Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was established in 1964 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party. FARC is Colombia's oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped Marxist insurgency. FARC is governed by a secretariat, led by Manuel Marulanda (a.k.a. "Tirofijo") and six others, including senior military commander Jorge Briceno (a.k.a. "Mono Jojoy"). FARC is organized along military lines and includes several urban fronts. In 2001, the group continued a slow-moving peace negotiation process with the Pastrana administration that has gained the group several concessions, including a demilitarized zone used as a venue for negotiations.
Organization activities. FARC is responsible for bombings, murder, kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, as well as guerrilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets. In March, 1999, FARC executed three U.S. Indian rights activists on Venezuelan territory after kidnapping them in Colombia. Foreign citizens often are targets of FARC kidnappings for ransom. The group has well-documented ties to narcotics traffickers, principally through the provision of armed protection.
FARC has approximately 9,000 to 12,000 armed combatants and an unknown number of supporters, mostly in rural areas. FARC operates in Colombia with some activities in Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador, while Cuba provides FARC some medical care and political consultation.
█ FURTHER READING:
Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook, 2002. < http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ > (April 16, 2003).
Taylor, Francis X. U.S. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001. Annual Report: On the Record Briefing. May 21, 2002. < http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/10367.htm > (April 17, 2003).
U.S. Department of State. Annual reports. < http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/annual_reports.html > (April 16, 2003).