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Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia


Established in 1964 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia is Colombia's oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped Marxist insurgency. The FARC is governed by a secretariat, led by septuagenarian Manuel Marulanda[?], a.k.a. "Tirofijo," and six others, including senior military commander Jorge Briceno[?], a.k.a. "Mono Jojoy." It is organized along military lines and includes several urban fronts. In 2000, the group continued a slow-moving peace negotiation process with the administration of Andres Pastrana[?], which has gained the group several concessions, including a demilitarized zone used as a venue for negotiations.


Bombings, murder, kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets, and attacks on those considered a threat to the movement. In March 1999 the FARC killed three US Indian rights activists on Venezuelan territory after kidnapping them in Colombia. Foreign citizens often are targets of FARC kidnapping for ransom. FARC is believed to have ties to narcotics traffickers, principally through the provision of armed protection.

The FARC claims it is seeking peace and justice for the people of Colombia. On the other hand, the insurgency has devastated the country's social and political life. Critics of FARC claim that they attack civilian targets, and recruit children as soldiers and informants (although rebel leaders deny that large numbers of FARC soldiers are under fifteen years of age).

The FARC has increasingly used brutal massacres to sow terror among ordinary Colombians. It is also accused of abusing its power within the zone ceded to its control by the government during the recent talks.

The FARC has violated international humanitarian law by using gas cylinder bombs, which have destroyed town centers. In addition, the FARC has attacked medical workers and facilities.


Approximately 9,000 to 12,000 armed combatants and an unknown number of supporters, mostly in rural areas.

Location/Area of Operation

Colombia with some activities--extortion, kidnapping, logistics, and R&R--in Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador.

External Aid

Cuba provides some medical care and political consultation

External Link

FARC website: http://www.farc-ep.org/

source: Terrorist Group Profiles, Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School

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