|“||Guerrillas of the FARC, with the people we will triumph for the country, the land and bread.||„|
|~ The FARC motto.|
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo), also known by the acronym of FARC or FARC-EP, is a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization based in Colombia, which is involved in the nearly five decade ongoing Colombian Conflict.
FARC-EP is a peasant army which has proclaimed itself to be a revolutionary agrarian, anti-imperialist Marxist-Leninist organization of Bolivarian inspiration. It claims to represent the rural poor in a struggle against Colombia's wealthier classes, and opposes United States influence in Colombia (e.g. Plan Colombia), neo-imperialism, monopolization of natural resources by multinational corporations, and paramilitary or government violence. It funds itself principally through ransom kidnappings, gold mining and taxation of the illegal drug trade.
FARC has been classified as a terrorist organization by the governments of Colombia, (since 1997) the United States, Canada,[l Chile, (since 2010) New Zealand, Venezuela (Guaido-led government, since 2019) and (until 2016) the European Union.
The Colombian government began attacking many of the communist groups in the early 1960s, attempting to re-assimilate the territories under the control of the national government. FARC was formed in 1964 by Manuel Marulanda Vélez and other PCC members, after a military attack on the community of Marquetalia. 16,000 Colombian troops attacked the community, which only had 48 armed fighters. Marulanda and 47 others fought against government forces at Marquetalia and then escaped into the mountains along with the other fighters. These 48 men formed the core of FARC, which later grew in size to hundreds of fighters.
FARC officially disbanded in June 2017 after agreeing to peace negotiations with the Colombian government the previous year. However, thousands of FARC dissidents still take on FARC's original doctrine and continue with drug trafficking and occasional guerrilla attacks.
Human rights violations
FARC was accused of committing war crimes and violations of human rights by numerous groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations as well as by the Colombian, U.S. and European Union governments.
A February 2005 report from the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights mentioned that, during 2004, "FARC-EP continued to commit grave breaches [of human rights] such as murders of protected persons, torture and hostage-taking, which affected many civilians, including men, women, returnees, boys and girls, and ethnic groups."
Exmaples include the following:
- FARC consistently carried out attacks against civilians specifically targeting suspected supporters of paramilitary groups, political adversaries, journalists, local leaders, and members of certain indigenous groups since at least as early as 1994. From 1994 to 1997 the region of Urabá in Antioquia Department was the site of FARC attacks against civilians
- The FARC-EP has employed a type of improvised mortars made from gas canisters (or cylinders), when launching attacks. According to Human Rights Watch, the FARC-EP has killed civilians not involved in the conflict through the use of gas cylinder mortars and its use of landmines.
- FARC sometimes threatened or assassinated indigenous Colombian leaders for attempting to prevent FARC incursions into their territory and resisting the forcible recruitment by FARC of indigenous youth. Between 1986 and 2001, FARC was responsible for 27 assassinations, 15 threats, and 14 other abuses of indigenous people in Antioquia Department.
Association with other organizations
- It is rumored FARC was involved in the financing and training of guerrilla fighters for the Paraguayan People's Army, a Marxist organization that has been waging an insurgency in Paraguay since 2005. At least one FARC officer, Orley Jurado Palomino, has been confirmed as being involved with the group.
- During the latter years of the Cold War, FARC also formed an alliance with Shining Path, the group responsible for the internal conflict in Peru from 1980 to 2000.
- FARC has allegedly received support from the Venezuelan government, under both Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.
- They were also allies with the Provisional IRA.