The Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia Ejército del Pueblo, more generally known under their shortest acronym: FARC, have been playing a great part in Columbia's political life since 1964. For more than forty years, it has been that the first guerilla involved in the Columbian armed conflict. Based on the Marxist theory, they have a strong communist ideology, as their founder Jacobo Arenas was commissioned by the Columbian Communist Party's leader to gather all the existing independent peasant guerrilla groups. Then, the FARC became the military wing of the Communist Party. After a period when their revolutionary activity was reduced, the FARC came back violently on the national and international scenes during the 1990's. Their numerous and violent actions attacks, murder attempts, kidnappings brought them in the American and European list of terrorist organizations in 2005.
However, these actions have also led to their current difficulties like strengthening the national and the international struggle against them, and turning the Columbians' opinion against them. Very recently, the organization's main leaders have been killed and the numbers of members have seriously decreased. Then, we can wonder if these difficult times for the FARC are announcing the end of a story that lasted nearly a half century.
First, we are going to see how and why FARC has been created and developed. Then, we will study the different stages that the FARC has known since 1964. To finish, different scenarios will appear for the FARC's future.
[...] To finish with, the FARC are now also suffering from a great loss, that is, that time, just a stroke of fate and not directly linked to their current difficulties. On May, 25th, the FARC announced the death of their historic leader and founder, Manuel Marulanda “Tirofijo”, struck by a heart attack. Even if he had passed on the actual organization's leadership a few years ago to younger guerrillas, he had remained their symbolic figure and still had the last word in important decisions. [...]
[...] But, since 2002, the FARC's future prospects have become gloomier and gloomier The FARC have already known hard times in the past as we have seen: since their creation, when the communist stronghold of Marquetalia was taken by the army or at the beginning of the 1980's, when most of the armed forces chose to leave the armed struggle and they remained alone with the ENL against the government. But each time, the Columbian State's inconsistence and the help of the USSR regime have rapidly contributed to the FARC's revival. [...]
[...] Consequently, they struggle against the privatization of natural resources' production, against any multinational firm, and they are strongly opposed to the far right paramilitary groups. Like all the Latino-American leftist movements, they consider the United-States as an enemy and they are strongly opposed to their influence on the continent and, more specifically, in Columbia. Their rhetoric is quite clear, simple and adapted to the peasants' issues. For instance, Marulanda's most famous speech, in 1999, still denounced the death of “chickens and pigs in Marquetalia”, referring of the famous attack that led to the FARC's constitution. [...]
[...] At last, the M19, which was created in 1970, was only at its early stages. All these very radical forces were all created in reaction to the FARC which were considered as too moderate. Around 1975, like all their Latin-American counterparts, the Columbian guerrilla bands all had a lot of difficulties, and were nearly about to disappear. As far as the FARC were concerned, they were experiencing very hard times since serious military setbacks which occurred in 1967. At the mid-70's, they were only rallying seven or eight hundred combatants, and their leaders were thinking of demobilization. [...]
[...] And the steps that announced to be ready to make were a humanitarian exchange of some hostages in exchange for three hundred combatants who are in Columbian jails. Indeed, as they begin to lack leaders and officers, the FARC hope for a rapid release of many of the imprisoned guerrillas. That has not prevented the Columbian army from leading important military actions against the guerrilla, such as the one led in Ecuador in March. There are currently about seven thousand military men in the South-East jungle, seeking for the FARC's leaders; they also launch regular bombings all over the jungle. [...]
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