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Even sans ideology, FARC still lives
Modern day Robin Hoods? Well, one may think so if one considers the core ideology and vision of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia shortly known as FARC. The group, which was formed as a group defending the rights of peasants, aimed to establish a Marxist rule at the Centre via armed struggle.
It started when the assassination of a famous Liberal leader led to years of brutal violence between the Liberals and the Conservatives (termed as la Violencia where over 2,00,000 people were killed). The peasants faced severe oppression and began to form self defence groups. The FARC was a combination of such groups and was formed in 1964. That’s pretty much where the similarity with Robin Hood ends. The FARC has claimed that it doesn’t target civilians but that claim is null and void considering that they are notorious for the illegal use of land mines, which has killed over 1,106 people in 2006 and 895 in 2007. FARC has ‘merry men’ too, but that’s because they derive a lot of their funding from the illegal drug trade & extortions! They even have children in their activities.
Under former President Pastrana, several peace negotiations were initiated with FARC but they failed. Current President Uribe launched direct military attack to wipe out FARC rebels from the land under ‘Patriot Plan’ in 2004. The operation was partially successful, as it forced the rebels to leave the land they were controlling. This has reduced the intensity of attacks, but are still at large. To make matters worse, they have external support from communist nations like Cuba, Venezuela & Ecuador. Colombia, on several occasions, has blamed Cuba and Venezuela for tacitly supporting FARC. In fact, Chavez has asked Europe to take FARC out of the terrorist organisations list, while in the same vein, he says he wishes for peace. FARC also enjoys the support of peasants. The Government has parallely provided economic support to the tribals and weakened their support for the insurgents. This process must also be taken to its logical conclusion. US support has thankfully been in abundance, and Columbia has to leverage it to the hilt.
By:- Akram Hoque
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