Stanford U. - DoD project


Marulanda, a founder of FARC, 1930-2008

The FARC is a Marxist-Leninst guerrilla group founded in the 1960s to overthrow the Colombian government and seize control of the country. Today, the FARC’s goal is territorial gain and control within Colombia. [50][51] Additionally, the FARC opposes American imperialism and financial capital monopolies. [52] Therefore, the FARC opposes U.S. activity and influence in Colombia. [53]

Many FARC leaders sought inspiration from leftist social movements around the world. In a 2008 interview, Jaime Guaracas, a former FARC leader, said that, during the FARC’s formative years, leader Manuel Marulanda read and was influenced heavily by the work of Lenin, Marx, Bolívar, and Mao. [54]

In the FARC’s early years, to pay for the camps and social service provision, the FARC kidnapped for ransom, primarily targeting politicians, and elites. [7[8]

In addition to kidnapping, in the late 1970s, the FARC began trafficking cocaine to fund its activities, a practice that facilitated its rapid growth throughout the 1980s. The FARC’s newfound wealth, from kidnappings and the drug trade, and its provision of social services attracted a large number of new members who sought to escape the increasing poverty levels in Colombia. [9[10] Together, the increase in profit and new members marked the beginning of the FARC’s exponential growth and rise in power. [11[12]  However, the FARC’s reliance on the drug trade also harmed its reputation; reports on the FARC by the United States government, the Colombian government, and news sources quickly started referring to the group as a drug cartel and its leaders as drug traffickers. [13]

(What is our attitude to drug trafficking? Is is allowed, for the purpose of financing a revolutionary fight?)

The Human Rights Watch estimates that somewhere between 20% and 30% of all members are under 18 years of age, and El Tiempo reports that about 50% of FARC members are under 18 at the time of joining.

Following the AUC’s demobilization in 2006, the FARC started working closely with BACRIM (Bandas Criminales, in English, “Criminal Bands”), a criminal organization of mid-level, former AUC commanders involved in illegal activities from drug trafficking to gold mining.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.