FARC Research Paper

Today, the problem of international terrorism is one of the major challenges to the stability in the modern world. In such a situation, the existence of clandestine organizations, using terrorist methods of struggle increases the risk of the spread of terrorism in the world and undermines the stability in those countries where such organizations operate. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the example of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia ”“ People’s Army (FARC-EP). At the same time, there are states and regimes tend to support various terrorist and clandestine organizations operating on territories of other states and aiming at the change of the existing social order and overthrowing the legal government. Obviously, the support of such organizations by other countries or statesmen who can influence decisions on the top level is absolutely unacceptable. It proves beyond a doubt that such a support cannot be interpreted otherwise but the interference in the domestic affairs and policy of sovereign states. In other words, through the support of clandestine, terrorist or revolutionary organization within a country, political leaders of other countries can influence the domestic policy of the country. Potentially, such a situation is very dangerous for independence of states vulnerable to terrorist activities because it makes them dependent on foreign politicians and, what is more, they become unable to defend national interests as long as they cannot conduct absolutely independent policies. In such a context, allegations concerning the support of the FARC by the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, are widely spread today, to the extent that he is considered to be an active proponent of the FARC. However, until now there are no factual evidence which could have proved the existence of extensive relations between Hugo Chavez and the FARC, instead, there is growing dissatisfaction from the part of his critics with Hugo Chavez, who, to a significant extent, shares the leftist ideology of the FARC, which is mainly based on similarities of views of Hugo Chavez and the FARC. It proves beyond a doubt that it is impossible to prove the existence of relations between Hugo Chavez and the FARC on the premise of similarities of their ideological views without factual back up of such premises.

History of the FARC

The FARC is one of the most influential revolutionary guerilla organizations, which is considered by many specialists[1] to be a terrorist group. However, it is necessary to lay emphasis on the fact that originally the FRRC was created as a military wing of the Colombian Communist Party and, thus, it was organized as a guerilla movement. In the course of the development of the organization, the FARC started to deviate from traditional methods of the guerilla war, which was oriented on the struggle with forces of regular army defending the existing regime in the country. Instead, the FARC had started to implement terrorist methods of struggle, including assignation, kidnapping and murdering hostages. Moreover, the financial restraints forced the FARC to search for new sources of financing the organization. As a result, the organization had started to participate in the cocaine trade which became an imprint source of funding the organization.

At the same time, the organization steadily slipped to the methods used by terrorists, instead of methods used in classical guerilla war. Nevertheless, the organization had never changed its ideology. Therefore, even today, in spite of cocaine trade and terrorist methods of struggle, the FARC stands on Marxist-Leninist ground and is one of largest clandestine, revolutionary organizations in Latin America which controls a considerable part of Columbia. Taking into consideration the ongoing struggle of the organization, its unchanged ideology and about half century history, the FARC represents a serious power the Columbian government cannot ignore, but it cannot defeat the FARC either.

History and Background of Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez is one of the most controversial figures in the modern politics in Latin American. On the one hand, he has been the President of Venezuela for ten consecutive years and he still remains the unchallenged leader of the country who has a substantial public support. Moreover, he is a very popular political figure in many other countries of Latin America, especially among the poorest layers of population. His popularity is based on his leftist ideology which is extremely attractive for the poor. However, it is not Marxist-Leninist ideology in its pure, classical form.

Instead, he develops the concept of democratic socialism and he is an active proponent of the idea of Latin America integration, especially of the poorest country of the western hemisphere.

On the other hand, his opponents[2] argue that his ideology is a pure populism which has nothing in common with a serious political ideology and socioeconomic policy. He is viewed by many specialists[3] as an adventurist and populist. In this respect, his attempt of coup-d’etat in 1992 contributed consistently to the formation of a negative image of Hugo Chavez. Moreover, it is this attempt of overthrowing the legal government of Venezuela that can be viewed as an indirect evidence of his link with the FARC.

Nevertheless, he won the 1998 presidential campaign in a legal way and, today, he has the legal authority in Venezuela, though his socioeconomic policies are subjects of severe criticism, especially his trend to the nationalization of local oil industry which proved to be harmful for many western, mainly American companies which operated in Venezuela. In addition to criticism of his socioeconomic policies, his opponents criticize him severely for his presumable close relations with the FARC. However, unlike is socioeconomic policies, his relations with the FARC has never been officially proved yet.

[1] Boudin, Chesa; Chavez, Hugo; Harnecker, Marta 2005. Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution: Hugo Chávez Talks to Marta Harnecker, Monthly Review Press.

[3] Kline, H. F. 1995. Colombia: Democracy Under Assault, Harper Collins.


Leave a Reply