drug trade grew. The FARC would withhold the impact the cold war, but at the cost of its ideological purity.  It was a decision that would ultimately make the FARC the largest and best-financed guerilla army in the Western Hemisphere. With the help of money, the FARC was able to expand its signing of new members to an estimated 18,000 members at its peak in 2004. It would also officially land the group on the United State’s list of known terrorist’s movements. This designation set about closer cooperation between the United States and Colombian governments in countering the FARC.

Legitimization – A Renewed Hope for Peace

The FARC were involved in several unsuccessful attempts to negotiate peace with the Colombian government. The first peace process occurred in 1984 and brought a cease-fire under which the movement (FARC) came up with its own political party known as Patriotic union (UP) . The plan was for the FARC to gradually demilitarize and use the newly established Patriotic Union to promote its ideas within the democratic framework of Colombian politics. The Patriotic Union was even recognized by the Colombian government as an official political party. However, from its inception the UP was decimated by death squads backed by the Medellin´ drug cartel, who saw the FARC, and by proxy the UP, as an extension of the rival Cali´ drug cartel. Medellin´ drug cartel members with links to security forces of the United Self-Defense Forces (AUC), a rival lagislative group believed to have the tacit approval of the Colombian government, murdered thousands of the UP political party members, causing the UP party to disintegrate. FARC leaders soon realized that their efforts at legitimization were fruitless, and all political operations ceased to reemphasize an armed military revolution in Colombia.

In 1998, as part of then Colombian President Andres Pastrana’s continuing efforts to negotiate to end, the FARC were granted a 42,000 square mile safe haven referred as the despeje or clearance zone. The Southern Colombia was used to stage Kidnappings, run drug operations and recruit members instead of promoting peace. The FARC continued with its drug deals as well as the kidnapping. Among those kidnapped were several senators, relatives of prominent politicians, and one-time Colombian Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. At the same time, Colombian drug- trafficking  gang’s were going away from growing the coca leaf, the precursor which was used for making cocaine, in Bolivia and Peru, as had traditionally been done. Instead, new species of the coca leaf, able to survive in more humid regions, were brought in, in order to move the farming to Colombia, mostly in areas where the FARC was the primary political and military force. This change in the farming strategy was among the factors that greatly expanded the FARC’s income streams.

            Meanwhile, Colombian President Pastrana and FARC leader Manuel Marulanda met    for several times, and on many occasions President Pastrana revived  his decision, with caution, to continue to allow  the FARC forces to use the clearance zone in the hopes that peace would be established. On Feb 20th, 2002, the FARC hijacked a passenger plane and kidnapped the Senator of Colombia Jorge Gechem -Turbay, the fifth member of the congress to be high jacked since the month of June 2001. Hours later, Pastrana gave order to the Colombian armed forces to start retaking the FARC controlled clearance zone, thus ending any hopes in achieving a peaceful settlement.

Plan Colombia

Beginning in 1999, the Washington administration started Plan Colombia, several-year, multi-billion dollar strategy to deal with drug-related problems in the region. Firstly, substantial amounts of aid could be issued directly to the Colombian army whose human rights record was widely known to be very bad, to fight the FARC. The years of carefully trying to separate anti-drug aid, which had abundantly been allocated to the National Police from the little amounts of counter-insurgency aid given to the military, were over. The then Washington administration  give government of Colombia  a human rights amnesty   on the basis  of the promise of  a better  human rights record by the army  and an end to the ties between military commanders and the paramilitary units of the  AUC  (united self defense Forces). This evolution, coupled with the increased emphasis on aerial spraying of coca fields, dramatically altered the intertwined conflicts in Colombia. Plan Colombia made it possible for the army to the push the FARC to more interior areas and continued with more complex attacks against the rebel group.

The plan reinforced the Colombian army dominance over the nation’s civil administration, through the massive pumping of U.S. money. U.S. aid to Colombia in 1995 was $30 million. Under Plan Colombia, the United States gave 2.04 billion dollars between 1999_2002, 81 % of arms. This plan was encouraged as a way of reducing cocaine accumulation and usage within the United -States. The plan did not stop the movement of cocaine to the countries who consume it and did not offer the countries peasants an alternative to cultivating the illicit crop. In the year 2005, it was discovered that the amount of coca being planted within Colombia had gone up.

Plan Patriota

Plan Patriota was developed and implemented jointly by the United States and Colombian governments following a shift in counter-terrorism policies and tactics. Part of the reason for the change in policy was due to the fact that the previous Plan Colombia had failed. Colombia was awarded an unanticipated amount during the preparation causing opposition in the U.S. against the Clinton administration’s plan. Consequently, the government agreed constraint the number of U.S. troops and privately-contracted soldiers given permission to enter the territory of Colombia to 800 (400 U.S. personnel and 400 contracted personnel). The reformulated policy under the Bush administration largely dispensed with the “drug war” rationale and centered instead on national security issues and the United State’s ongoing effort in the global war on terror. This received an added positive feedback in the U.S. and the Department of Defense ended the limits imposed on direct U.S. participation.

Launched in 2004, Plan Patriota would be the largest and most comprehensive offensive against the FARC guerilla army to date. Under the plan the United States provided Colombian forces with military advisors, training, arms, communication gadgets and personnel. By this time the FARC had grown significantly in Colombia. This was due in large part to the failures of the U.S. backed Plan Colombia, which had emboldened the guerilla group and its supporters.  However, despite their recent success against U.S. backed Colombian troops under  the Plan Colombia, the FARC management was highly concerned about the change in U.S. policy in Colombia under President Bush, fearing the direct involvement of U.S. troops. The FARC leadership formulated a plan that would take an offensive tone, hoping to win early victories and eliminate public support in America for any further direct U.S. interest in Colombia.

            The first FARC offensives started on February 1, 2005.  The FARC acquired a major army consolidation armed with river gunboats, a Phantom- fixed-wing gunship together with helicopters. In the month of February the Eastern Block of the FARC had one major attack at least ones per day. Unlike past years when one confrontation would be followed by a pause of several days or more, the FARC remained vigilant in their offensive push. The FARC initiated operation in February continually attacking Colombian military, significantly illustrating that the FARC were determined to take offensive.

This brought an important change in the strategy of the guerilla army. While taking care of its guerrilla -structure, the FARC started moving away from minimal-scale operations and into big-scale, continuous, face to face confrontations implemented through well-organized, massive attacks on government troops in various parts of the country. By the last week of June 2005, FARC forces had conducted a major attack of an army unit in the far south-western province of Putamayo and fought with military troops in North Santander near the Venezuelan border at the other end of the country.

Unfortunately for the FARC, while they were successful and stepping up the speed of operations, the hoped for public outcry in America to end direct U.S. involvement in Colombia never materialized. Joint U.S. and Colombian operations carried out under Plan Patriota began to have increasingly more success.  As the government stepped up the pace of its counter-insurgency operations it placed a huge logistical strain on the FARC support and supply network, a demand for which it simply could not keep pace. Plan Patriota was gradually succeeding in fracturing FARC command and control, bringing the group to almost collapsing by mid-2008.

Leadership Crisis

The counter-terrorism operations launched under Plan Patriota received a huge boost in March of 2008 when the FARC suffered the loss of three of its top four commanders.  Most important was the loss of Manuel Marulanda, who along with Jacobo Arenas, had founded the FARC and who was without question the inspirational leader of the rebel organization. His death was attributed to natural causes; however officials of the Colombian Army believe that he may have expired as a result of their bombardments. None-the-less, his loss was a highly significant development, not only within FARC but across Colombia and the Americas.  Marulanda had led FARC through bombardments, none- genuine ceasefires and failed peace talks, not giving up his campaign to turn Colombia into a clone of the long-vanished Soviet Union. His death fortuitously coincided with the FARC’s demise as a serious military threat to the nation (Banville, 2002).

Perhaps just as important was the passing on of Raul Reyes who was a trade unionist and deputy in the Colombian National Assembly. Reyes had gotten into politics in the Communist’s party youth wing of Colombia. He spent 25 years in the Colombian jungle as a member of FARC, rising to the number two leader of the organization as member of the groups’ National Secretariat and Secretary for international relations. In a sign of how much Colombian counter-terrorism measures have changed, Reyes was killed in a cross-border attack in neighboring Ecuador, causing outcries of protest by the governments of Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Of particular importance was the seizure of three computers containing valuable intelligence on FARC planning. It was believed that president Chavez gave FARC about $300 M with b chances that he could give them weapons (McDermott, 2008).

 Finally, Ivan Rios, the number four leader in FARC, head of the Central Block and a Secretariat of the Central General Staff, is murdered by body guards in March of 2008 finalizing the leadership crisis within FARC.

Operation Jaque´

Dealing a further psychological havoc to FARC, the Colombian government successfully launched Operation Jaque´ on July 5, 2008 in an effort to rescue several long held, high-value hostages, including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three American military hostages and 11 Colombian policemen. The elaborate operation took months to prepare and involved the clever use of defectors, three-way electronic intercepts, copycatting precedents set by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and exploiting the FARC’s broken command and control.

Colombian agents were able to penetrate the FARC at its highest levels, together with the security detail dealing with the hostages. Noting the leadership crisis the government agents trick the FARC making them believe they were transferring hostages to their new leader. This they did using deception to communicate between FARC leaders and the guerrillas’ security detail guarding the hostages, deliberately misinforming the security detail to move the hostages to a location where they would be transferred by a helicopter allegedly to move the hostages to visit an unspecified international delegation. The Colombian agents operating undercover posing as FARC terrorists had all received Hollywood-style acting classes taught by American acting coaches and FARC defectors, to make the officers look and act like real FARC rebels – even mimicking the way the guerrillas walk and talk. as reported by BBC news (2008) “They arrived at the extraction point in unmarked white helicopters, copying Hugo Chavez’s propagandistic recovery of hostages in January and February of 2008, by re-enacting a similar scenario with Russian helicopters painted with similar color schemes including dressing cameramen to look like they were from Chavez’s Telesur satellite TV channel, copying Telesur’s participation in the previous rescues. The 15 kidnapped hostages came on board and at ,rescue helicopters went away from the region, agents revealed their identity as being Colombian military. They then announced the captives were free”.

In Conclusion

Operation Jaque´ was an extremely successful operation that went far beyond the rescue of a few high-value FARC hostages.  So paranoid now, is the Colombian FARC guerrilla group that it executed 26 of its own combatants, and that was before Operation Jaque´. Many of the FARC guerillas have been quitting joining the government, bringing precious intelligence about the organization’s internal workings to the government. Converts assisted military intelligence comprehend the concerns of individual FARC commanders. This allowed the army to come up with psychological profiles and plan ways to utilize them. The defectors internal suspicion and broken communications has been the key asset to the Colombian Army. Military intelligence officers who planned Operation Jaque´ noted that the FARC’s own disarray and demoralization was the army’s best counterinsurgency weapon (Brittain, 2005, September).

Since the FARC commanders could no longer trust each other suspicion among them became high. The worry was who could be the spy of the two governments? Who has already betrayed who to whom? Who will sell out next?

Isolated groups like the FARC tend to breed paranoia in their ranks, and this paranoia will only heighten as uncertainties swell about where the organization is headed now that its leadership is dead, compromised or factionalized. The group is viewed as a mafia in Colombia and has lost its hero status. President Alvaro is viewed as the most popular president in Colombia’s history for leading the no-compromise fight (BBC News, 2003).

An added benefit is the embarrassment of some of the FARC’s strongest supporters, such as Chavez Venezuelan’s President and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, both of whom praised the rescue of the hostages and criticized the FARC, with Castro calling the FARC “cruel” and Chavez telling the FARC to free all remaining hostages and to disarm.  Going further, the Venezuelan president said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia were “history”, and called on them to release their hostages and end their decades-long war with the government. “Enough of so much war, it is time to sit down and talk of peace,” he said “The guerrilla has passed into history. You in the FARC should know something: You have become an excuse for the empire to threaten all of us,” He said, referring to the United States “The day that peace arrives in Colombia, the empire will have no excuses.” (White, 2006, p.136).This was a huge boost to the standing of Colombian President Uribe and the U.S. strategy to assist Colombia.

So what future do the FARC guerrillas have? Many experts find it likely that the FARC will splinter, fragmenting into its constituent fronts. The latest FARC leader, Alfonso Cano, has revealed himself as a firm Marxist, not ready to accept democracy. However, the FARC have been politically isolated. They have a reduced social base and are the public attitude has changed. The FARC are now losing more deserters than they are gaining new recruits, at trend that isn’t likely to change. Fewer recruits are joining the FARC due to ideological reasons. What began as a class struggle for social equality has evolved into an organization that exists simply to protect and profit from illegal drug activities. The promise of some higher moral purpose has long ago faded, and so to it seems, the long held hope of creating of an ideal socialist society in Colombia (Garamone, 2005).


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