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MATERIAL FOR DISCUSSION AND POPULAR PEDAGOGY about Latin American history and contemporary social conflicts

Political course



Emilio Salgari


Dionissio, drawings Isabelle - DomĂŠnico, ink

FARC-EP educational material





By Iván Márquez, Secretariat Member of the FARC-EP

“Marulanda and the FARC for beginners” is a torch, illuminating with its flames the dark night of manipulation and deceit. It questions the lies spread to falsify the history of insurgent heroic deeds, inspired by people’s desire, their dreams about justice and freedom for the humble ones. This work defends the validity and legitimacy of armed struggle as an indisputable right of people to rebel against tyrannical and terrorist regimes. A regime, imposed by the dominant class as a violent expression of power, only motivates those who see the motherland as humanity, to bring it down through rebellion, together with the mobilization of other nations. Fighting for dignity, for sovereignty, for a just and peaceful nation, is not a crime; it’s a legitimate right. Salgari’s story is like the Atrato (Colombian river) with a profound political and ideological riverbed, which flows, overflowing its borders, to give a context to a history of heroic resistance and also to join the worldwide anti-capitalist struggle. It’s a coming and going through history, looking for context and explications, and without losing direction, it reveals the splendor and the legitimacy of a just struggle. It’s an extraordinary and didactical narration, to be read by experts and beginners alike. It’s not only a description; it also analyzes the causes of things. Statements accompanied by passion; this work defends the oppressed people and it rejects institutional violence, from the time of the conquest, through historical events of the abuse of power, such as the massacre of the banana-workers, the assassination of Gaitán, the “period of violence”, with 300.000 Colombians killed, the military


aggression against Marquetalia, the political genocide of the Patriotic Union (UP) with more tan 5.000 people killed, Plan Colombia, State paramilitarism, massacres, false positives* , mass graves, forced displacements, criminalization of protests, tortures, disappeared people, imprisonment and, last but not least, the deaf, killer violence called neoliberal politics. MARULANDA AND THE FARC FOR BEGINNERS pursues and defeats the ghosts and demons invented to frighten and discourage resistance. In these pages, the terror about a supposed “narco-guerrilla” and “terrorism” fades away, defeated by Salgari’s overwhelming arguments and the strokes of Dionissio’s paintbrush. These uncover the perfidy and hypocrisy of the Washington and Bogotá governments and their vicious, manipulative media campaign. Salgari and Dionissio confirm that the induced fear of communism is fading away on the horizon of this new century, replaced by hope for humanity and a need to save the world. Dionissio’s paintings and Salgari’s words complement each other. Both show a deep knowledge of the FARC insurgency, its background and rise, its development step-by-step as a people’s army, its tactics and strategy, its military doctrine and rules. Both have undoubtedly studied the teachings left by the nine National Guerrilla Conferences of the FARC-EP. This work measures the impact, inside the FARC, of the victories and defeats of socialism in its confrontation –not yet defined by its resultswith capitalism. The FARC did not yield to the siren songs announcing the “end of history” and the “definitive triumph of capital”. It resisted and still resists against neoliberalism, postmodernism and other fashionable ideas, sold by the imperialist think tanks. It participates in the battle of the ideas, but with the conviction that ideas alone don’t win battles against barbarous enemies. In the decisive struggle against bourgeois civilization, today weak and senile, ideas should always travel escorted. You can’t confront a dangerous enemy like a staggering empire that uses weapons and technology, without protecting yourself. People around the world will know how to use all the necessary tools to knock down worldwide tyranny. The FARC-EP, following their own ideas and concepts about war, and supported by moral solidarity around the world, has resisted the greatest offensive launched against any guerrilla force in this hemisphere. Today, it has forced its adversaries to change their counterinsurgence strategy. We could say that it has gone through a rough and stormy sea, rowing with the strength of its political sovereignty. It has never taken account of any Vatican, it only respond to its highest authority: the Guerrilla Conference. Dignity and perseverance will always triumph.


E. Salgari, analyzing the epic of the FARC resistance, reveals the deep links between the FARC and other forces against oppression, represented by Bolivar, Marx and Che. He magnificently blends together indo-American socialist ideas and classical ideals of communism, which is an important issue for the revolution in Our America, unifier of continental dreams and affinities, catalyzing agent of popular mobilization for definitive Independence. In MARULANDA AND THE FARC FOR BEGINNERS, the protagonist, Manuel Marulanda VĂŠlez, begins battling across the continent, together with BolĂ­var, Marx and Che, and extending its libertarian ties across the ocean. This work is dedicated, with deep and revolutionary guerrilla affection, to all young people, with whom we share their historical rebellion against injustice, their generosity toward the weak, their creative irreverence. Only with united imagination and audacity, will we be able to open new roads to the great nation and socialism. In these times of the structural crisis of capitalism, decadence of the bourgeois civilization - so violent in its agony - the strength and legitimacy of the armed struggle acquire new strength. We invite the youth to take up the arms of rebellion in this prelude to the decisive battle for humanity, like Marulanda and Che, like BolĂ­var, looking for the installation of a new social order in which justice will prevail. Colombian jungle, October 2011.

* Civilians assassinated by the army, presented as guerrilla fighters killed in combat



There’s no better way to reach freedom than fighting for it


Manuel Marulanda, an invincible rebel. The power forces of Colombia and the US gringos will never be able to defeat or buy us, nor with money, nor with arms, nor with media manipulation.


Why does the FARC-EP fight?


he struggle of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People’s Army (FARC-EP) is the struggle of the Colombian and Latin-American people: it’s an answer from below to the systematic and institutionalized violence practiced from above. The FARC are looking for a democratic coexistence with social justice and national sovereignty, as a result of a process of massive citizen participation, which will lead Colombia to socialism. “The guerrilla was born and exists because of the violence of the State and the power forces, not because we wanted so.”

The reasons for the FARC-EP struggle are the same as they were in 1964, when it was born. Violence from above hasn’t disappeared, violence on behalf of the bourgeois-oligarchic State against the poor, the workers, the peasants, the women, the indigenous, and the students, who don’t have any opportunity to live a dignified life. Their fundamental rights are only written on paper and in some laws, but in real life nobody cares about them. The FARC-EP fights for a new Colombia, for the Great Bolivarian, Latin-American Nation and for socialism. Therefore, its goal is to take power, together with all the Colombian people and to establish social justice once and for all.


The FARC-EP and the vanguard in Latin America.


fter the neoliberal flood, the capitalist storm and the postmodern desert, the fire of rebellion keeps burning with dignity and persistence. When a lot of people got tired of fighting, the FARC-EP remains alive and kicking, with the vision of popular and revolutionary power as a strategic horizon. Without paying attention to the siren songs which invite it to surrender and desband, the FARC is being part of the vanguard of Latin America, together with diverse social and political movements which don’t resign themselves to a capitalism “with a human face”, nor to submissively ask for breadcrumbs at the elite’s banquets.


Alone, it has had to maintain this struggle against the grain many times, faced with the most powerful empire in the world, which makes use of the most crushing technological power since the dark times of Hitler and Mussolini. Whereas the empire is developing the biggest offensive ever known against any revolutionary movement (apart from Vietnam) against the FARC, it has had to defend itself many times alone. Active solidarity with the FARC-EP is on the agenda, from a nation’s kind of perspective, beyond any state point- of- view, or circumstantial diplomatic situation.


Drug-cartel or revolutionary movement?


he Colombian bourgeoisie and different North American administrations (including the Pentagon and the CIA) insist again and again: “the FARC-EP is a gang of drug traffickers, not a communist guerrilla”. Is that so? What is the real genealogy of this false accusation aimed at discrediting the insurgency politically? The revolutionary people, while fighting, are called bandits, scoundrels, criminals. When they triumph, they are called statesmen

They call us drug traffickers, terrorists and bandits. They insult us because we are revolutionary people. They insulted Bolivar, too.

In November 1983, general Luis Eduardo Roca Maichel (a graduate of the Yankee School of the Americas) orders to send a special counter-guerrilla force Company (6 officers and 43 sub officers) to dismantle a cocaine laboratory and reinstall it on the Colombian-Brazilian border. The operation lasts two months. It is named “Mision rompedor 83”. The airplanes are sent from the “Apiay” military base. In March 1984, an international scandal breaks out. The laboratory is discovered and called “Tranquilandia”. The generals, who are caught red-handed, try to save themselves, maintaining that “the laboratory belonged to the guerrilla”, which is absurd. The Colombian magazine “Semana” published an article stating that none of their journalists could find anything at the laboratory that involved the guerrilla.


Origins of the “narco-guerrilla” story.


t that time, the U.S. ambassador in Bogota, Lewis Tambs (advisor to Bush, Sr. and collaborator in the editing of the conservative Santa Fe documents), not only supported the account of those Colombian generals, who obviously were narcos. He also tried to fabricate and hide the obvious fact that, indeed, the counterinsurgency war propelled by the US in the region, in Colombia, but also in Nicaragua, through the Iran-Contra affair (the illegal sale of weapons and drug deals to finance the anti-Sandinista counterrevolution) was financed with drug money.


THE NEW GHOST OF THE MISINFORMATION FACTORY Those generals and that Yankee ambassador were the first to use the term “narco-guerrilla” to refer to the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Liberation Army). Later on, the ideological brainchild would be generalized. The US changed it into the new counterinsurgency “doctrine”, recycling the old ghost of “communism” and the new model of “narco-terrorism”.


Communist ideology or “drugs”?


t becomes clear how crazy and ridiculous it is to designate “narco” to a political-military, communist, Bolivarian, Marxist, Leninist and Guevarist organization, when you listen to the words of a government representative of Colombia. In 1997, when there were rumors of possible talks between the FARC and the Samper administration, Daniel García Peña (director of an exploratory commission to promote peace negotiations with the guerrilla) declared: “The rhetoric repeated thousands of times about a guerrilla without ideals and turned into a mafiaorganization is false. We’re talking about a political-military organization that imposes revolutionary taxes on the harvest (of coca) to sustain war, but it doesn’t ever participate in trafficking. If we were talking about a cartel, they wouldn’t take villages nor would they carry out military operations” Whoever said this, doesn’t have any sympathy for Bolívar, Marx or Marulanda….

Great ideological leaders

On may 18th 2003, a United Nations special envoy, secretary-general James Lemoyne, declared: “ The main support for the most important guerrilla force in the country comes from people who are ideologically committed.”


The FARC financing. Bandits or insurgents?


ith revolutionary taxes, which the FARC-EP imposes on the Colombian bourgeoisie to maintain its belligerent force the FARC buys weapons, munitions, radios for communication. The revolutionary combatants live from their own work. They produce, cultivate and harvest the majority of their own food, they produce their own uniforms, wash their clothes, cook their food, mend their clothes, construct (time and again) their mobile camps, etc. The FARC-EP doesn’t live off of the peasants. Every time they take anything from any peasant or worker, they pay for it promptly. That is why they have gained prestige and respect among popular sectors, in contrast to the government army, the police and the paramilitary forces. This chicken is a narcoguerrilla animal. It’s under arrest

How do the official Military Forces maintain themselves in the war? How do they finance themselves? How do they buy their weapons? There are two ways. Through direct North American military investment or through taxes which all the Colombian citizens have to pay, month-by-month, year-by-year. Those who do not pay taxes, might lose his home, his property, or could even go to jail. That’s “normal” for everybody. Doesn’t anyone wonder why they should pay taxes every month for the military and the police keep on killing people?


Terrorists or revolutionaries?


he same Colombian bourgeoisie which sows the country with more than 300.000 dead and disappeared people…calls the popular sectors, rebels and the dissidents “terrorists”. According to their theorists and media experts, the systematic violence from above, from the power and the State, is “pacification”. The popular reaction from below is called “terrorism”. This strange judgment is derived from their propaganda after September 11th 2001, the day on which, in a peculiar way, two commercial airplanes, supposedly hijacked by terrorists, crashed against the twin towers of the New York’s World Trade Center. On that same day, another airplane struck the Pentagon. These events were the perfect pretext for the empire to declare its global “war on terror” and to justify their intervention in any place on the planet, as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they have committed the most horrendous crimes against defenseless civilians. Repeat repeat and repeat

Manipulated media

This new imperial McCarthyism, which intends to put an end to any popular protest and any radical dissidence, with the North American rhetoric about the “infinitive war against terrorism” is disputed by Noam Chomsky (US investigator) in his book “Rogue States: The rule of force in world affairs” (Cambridge, South End Press, 2000). He compares the FARC’s struggle with the struggle of the Vietnamese guerrilla fighters. According to Chomsky, the US said that the Vietnamese guerrilla didn’t have any popular support…Right now, we know the truth about that. Exactly the same thing has happened to the FARC, according to Rogue States.


Fidel Castro is talking about Marulanda.

“Marulanda was one of the most outstanding Colombian and Latin American guerrilla fighters. When the world will have forgotten the names of a lot of mediocre politicians, Marulanda’s name will be known as one of the most admirable and firm fighters for the welfare of peasants, workers and poor people in Latin America�


Imperialism against Bolívar and the FARC-EP


ince its first call for Independence, 200 years ago, Colombia has had to confront the U.S. Whereas Bolívar’s dream was the construction of a big Latin-American nation, Monroe’s Project was “America for the (North) Americans”. The Monroe doctrine, summarized in this phrase, first had been invented by John Quincy Adams and was promoted by James Monroe on the 2nd of December 1823. Just imagine, Manuel… they say America is for the Americans

They are just hallucinating, Simon: this land is ours, because we were born on it

Two centuries later, in the Santa Fe IV document, the main theorists of the political, financial and military elite of the US, continue attacking Bolívar - as they attack the FARC-EP and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez-. They do this exactly in the same way as they did at the beginning of the XIX century, when they tried to get control of Colombia and to subordinate all of Latin America, which, according to them, was their “backyard”.


The cruel conquest of America and the resistance.


ince 1492, the Spanish and Portuguese conquest integrates the continent of Our America with the worldwide capitalist system, with its blood, mud, torture, crosses and death. “Without the conquest and looting of gold and silver from America, capitalism wouldn’t have been able to exist“, that’s what Marx teaches us in Capital. From the beginning, the first indigenous resistance fought heroically against conquest. Pioneers of the heroic resistance


Dependent capitalism in the Colombian economic-social formation.


s part of Our America, Colombia is an economic-social formation that from the beginning developed a type of capitalism connected with the world market in a deformed way for two historical reasons. The first, is the system of land ownership, which was structured from colonial times, when the Spanish empire in Colombia distributed the land and mines through the “mita“ and the “encomienda”, exploiting the forces of production of the original inhabitants and (black) slaves brought from Africa using brute force. That’s how a dependent capitalism was created.

Unpunished looting

The second reason is the direct influence of the US empire which managed to dominate the newborn republic economically, socially, politically, culturally, ideologically and militarily. This was due to the complicity of the local oligarchic bourgeoisie, which was docile, obedient, important, stunted, without an independent point-of-view, turning its back on Simon Bolívar’s dreams of emancipation and liberation.


Independence, Simón Bolívar and the dream of the Great Nation.


he FARC-EP defines itself as a Bolivarian organization. It goes back to the ideas, the struggle and the strategy of Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) liberator of Latin America. His project of liberation and independence consisted of freeing -at leastfive countries, riding horses and mules. His major -and still unfulfilled- dream was to create the Great Nation, that is to say, the unity of indo-Latin America. His project was not only about independence, but also, at the same time, about a great nation of republics. I don’t trust the traitors from Bogotá nor from the South

The FARC-EP sees the value in Bolívar’s ideas: the dedication to an ideal without claiming anything personal; the awareness that politics is not to be used for “making money”, but as a social service; honesty, sacrifice; the struggle for other people, generosity; commitment; coherence between the things you say and the things you do; the originality of the ideas. All these were teachings from Bolívar and the FARC-EP confirms, in their different study materials, programs and political manifestos, that this scale of values -absolutely incompatible with capitalism and neoliberalism- is still in force.


Simón Bolívar: Why the Great Nation?


he dream of a Great Nation, a big nation for the entire Latin American continent, doesn’t come from “delusions of grandeur” or “the personal ambitions of a dictator”, as written thoughtlessly by some quibblers and mediocre academics, who attack Bolívar only to get some useless titles or some millionaire scholarships from the bourgeoisie or the NGOs. On the contrary, Bolívar, when he refers to international relationships, states that you can only reach a certain “equilibrium” in regard to the big, old European powers and the new north American power if Our America can articulate itself as a new, united, autonomous and sovereign power. Therefore, first of all, we should unify our people and our cultures. The fragmentation of the Great Nation into 20 little republics -heirs even to the institutional and juridical architecture of the European colonial administration- will only bring us submission, dependence and neocolonialism. United we will be strong and we will gain respect; divided and isolated we will perish


Eat, eat, my faithful doggy

Who benefitted from that fragmentation: narrow-minded nationalism, absurd and ridiculous parochial rivalries, intellectual and political provincialism? Why does imperialism promote this kind of balkanization? There were two groups who benefitted from this. In the first place, the local oligarchies and creole bourgeoisies, who were petty and shortsighted and who only sought to replace the old European dominant classes by a new local ruling class, leaving intact the old social regime. A smaller and more restricted new republic was easier to dominate. But those bourgeois oligarchies didn’t see - they couldn’t, because their small-minded politics and their economic powerlessness didn’t allow them - that their little power conquered this way liquidated, subordinated and, finally, disappeared before the big power of the northern boss. He incorporated, controlled and conquered the old Spanish and Portuguese colonies through a new colonialism (neocolonialism). Behind Bolívar’s Great Nation, appears Monroe’s cruel and voracious shadow. The dependent bourgeoisies are simple butlers, submitted to this imperial and merciless boss who despises and humbles us, organizes military coups, disappears hundreds of thousands of people and commits torture on a continental scale with its National Security Doctrine (NSD).


Simón Bolívar, a continental project.


imón Bolívar’s ideals were the most advanced of his time. He wanted to construct an inclusive social republic that amalgamated “moral and light” (as his master Simón Rodríguez (1771-1854) taught him). That is to say, dignifying public administration, eliminating corruption and at the same time promoting an educational system extended to all social sectors (white creoles, indigenous people, afro-Colombians, mulattos, etc.), not restricted to the learned minorities nor to the elites who had their minds aligned in Europe or the USA. A Colombia for everybody

To develop this political program, he decided to lead a liberation war on a continental scale, coordinating his struggles with other revolutionaries. That’s how he freed what is now Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, struggling together with José de San Martín (1778-1850) in the South, who developed the same project in what we consider Argentina, Chile and Peru today. In this way -what we would call “internationalism” in today’s language- Simón Bolívar led a continental emancipation process. Therefore, his thought is important to the FARC-EP’s ideas and political culture in the new global circumstances of the XXI century.


Simón Bolívar and Karl Marx.


hile Bolívar was leading the continental liberation struggle in Latin America, European workers and other subjugated and exploited social classes engaged in multiple uprisings, class struggles and revolutions. Their main ideologist was the Jewish-German thinker Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883), author of Capital and founder of a political movement of international significance, known as socialism and communism. The only books I found in Europe criticized Bolivar. But he was a great revolutionary and that’s why I honor him today


Manuel, thanks to the new Bolivarian army you’ve created, the definitive independence will be possible.

Liberator,at your orders!

Marx never traveled to America. Nor did he know Bolívar personally. He had only read about him. But, because Marx was very poor, during his exile in England he studied books in public libraries. The best one at that time was the British Museum. There, he read about Bolívar, but, that library had only books written by European enemies of Bolívar. Thus, Marx wrote a very unfortunate article, titled “Bolívar and Ponte” (1858), in which he undertook a critique of the American liberator. Different from the information he used in writing “Capital” (his main work, a monument to human intelligence and a demolishing critique of capitalism), the information he had about Bolívar was too limited. However, his disciples and continuators, like Che Guevara and others, even when they pointed out these mistakes of the master, have defined themselves as Marxists and Bolivarians at the same time. Manuel Marulanda Vélez may be one of the main Bolivarian Marxists of our times.


The oligarchy betrays Bolívar.


lthough Bolívar’s dreams set fire to the continent and liberated many countries, his emancipating ideas had a lot of European, but also local enemies. For example, Francisco de Paula Santander (1792-1840) is recalled by the official history of Colombia as “the man of law”. In reality, he tried, together with the US government, to assassinate Simón Bolívar many times. His aim? Apart of his rivalries, his miserable jealousy and political envy, he tried to tear apart Great Colombia, consisting of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. He wanted to guarantee his domination over little isolated and powerless republics. After Bolívar’s death in 1830, the Colombian bourgeois oligarchy betrayed and turned its back on the emancipating project and installed the Santanderist regime, sparking civil wars and violence against the people (which still haven’t come to an end).

The hero of the Colombian oligarchy


The violence of the oligarchic regime inspired by Santander who was said to be “a man of law” only by word of mouth, overestimating the formal aspect without its social and progressive content, constituted a violence from above against the lower classes, against the people. After the culmination of the liberation and independence wars, the European colonists were expelled, but depopulation, exploitation, exclusion and discrimination continued. The Creole dominant class, which is decadent and dependent, replaced the old European ruling class. After Bolívar’s death, the whole nineteenth century - a formally “republican” era- was a century of violence. There were 23 civil wars in Colombia, with different fractions of the dominant class fighting against each other, just to manage power in a mean-spirited way. In the fictional novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez writes about his main character, colonel Aureliano Buendía: “He fought in 32 civil wars, and lost all of them”.

Santander didn’t have a face, he had a mask

Bolívar wants to bring about a revolution in which the ones who don’t have anything gain, and there are a lot of them, and in which the ones who do have lose, and we are a small group


United Fruit, the Gringos and the massacre of the banana-workers.


he oligarchic, repressive and dependent regime inspired by Santander, continued during the twentieth century. In 1914, at the Bolívar central square in Bogotá, the liberal and socialist-orientated leader Rafael Uribe Uribe was murdered. Later, on the 6th of December 1928, during the conservative administration of Miguel Abadía Méndez, the massacre of the bananaworkers took place. The North American United Fruit Company, with its gloomy representation in Latin America, always pursuing profits through the ultra-exploitation of the workers, was mainly responsible for a terrible massacre, which intended to repress the newborn trade unions. In one night the military, commanded by General Carlos Cortez Vargas, murdered 3000 strikers. In 1928 the yellow bananas turn red.

Ignacio Torres

María Cano

The leaders María Cano and Ignacio Torres Giraldo of the Socialist Revolutionary Party were pursued systematically. With the so-called “heroic law”, which made penal legislation more repressive after 1928, thought-crime was established. Under this law, the regime repressed union activities and outlawed the Socialist Revolutionary Party (PSR). Soon, on the 17th of July 1930, in the middle of repression, struggle and persecution, a child was born on the Colombian countryside whose name would be recalled by history.


Pedro Antonio Marin’s family, a young man called Marulanda.


n this cruel world of violence and class confrontation, a boy named Pedro Antonio Marín began to walk (Later, he would adopt the name of Manuel Marulanda). He was born on the 13th of May of 1930 in Génova, Quindío, a little village surrounded by hills on the banks of the San Juan River. His parents, Rosa Delia Marín Gallego and Pedro Pablo Marín Quiceno, lived on a farm in El Rosario, near Ceilán, in the department of El Valle. Marulanda remembered that they had “some 20 hectares with coffee, yucca, and bananas. A warm climate, where you could grow bananas for 10, 15 of 30 years. Banana land. Good yucca, good beans too, coffee and sugar cane. Good land…”. Pedro Antonio Marín was the oldest of five brothers. Manuel was born

Young Pedro had twelve uncles. One of them, Ángel Marín, was an enthusiastic follower of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. Another uncle, José de Jesús Marín, taught him fencing and self- defense. My father was the poorest of the family…”, Marulanda recalled. His uncles, on the other hand, had coffee farms of some 200 hectares. His grandfather, Ángel Marín, always told stories about The War of a Thousand Days. His grandfather participated on the liberal side, but he deserted and escaped to the jungle. Young Manuel and his entire family were liberal; in those times, the Liberal party in Colombia was associated with supporting the people.


His first education and jobs


he child completed two years of primary school in Alto del Rosario; he finished third, fourth and fifth grade in Ceilán, at a school with teachers “who taught me a lot and I was a quick learner…” Marulanda recalled. I think these studies didn’t take three years altogether, because even to let me pass each year, I had to help the teacher. When I finished my work, I had to teach the boys of the second grade, then the boys of third, fourth and fifth grade. Since they couldn’t let me pass quickly, I had to wait for the other children to reach my level… Those were times when your level of knowledge, when you finished primary school, equalled that of a holder of a bachelor’s degree today….”

In his free time, after his studies and the intense work of weeding, coffee harvesting and pruning on the banana and yucca plantations, the boy liked to invent all sorts of guns and rifles. He left home when he was 16 years old. He was already self-employed. Now he was a farmer, then a woodcutter, a meat distributor, a baker, a candy-vendor, an employee, a road inspector, a butler’s assistant and even a village supplier. At night, he liked to play violin.


The social world of the young Manuel


he colonists of the beginning of the XXth century, old liberal combatants of The War of a Thousand Days, set their weapons aside, founded villages and established coffee plantations in the jungle of the Cordillera in Central Colombia. For four decades they challenged merchants, lawyers, big farmers and colonizing companies in legal disputes for the right oto use uncultivated lands. Brotherhood between Liberals and Conservatives

In his daily life, in spite of latent conflicts, the Colombian countryside is socially quite calm. “One would go to a conservative house”, remembered Marulanda, “and that was exactly the same as going to a liberal house or a relative’s house. No one was surprised, there were no differences. For example, one’s sister got married to a conservative, that was no news, you didn’t care about that. Or some conservative woman would get married to someone’s brother and there wasn’t any difference between them, it didn’t make any difference if you were liberal or conservative. That difference came later on, as a landslide…”


The storm that breaks the quiet countryside.


he social and environmental peacefulness of the countryside where the young Pedro Antonio Marín lived, was soon broken. A radio in a pool room where the boy was playing billiards, trembled with news that would change history. “They killed Gaitán!” It was half past one in the afternoon. Bogotá exploded. The billiard players of the village were driven mad and mobilized, they went out of the bar and in uncle Ángel Marín’s house they shouted: “They killed Gaitán, Gaitán was killed”. Manuel remembered, years later: “Our family was Gaitanista…” The conservatives were declared guilty and condemned (in a liberal village) for a crime committed in the country’s capital. The liberals occupied the mayor’s office; the legal authorities were arrested and sent to jail. The liberals disarmed the police; they appointed new authorities.

Unpunished crime

The official troops arrived quickly to Ceilán to “bring order” to the situation. They found empty streets. Uncle Ángel Marín, who was identified as the main organizer, would’t allow them to arrest him. Two hundred arrested were put in the prison of Tulúa (Valle del Cauca department). Young Pedro Antonio Marín left Ceilán, worried and afraid of what he had seen on the 9th of April. He left for the jungle.


Gaitán and his murder: The Bogotazo


hat happened in the capital? On the 9th of April, 1948, during the conservative government of Mariano Ospina Pérez, the liberal leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitán was murdered. The reaction was a popular rebellion known as “the Bogotazo”. The enraged people attacked and set fire to the apostolic nunciature, the Palace of Justice, the attorney general’s office, the governor’s office, the Ministry of Education, the Presidential Palace and the Capitol, where the Panamerican Conference was taking place. The revolt grew and official sources reported 3000 deaths during the first three days. A long period of persecution and killings began. Leaders of anti-communism

These were the times of the cold war, a worldwide dispute between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Colombia was part of the so-called “backyard”, that the North American empire considered its territory since Monroe. Their intervention, recurring and permanent, (and Gaitán’s murder was connected to it), tried to keep Bolívar’s homeland subordinate to the Yankee flag and its companies. In the United States, the FBI, the State Department and the CIA normally declassify their information after a certain period of time. However, in the case of Colombia, the CIA hasn’t revealed it until today (2011). Why would that be?


Oligarchic terrorism


fter the “Bogotazo”, the conservative repression was spread over the whole country. Following May 1948, the conservative administration of Ospina Pérez and the cruel Laureano Gómez (an admirer of General Francisco Franco) started conversations with the North American State Department, warning about “the communist threat”. He bought weapons and equipment for the Colombian army in the United States. During the Period of Violence (between 1948 and 1957) approximately 300.000 dead bodies were found on roads and in the countryside. The cruel war, untied by the Colombian ruling class against the people, didn’t respect any international agreements or minimum legal standards.

Yesterday “pájaros” today “paracos”

Who committed those massive assassinations? Policemen, sometimes dressed in uniform, sometimes in civilian clothes. They were known as “chulavitas”. There were also the famous mercenaries, called “pájaros” [birds], which were supported by the police and the government. They went from town to town, sowing terror, kidnapping, torturing, raping and murdering. They took pregnant women and tore their stomachs open to “exterminate the liberal or communist seed”.


The owners of power and their “peace”


he burning, the looting, the rapes and abuses became everyday events. The “pájaros” or paramilitaries of that period, practiced the “flannel slit”, consisting of cutting the victim’s head just over their necks. They also practiced the “tie slit”, cutting the collar and pulling their tongues out of their collars. In the rural regions, the impunity was greater. Thousands and thousands of families ran away from this oligarchic atrociousness and this bourgeois barbarism. They abandon ed their land and depopulation became wide-spread. The Communist Party calls for mass self-defense

A lot of families, who were displaced or hid in the jungle as their only possible solution, chose armed resistance. Not as a consequence of a theoretical program invented by three or four university students sitting around a table in some bar, but as an immediate need for survival. This is how the first peasant’s self-defense guerrillas were born in Colombia. They were a response from below to the cruel and inhuman violence exercised from above, from State institutions. In November 1949, the Communist Party called for mass self-defense. The liberal gaitanists also began resistance. By that time, Manuel, of liberal roots, was 19 years old.


Systematic violence from above


he violence from above ran like a thread throughout the entire XXth century in Colombia. It’s not a consequence of craziness or individual sadism by an isolated fool or a schizophrenic killer as in Hollywood movies. The violence was the privileged means of an entire social class, in order to stay in power and rule. This social class, which had been unable to guarantee national sovereignty or to maintain a minimum participative, democratic, pluralist and inclusive social order, independent of North American penetration and tutelage.

They demonize to justify crime

Starting with the banana-workers massacre in 1928 and the bestial crimes, which became generalized in 1948 following Gaitan’s murder, new waves of violence were generated. One of them starts in 1953 with the military coup of General Rojas Pinilla. Later on, it began again in 1958 with the National Front (the twoparty system). Finally, it was taken up again in the middle of the nineteensixties and it continues up to the present. The killers always came from the same social layer: the dominant class, the bourgeoisie and the oligarchy, the big companies, the mafia, the armed forces and the police. The victims were the people, without exception. First they called them “strikers”, then “bandits” or “liberals without respect for religion”, then “unpatriotic communists”, later “terrorists” and finally “narco-guerrillas”. The demonizing insults change; the repressive method is always the same.


Popular response to the oligarchic violence


t the beginning, Pedro Antonio Marin hid in the jungle. Then he returned to Ceilán. An airplane dropped flyers, promising justice if they allowed the conservative killers to enter. The naive people let the “pájaros” into their town, where they immediately murdered 200 people. Young Pedro ran away to the jungle again until he managed to contact his 14 nephews, one night on the coffee-plantations of Génova. They were also armed and they all had the same last name: Marín. They appointed him chief of the insurgents. The young Manuel and his nephews get organized

They managed to get some rifles, revolvers and old weapons (from The War of a Thousand Days) from the liberals who supported them. They started target practice. They were already 25 insurgents. They started looking for the leaders of the “pájaros”. After executing them, they had a confrontation with police officers and they recovered their first four rifles. After different skirmishes, Pedro Antonio Marín, always with raised fists, went to the South of Tolima.


First signs of resistance


n Gaitania, Pedro Antonio met his nephews Loaiza, who ahad also risen up. Together, they attacked the “pájaros”. They recovered their weapons, carbines, shotguns, revolvers and an old “Grass” rifle. The bourgeois army managed to infiltrate a group of 25 soldiers who introduced themselves as deserters, willing to join the resistance. The Loaiza trusted them. They were betrayed and a lot of them were shot. That’s how the “pájaros” fall

Marulanda and Gerardo Loaiza

Young Pedro Antonio Marín didn’t trust them and that’s why he escaped from certain death, becoming familiar with the thousand tricks which the oligarchy and their Armed Forces have tried to apply up until today to crush popular resistance in Colombia, like dishonest peace promises, calls for “dialogue” and other ploys used to surprise the popular resistance.


The first communist guerrillas


n this context - many years before the Cuban revolution- insurrectionary groups and guerrillas proliferated in Colombia. These were both the liberal self-defense (headed by the Loaiza, who traveled to a region called Davis), and the communists (nine groups who had been fighting since 1949 in Chaparral, Chicalá, La Marina, Irco and Horizonte). There were many attempts to get together under a unified command during 1950 in the South of Tolima, but the differences were great because of the undisciplined behaviour with which the liberals assumed the armed struggle.

Manuel and Charro become communists

Gerardo Loaiza, who was arguing with the communist guerrillas, started to call his group “clean liberals”, meaning clean of foreign, Soviet ideologies, according to him. Meanwhile, the communists called themselves the National Revolutionary Liberation Army. There were even battles between communists, “clean liberals” and young Pedro Antonio Marín’s group. Jacobo Prías Alape (known as Charro Negro) sided with Pedro Antonio Marín, who quickly differentiated himself from the “clean liberals” and joined the communists.


Pedro Antonio Marín becomes Manuel Marulanda Vélez


orking together with the communists, following a Marxist philosophy and economics course in El Davis, Pedro Antonio Marín decided to call himself Manuel Marulanda Vélez, the name that would become known to the entire world.

Manuel Marulanda, tortured to death

He took this name in honor of a communist trade union leader, who was killed following a cruel beating by wooden and iron sticks in December 1950 in the dungeons of the Colombian intelligence Service (SIC). The trade union leader was opposed to the participation of Colombian soldiers -used as cannon fodder- in the US imperialist war against Korea. Real revolutionaries never die. So the new Manuel Marulanda was reborn, re-taking the example and the name of his predecessor, at the commander school of the communist guerrilla of El Davis.


Marulanda and the Communist Party


ince his organic integration to communism, Manuel Marulanda Vélez indisputably became a leader. As a communist, he led the armed struggle for six decades in Colombia in one of the oldest political-military organizations of the continent (that formally would be called FARC-EP later on). Indisputable leader

Marulanda, as a communist leader, would have his own point of view from the beginning, but he also respected the Communist Party. By then, he had some disagreements with some of the political leaders of the CP which was a legal organization. They raised the issue of a retreat and wanted to join the proposal for demobilization launched by the government, because they wanted to avoid bloodshed in the conflict with the liberals. Jacobo Prías, who knew very well about the betrayals of the government against personalities of the agrarian struggle in the fifties, who had believed their promises, such as Guadalupe Salcedo, also warned the combatants about the traps and dangers implied in demobilization, adding that “in stormy periods the only thing you can be sure of is your rifle”.


Relationship with the Communist Party


ccording to Jacobo Prías and Manuel Marulanda, they shouldn’t surrender weapons or guerrilla fighters. While the political leadership of the CP (headed at that time by Pedro Vázquez, Martín Camargo and “Olimpo”, of the Central Committee) were inclined to make a pact with the liberals, the political-military communist forces led by Marulanda warned against the intentions of the government to crush the revolutionaries. This tension between the political leadership of the CP (almost always living in the cities, alternating between legal struggle and clandestine struggle) and the political-military communist leadership of Prías and Marulanda (always in resistance, living in the jungle and the mountains) would be repeated in the history of Colombia for decades. The FARC doesn’t fight for breadcrumbs or for alms, we fight for power


The political leadership of the CP often changed its position on the role of the armed struggle according to the situation. At moments of crude repression, they would advocate a policy of armed self-defense. But they also proposed, at relatively peaceful moments, a pacifistic self-defense, that is to say, disarmament. That ocurred during the demobilization of El Davis in 1953 and in December 1957 before the foundation of the National Front. Along history, this back-and-forth process focused on legal struggle allowed the public leaders of the CP to maintain acertain political flexibility, such as participating in elections, but at the expense of dissolving or postponing their project of taking power. On the other hand, in the case of the political-military leadership embodied by Marulanda and the FARC-EP, their permanent strategic objective was to take power. In the nineteen-nineties, trying to resolve these differences with the leaders of the legal CP, Marulanda proposed that the party hold its congress in the jungle‌The party didn’t agree.

Manuel had always greatly respected Gilberto Vieira, General Secretary of the CPC, who reaffirmed the combination of all methods of struggle


The violence of the two-party system: Liberals and Conservatives


n June 1953, welcomed by liberals and conservatives, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla took over power by force. His discourse of “no more blood, no more depredations in the name of any political party, no more fighting between sons of the same immortal Colombia…., was only demagoguery to keep control over power in the hands of the oligarchy. The deceit soon became clear when the dictator started to refer to popular protests as a plot of international communism. In June 1954, the dictator carried out a student massacre and on the Colombian countryside he unleashed military repression against Villarrica and Sumapaz, places where he met a heroic resistance from the communist agrarian movement, up in arms again. In 1957, Conservatives and Liberals came to an agreement: they would alternate power, within a capitalist, dependent framework, which was assumed to be eternal. The National Front was born, and with it, political exclusion and massacres increased. State corruption, where jobs were given away like candy between the two traditional parties became rampant. This process was is completed with persecution of the popular movements. ATTACK! Rojas Pinilla against SUMAPAZ

The first National Front administration was led by the Liberal Alberto Lleras Camargo, who proposed the “pacification” of the South of Tolima. Conversations started between the government and the guerrilla. The insurgents agreed to demobilize and distribute their properties among the combatants, but the weapons would be kept by the organization.


Manuel road-inspector


uring the period in which the communist armed movement (between December 1957 and beginning of 1960), through agreements with the government, put an end to their military activities, Manuel worked as a road inspector.

Neither salt nor water for the communists, as my father Laureano Gómez said

Álvaro Gómez

The Liberal and Conservative politicians at that time, like Darío Echandía and Álvaro Gómez Hurtado, were visceral anti-communists. Marulanda, alarmed by the hostilities of the traditional two-party system, quit his job and returned to his people, presaging new repressions.


Assassination of Jacobo Prías Alape (Charro Negro)


uring the last days of his life, Jacobo Prías Alape (Charro Negro) became the political educator inside the communist guerrilla force, while Marulanda assumed his role as main military instructor and commander of the insurgency. A similar relationship would exist later between Jacobo Arenas and Marulanda. Charro Negro was a member of the Central Committee of the CP. He was a leader who was deeply loved and respected by the popular masses. In 1960 he worked as chief of the communist agrarian movement, by that time in “peace”.

In Gaitania, Charro Negro was shot in the back on the 11th of January 1960 in the main square of his town. The crime was carried out by the paramilitary police of José María Oviedo, known as Mariachi, a killer and the leader of the “clean liberals” in collaboration with the government. The Marquetalian revolutionaries waited a long time for bourgeois justice to punish the murderers. But the judges and tribunals only pursued communists… so that’s when Marulanda organized “La Móvil”, a special force consisting of 30 combatants, who together with the self-defense forces would have the mission of participating in the resistance in Marquetalia.


Marulanda…”the fearful communist”


he Colombian two-party oligarchy’s administrations, trying to be forward-looking, started to stir the ghost, appealed to popular fear and presented Marulanda as a “fearful communist”. .

This is Tirofijo

Dirty demonization

In these years the National Security Doctrine (NSD, grandmother of the recent “democratic security”) started to take shape on a continental scale. The enemy was not outside the borders anymore, but inside the country. They were the people. Communism was being transformed into “the monster”. Some kind of middleaged demon, a slippery and gothic figure that had to be pursued anywhere like the witches of Salem. In the imaginary world of the Colombian bourgeoisie and oligarchy, who are brutally McCarthyist and repressive, Marulanda symbolizes everything the capitalist system detests, despises, hates and, last but not least, fears: ordinary people, the poor, humble workers, rebel, indocile, indomitable, impossible to coopt or buy out, arms raised against power.


Counter-insurgency and the National Security Doctrine (NSD)


n 1962, the first failed government attack with 5000 military soldiers against the peasant movement (under communist hegemony) of Marquetalia took place. Marulanda organized the defense with a deployment of fighters, among which was the remarkable Rigoberto Lozada (Joselo). To crush Marquetalia, the Colombian military prepared themselves at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in the Yankee counter-insurgency schools in the Panamá canal zone, where the National Security Doctrine was being taught. The United States “donated” 30 million dollars to the Colombian army to be used against the guerrilla, in addition to weapons and advisors. 30 millions of dollars to defeat the guerrilla

The NSD, according to which paramilitarism is used as a state’s weapon in the dirty war (counter-revolutionary war against an internal enemy), is the daughter of a large series of colonialist and terrorist experiments of the extreme right. It had been developed by the British in the Kenyan and Malaysian wars, by the French in Algeria, by the North Americans in Vietnam (an experience which they immediately tried to systemize and generalize through the School of the Americas) and also by the Nazi-specialists who escaped to South America (like Klaus Barbie, a German Nazi official who lived as a refugee in Bolivia, was also a CIA agent and advisor to the Bolivian Armed Forces). In the South, two of the main Latin American predicators of the National Security Doctrine are generals Golberty do Couto e Silva from Brazil and Osiris G. Villegas from Argentina, both of them theorists and perpetrators of state-terrorism in their countries.


From national security to democratic security


f historically the Colombian military commanders were docile spokespersons and ventriloquists of the National Security Doctrine, in the past few years they replaced that theory with a “new” and “better presented” Democratic Security Doctrine, but the terrorist and counter-insurgency essence remains the same.

God bless you and good marksmanship

Monopolies and landowners

Democratic Security

The goal was still the same: repress the people, maintain a hypothesis of a conflict in which the internal popular sectors -urban workers, poor peasants, students, sympathizing priests, class trade unions, independent journalists, afro-Colombian leaders, feminist militants- are “the enemy”. A clear strategy of counter-insurgency in defense of the big monopolies, the big companies, the big landowners and a blind obedience to the Pentagon and Washington policies.


Yankee intervention in Marquetalia


he US Pentagon, applying and carrying out the National Security Doctrine, elaborated several counter-insurgency plans in Colombia (and in the rest of Latin America). One of them wass Plan LASO (Latin American Security Operation), destined to the poor peasant communities and the agrarian movement of Marquetalia, which by then were called “independent republics” to give them a dubious aura and be better able to crush them. Conservative senator Álvaro Gómez Hurtado was responsible for this McCarthyist concept. At the same time, the United States intervened in different countries of the continent, for example, the Playa Girón invasion of Cuba (1961) or the Dominican Republic (1965). I hope this plan’s not going to fail as the other ones did

After Plan LASO, frustrated thanks to popular and guerrilla resistance, the Yankees and the Colombian army continued with other, similar plans: The Sonora Operation (in the Central Mountain range), the Casa Verde Operation, the Destructor I and Destructor II Operations, Plan Colombia and Plan Patriota. These last ones, in operation today, are just the continuation of the old (and frustrated) counter-insurgency plans. The old and disastrous National Security Doctrine, now called “Democratic” is still in force.


The close friendship between Manuel and Jacobo Arenas


n 1964, some time before the cruel repression in Marquetalia started, Marulanda welcomed Jacobo Arenas and Hernando González Acosta with open arms. Both of them were sent from Bogotá by the Communist Party to join the guerrilla. They brought a report of the Central Committee of the CP in which they announced that the army’s attack would start precisely in Marquetalia. Marulanda received them with these famous words: “With your company, war won’t be that tough anymore”. Jacobo Arenas would be the great communist political leader until his death. He strengthened even more the political and ideological guidelines of the insurgency, under Marulanda’s political-military communist leadership. It’s no coincidence that different governmental administrations have offered large amounts of money for the heads of these popular leaders.

Jacobo Arenas

Recalling, Jacobo Arenas said: “Guillermo León Valencia initiated the war against the peasants of Marquetalia, I was chosen, from a political point-of-view, to lead this movement which was going to resist the military aggression”. Later on, he wrote his stories down in his Chronicle of Marquetalia’s Resistance. From that moment on, Jacobo Arenas would be Marulanda’s best companion. They fought together for 25 years. Marulanda had a silent, observant and introverted character; by contrast, Jacobo was a more extroverted person. Like Zapata and Villa in the Mexican Revolution, or Fidel and Che in the Cuban revolution, Marulanda and Jacobo became two of the most important leaders of the Colombian revolution.


Jacobo Arenas’ personality


omandante Jacobo Arenas’ real name was Luis Alberto Morantes Jaimes. He was born in Bucaramanga in January 1924 (he was older than Marulanda) and he died in La Uribe on the 10th of August 1990. He had eight brothers. His parents were Basilio Morantes Oviedo and María Ana Rosa Jaimes Zabala. His father had some properties in the countryside and some cattle, without being a real cattle breeder. Young Jacobo Arenas, since childhood, was used to a worker’s life, taking care of his sisters and helping his father. But later he admitted: “I am from the city, violence made me move to the countryside, contrary to what happened to the majority of Colombian peasants”. Boy, today you have to close in the calves

Morantes’ father

Before joining the guerrilla, he worked as a communist leader of the legal party in the cities, particularly in Bogotá. His political roots were liberal: he became president of the Liberal Youth Federation of Santander. Then, he became a communist leader and joined the Central Committee of the CP. Young Jacobo also worked as a factory worker in Gavassa, Santander and participated in organizing petroleum workers at the time of the Bogotazo. He studied until fifth grade and then he studied journalism. For some years he was an editor of the communist newspaper “Voz Proletaria”. He traveled to the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Cuba and Argentina. In an self-taught way, he became a Marxist revolutionary leader and thinker.


Jacobo…”the FARC-EP’s ideological leader”


nce in the guerrilla, Jacobo Arenas worked on the consolidation of the revolutionary organization led by Marulanda. As a co-founder of the FARC, he gave political-military classes in Marxist philosophy, the history of capitalism, revolutionary theory and Colombian history. He wrote the historical “Agrarian Program of the guerrilla fighters”, proclaimed on the 20th of July 1964.



If the agrarian program of 1964 was addressed to the peasants in particular, who are the majority in the guerrilla, in May 1982, the development of the insurgency allowed the Seventh National Guerrilla Conference to outline the Strategic Plan, which projected a political-military advance of the FARC-EP towards the big cities where 70% of the Colombian population lives. To spread knowledge about the dynamics of this movement, Jacobo Arenas wrote books like “Cese el fuego”(Ceasefire) , “Vicisitudes del proceso de paz” (Peace Process Vicissitudes) , “Correspondencia secreta del proceso de paz” (Secret Correspondence of the Peace Process) , “Paz amigos y enemigos”(Friends and Enemies of Peace).


Marquetalia: David versus Goliath


he armed resistance and its self-defense exercised popular sovereignty in different rural areas such as Riochiquito, El Pato, Guayabero, Sumapaz and Marquetalia. The government and the North Americans refered to these agrarian settlements as “independent communist republics”, which would be dividing the country; only to justify their repression and the annihilation of the peasants. In 1962, Conservative president Guillermo León Valencia launched a 5000 men military operation against Marquetalia. It was a fiasco. David versus Goliath

Marquetalia 1962

The Central Command of the guerrilla force that confronted the Colombian army’s offensive (advised and armed by the US) consisted of Marulanda, Isaías Pardo, Tula Pardo, Darío Lozano, Jaime Guaracas, Joselo, Eduardo, Lozada, Chucho Nazareno y Rogelio Díaz. The resistance replied immediately. On the 17th of April 1964, a new and even bigger military attack on Marquetalia began. The first battle was on the 27th of May 1964 in Floresta near a river called Atá. It was carried out by a guerrilla led by Joselo. The second battle took place on Saturday the 30th of May 1964 in La Suiza, carried out by a guerrilla led by Isaías Pardo. While the army conducted an official ceremony on the 18th of June for president León Valencia, where they pompously declared “Marquetalia to be free of bandits”…. Isaías Pardo commanded an ambush in which 25 soldiers died and the guerrilla recovered a M-3 machinegun and a .30.


Marquetalia in Latin American history


hile the government employed 16,000 soldiers in the offensive, Marulanda resisted with only 48 guerrilla -men and -women, escaping without any problems. That’s how he marked a new milestone in the history of Latin American revolution. Marulanda’s heroic resistance in Marquetalia paralels the Sandinista guerrilla experience against the Yankees, the Salvadoran insurrection led by Farabundo Martí, the rebellion led By Luis Carlos Prestes in Brazil and Fidel Castro’s assault on the Moncada Barracks.

Heroic Resistance

The Marquetalian resistance marked a turning point in Colombia’s history and opened a new period of war.


Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir about Marquetalia


he public accusations made by the peasants of Marquetalia had a broad international and national impact. It confirmed the government’s attempts at annihilation. The impact was so powerful that a group of French intellectuals, among them Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Jacques Duelosen wrote an open letter to the Colombian government, expressing their solidarity with the resistance. They protested against the dominant classes of the country and called for an immediate end to aggressions. The Marquetalia repression is monstrous. All our solidarity for the rebels!

Regarding the situation, Marulanda made clear in his book Cuadernos de Campaña (Campaign Notebooks): “We have received great solidarity from different tendencies in the revolutionary movement. Solidarity, sometimes expressed in a material way, in the same mass struggle everywhere and on different levels; morally, because many men, women and organizations share the ideals defended by the guerrilla fighters; economically, in the concrete help of the masses to the armed fighters struggle. Our struggle is just, first, because our guerrilla emerged as an answer to the aggression against the peasants and secondly, because the cause we defend is the cause of the exploited….”


Marquetalia polarizes social contradictions


n the name of institutions, colonel Currea Cubides said that the Marquetalian peasants “have to be crushed and the law will judge them”. He added, in a threatening way, that “the ones who defend, organize and sustain the self-defense organizations are defending and sustaining organizations against progress, peace, the legitimate authorities and constitutional order”. However, the voices against the aggression were growing stronger.


er Gust avo Pér ez G Presbyt erardo Moli Ramírez n e r a Cam Monsig nor Ge ilo Torres Re rmá stre Orland n Guzmán C po o ampos Fals Hernan do Gar Borda avit Eduard o Uma o Muñoz ña Lun a

A group of priests, university professors and liberal politicians, in an open letter to the Minister of War, General Ruiz Novoa, set forth the necessity for dialogue with the peasants, instead of undertaking military attacks against them. Besides, they proposed organizing a commission to be present in the areas of conflict which could evaluate the needs of the population and propose solutions to their social problems. Among these people were: Presbyter Gustavo Pérez Ramírez, Gerardo Molina, Presbyter Camilo Torres Restrepo, Monsignor Germán Guzmán Campos, Orlando Fals Borda, Hernando Garavito Muñoz, Eduardo Umaña Luna.


Historian Eric Hobsbawm on the FARC


illing to investigate different types of rural rebellions, the famous British communist historian Hobsbawm visited Colombia in the sixties, in the period of the repression against Marquetalia. For the record, he wrote his analysis about Colombia in different books which are classics in history today.

In Colombia, the biggest peasant mobilization of the whole occidental hemisphere is taking place

Eric Hobsbawm


The FARC’s roots


n the 27th of May 1964, within the context of the governmental military operation against Marquetalia, the first battle on land was carried out. This symbolized the FARC’s foundation. During battles in the San Miguel canyon, Isaías Pardo was killed. After his death, the Central Command, which was settled in Riochiquito, evaluated the situation and prepared the SouthBlock Conference, an organic antecedent of what later would be the FARC. Years later, in memory of that brave guerrilla, the order of Isaías Pardo would be created, in honor of his courage in combat. Ciro and Hernando González

On the 20th of July 1964, the assembly of the newborn guerrilla movement analyzed the attack on Marquetalia and planned the struggle’s future in the historical Agrarian Program of the guerrilla fighters. At the end of the next year, 1965, the first Conference of the South Block took place in Riochiquito, with 100 combatants. The general orientation by Marulanda pointed to a big unification of the Central Commands so that the guerrilla could cover more than the initial core which had fought in Marquetalia. The 23rd of September of that same year, Hernando González Acosta, a student of the Free University and member of the Communist Youth, died in combat in Riochiquito. Marulanda honored this commander, naming the most important school for commanders of the FARC-EP after him, as he would also designate Isaías Pardo’s name to his column. The FARC always renders tribute to those fallen in combat.


Agrarian Program of the guerrilla-fighters


he Agrarian Program, written in the heat of battle, formulated a series of measures aimed at attacking the structural bases of violence in Colombia; that is to say, the concentration of land in hands of the oligarchy and the repression unleashed by them to maintain their privileges.

Land owners

The insurgency speaks to the peasants, workers, and different social sectors, including sections of the national bourgeoisie who are willing to fight against imperialism, to invite them to start a revolutionary and patriotic struggle to establish a democratic government of national liberation.


The Communist Party and the problem of power


n the previous writings for the Tenth Congress of the PC, there was a debate about power. Jacobo Arenas intervened. In his theses, he defended the guerrilla’s points of view and he made clear that the insurgency was not an instrument of pressure to negotiate with the existing political power but for the seizure of power.

The political guidelines of the Tenth Congress of the Communist Party made clear that “…guerrilla warfare is one of the most sublime methods of mass struggle…”.


The FARC is born


y the end of 1965, the first Guerrilla Conference took place, with guerrilla fighters from Marquetalia, Riochiquito, El Pato, Guayabero and 26 de Septiembre. The movement was called Bloque Sur (South Block), referring to its geographical location in the South of Tolima and between the borders of the Huila, Cauca and Valle. At the end of 1966, the Second Conference took place, with the participation of 250 combatants in the area of Duda. This was the so-called “constituent conference”, because the movement’s name was now changed into FARC. Jacobo Arenas explained that for the first time, the guerrilla movement “was undertaking a long-term struggle for taking power, together with the working class and all the working people.” Answer to the aggression

Considering the situation in his Campaign Notebooks, Marulanda insisted on the fact that “our decision to take up weapons was just. First, because our guerrillas emerged as a response to aggression against the peasants and, further, because the causes we defend are the causes of the exploited. Our objectives were always based on the fundamental needs of the peasants and workers. We are part of the national liberation of our homeland. We are guided by a revolutionary ideology and our political beacon is the theory of scientific socialism and practical communist activity”.


FARC: the organization of a national insurgency


hen the FARC was created, it approved some internal regulations. The “artisanal� period of the FARC was past, in which the guerrilla responded with arms to the aggression of the oligarchy targeting the peasants in specific areas. Then it became an organization prepared for a long-term confrontation with national impact aimed at the taking of power.

Setting out the route

The insurgency then acquired an organic structure. It formulated its political-military line in a much clearer way. It planned the takeover of new areas until covering the entire nation. This new organization allowed the insurgency to set limits on and to plan every territorial area for each detachment. Operational plans were being carried out. It was not only about fighting in self-defense, it was also about taking the offensive. The plans allowed for taking the initiative, planning encounters, proposing the seizure of power (that’s what the strategy is all about) and forcing the army to engage in combat in areas chosen by the guerrilla.


A new period opened by the Cuban revolution


ith the triumph of the Cuban revolution, the first socialist revolution of national liberation to triumph in the West, a new historical period began. Although the Colombian insurgency was born more than a decade before the Cuban revolution, the triumphal entry of the rebel army in Havana had a transcendent impact. It showed the popular movements of the continent (and the US empire) that repressive apparatuses were not invincible, that people in suitable circumstances could take power if they were willing to fight and have a clear strategy and organization. The consequences of the Cuban revolution spread over the entire continent, including Colombia and the United States (where political-military insurgencies arose, like the Black Panther Party or the armed group the Weather Underground, which derived from the student movement against the Vietnam war). We have to turn it off! It illuminates Latin America!

En his “Message to the people of the world through the Tricontinental” Che Guevara, one of the two main leaders of the Cuban revolution, described the continental viewpoint of the insurgent struggle. He mentioned Marulanda explicitly. Marulanda, when asked whom he admired, said: Nobody, but if I had to choose I’d say Fidel”. Jacobo Arenas, to defend himself from press attacks, declared: “We are in different situations, but I say, as Fidel did: History will absolve me”. Both revolutions, the Cuban and the Colombian, have pursued and still pursue the same goals: liberation and socialism.


Other guerrilla-movements are born


ith the worsening of the social contradictions and under the influence of the Cuban revolution, other guerrilla organizations started to proliferate in Colombia, together with the insurgency led by Manuel Marulanda Vélez. Among the most important was the National Liberation Army, which was born in 1964, originally of Marxist-Leninist inspiration and affinity with the Cuban revolution, such as the Peasant Student Worker Movement (MOEC, in Spanish). In 1967, the Popular Liberation Army (EPL in Spanish) was born, with its strategy of longterm peoples’ war and of Maoist influence. Later on, the 19th of April Movement (M-19) was born, principally of a populist orientation and centered on big actions with great media impact. There were also the PRT, the Quintín Lame and the Autodefensa Obrera (Workers Self-defense).

Carrot-and-stick reforms, oligarchic policy against the people. The Colombian state, directed by the Pentagon, has used an ambiguous policy against the different insurgent groups: savage, genocide and terrorist repression on the one hand and the attempt to cooptation, demobilization and obtain surrender on the other. Carrot-and-stick policies. The state’s objective, independent of the different administrations or situations, has always been to get back to a “normal” political life, that is to say, to exploitation without ups and downs, without rebelliousness, with quiet, docile and obedient people. Inspired by Marulanda’s teachings, the FARC-EP rejected the state’s goals; they didn’t accept the deceitful carrot. They refused to demobilize, surrender or give up arms in exchange for some institutional jobs.


The Sino-Soviet conflict: the family is being divided During the nineteen-sixties, when anti-imperialist struggle became wide-spread, the two main powers who were trying to construct socialism began a ferocious, fratricidal dispute. The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), led by Mao Zedong, broke off relations with the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), by than under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev. This political-ideological rupture encompossed the entire socialist and communist world, dividing many revolutionary parties.

The China - USSR rupture

Although during this controversy, the Colombian Communist Party felt some sympathy for the Soviet position, the FARC had an independent point of view and respected every revolutionary process. During those years, the CPSU and its followers all over the world advocated “pacific coexistence” with imperialism and the possibility of achieving socialism without civil war, without the seizure of power and through a so-called “peaceful transition” (the experiment Salvador Allende attempted in Chile with the “Chilean road to socialism”, which didn’t work out). In those times….the FARC continued to fight.


Vietnam and Algeria: the Third World plays its role


n the nineteen-sixties, the insurgent struggle wasn’t limited to Colombia, Cuba, and Latin America. In Africa and Asia, the popular insurgent, anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist resistance grew stronger as well. The revolution led by the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria triumphed in 1962. The savage French colonial military, which applied a regime of terror, rape and massive torture, was defeated. Meanwhile, in Asia, the Vietnamese revolution advanced, defeating first Japanese imperialism, then French imperialism and finally North American genocidal imperialism (which massacred four million Vietnamese people).

Colonialism defeated

The Colombian revolution was a fundamental and central piece of this self-sacrificing and heroic struggle of the Third World to reach a common destiny, without exploitation or humiliation, without colonialism or dependency, but with national sovereignty, a decent life and a new socialist society.


Camilo Torres and revolutionary Christianity


s part of the wide-spread rebellion in Colombia, a political figure appeared and soon became an international inspiration: Camilo Torres Restrepo, Catholic priest and sociologist. Camilo called for Colombian revolutionary unity. He practiced Christianity from a popular and revolutionary point of view, disobeying the conservative hierarchy of the Vatican. He won a lot of sympathy throughout the continent. On July 27, 1965, the priest said his last mass and joined the armed struggle. He died in combat as a guerrilla priest of the ELN on the 15th of February 1966.

Camilo Torres

In the FARC, there are many Christian combatants. Liberation Theology is actually being spread throughout the continent. The US, in its Santa Fe documents, classify that theology as a “subversive enemy”, together with the FARC-EP, Antonio Gramsci, Simón Bolívar and the different social rebel movements.


Religion in the FARC


he FARC-EP, as a political-military revolutionary organization inspired by Marx and Lenin, share a vision of the world and of life which is supported by the materialist conception of history and the philosophy of praxis. From this point of view, it analyzes Colombian society, its project of a new society, a new subjectivity and daily life. Hence the organization is based on Marxism, not on religion. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no room for Christian militants (or other religions) in the FARC-EP. The symbol of Camilo Torres Restrepo today permeates the message of revolutionary Christianity in Latin America. For example, one of the FARC-EP comandantes, also named Camilo, had spent his entire life as a priest.

Conspiring against the people

FARC Comandante Camilo remembered: “I was an ordered priest and I started to work with the poor. So, here in Colombia, when you organize the people socially, politically, economically or culturally and try to help the people…you have to run away. That happened with me. Repression is coming! So that’s when I understood the message sent to me by the FARC: - You are worthmore alive, than dead…. That’s to say, - You can get out of the jungle, but from your tomb you’ll never leave…! When I join the guerrilla, I take my bible and all this priestly stuff with me, I say mass and I say that the Bible smells like gunpowder. Yes, because the Bible has a revolutionary point of view, too! I remember the prophet Ezequiel who says: - There’s going to be a moment when the peasants will have to change their pruning hooks into swords to get rid of injustice-”.


1967, Che Guevara murdered in Bolivia

Manuel, I hope you won’t forget about my struggle and my communist ideas. I wouldn’t like to be changed into a poster


Don’t worry, Ernesto, the FARC will keep on fighting for your ideals. Every 8th of October, our guerrilla will remember you as one of us. We won’t forget your strategy of creating two, three, many Vietnams

A severe blow to Ciro Trujillo


n spite of the improved operational organization of the FARC, in the late nineteen-sixties it suffered a big loss. Ciro Trujillo, (the second leader of the FARC after Marulanda), disobeying the plans for operating in mobile detachments, concentrated hundreds of combatants in Quindío. It’s a big mistake to operate alone, in every sense

The army detected the concentration (which was unnecessary and unjustified) of the guerrilla fighters and attacked. The insurgents retreated in a disorganized way, without previous planning, provoking an important loss of combatants and 70% of their weapons. “Ciro Trujillo was a good leader and a courageous and brave man, but he didn’t have a clear idea about mobile guerrilla tactics”, underlined Jacobo Arenas.


The FARC conferences and Marulanda’s strategy


arulanda tried to rebuild the insurgency from the loss of Ciro’s forces. To do so, Marulanda organized the Third FARC Conference in the Guayabero area in 1968. Mistakes like the ones made by Ciro Trujillo in Quindío were, according to Marulanda, “the practice of a guerrilla that has become too liberal…that doesn’t satisfy the guidelines of a mobile and very clandestine guerrilla”.

If we don’t analyze the steps we have to take, we act blindly

The Conference was trying to find solutions. Therefore, Marulanda insisted on the need to build and apply a strategy (a strategic plan) and to combine specific tactics according to this plan. The strategy is a long-term perspective, while the tactics have to do with short-term goals. Strategy outlines the general guidelines of the road we have to take, tactics are the circumstantial changes that correspond to every specific moment, to every particular situation.


Clausewitz and Lenin: What is a strategy about?


arl Philipp Gottlieb von Clausewitz (1780-1831) was a Prussian military figure who wrote a famous book “On war”. In this book he analyzed armed conflict from a theoretical point of view, combining tactics, strategy and philosophy. Clausewitz came to two main conclusions: 1. War is the continuation and prolongation of politics by other violent means. Politics should guide war, not the other way around. 2. Strategy is the distribution of confrontations in time and space. It is not convenient to fight at any time or place. To have and to keep on having a successful strategy implies fighting at the right moment and place to be able to defeat the enemy.

Although Clausewitz was neither a revolutionary nor a socialist, the teachings of his book “On war” have been very useful to the worldwide revolutionary movement. Lenin (pseudonym of Vladimir Illich Ulianov, 1870-1924), for example, studied in detail every work of Clausewitz in 1915, during the First World War. That’s how he learned about the need to have a correct strategy, to be able to triumph in the revolutionary struggle. If there exists a strategy, you don’t fight because of anger or on impulse (for example, as a reaction to a murder), but you struggle according to a plan.


Lenin about guerrilla warfare


n his multiple writings, Lenin taught how to organize the revolutionary struggle. His work consisted of dozens of books. Among these, one is specifically about guerrilla warfare strategy. He wrote it in 1906.

Lenin: guide of Revolutionary people

There, Lenin dealt with different problems and formulated a series of theses: 1. When there is social conflict, class struggle and violent social confrontations between the millionaire exploiters and the exploited workers (civil war), the revolutionaries who have been organized in a political party shouldn’t condemn rebelliousness and the peoples’ violence. They have to lead this rebelliousness and transform their political party into a combative party; 2. The revolutionaries should have a strategy which combines all methods of struggle; the guerrilla is one of the most important; 3. Armed struggle is the continuation of a political project by other means; 4. Without strategy you can’t win; 5. In a political atmosphere of repression by the dominant class, to be limited only to legal struggle is to commit suicide.


Manuel, the strategist


ne of the main contributions left by Manuel Marulanda to Colombian and Latin American popular movements is having emphasized the problem of strategy so strongly. Marulanda was not only the maximum leader and symbol of the Colombian revolution; he was also its maximum strategist.

Outstanding disciple of Lenin

His strategy, which guides the political and military activity of the FARC, consists in combining all methods of struggle, from legal to clandestine work, from demanding struggle to the construction of the revolutionary army of the people. Combining the urban insurrection and the popular uprising in the big cities with the armed insurgent action in the countryside and the rural areas. In the specific case of the rural guerrilla force, and considering experiences such as the blow against Ciro Trujillo, Manuel insisted on the need to be guided by the tactic of mobile guerrilla warfare.


Manuel and the struggle for hegemony


ccording to Marulanda’s political strategy, it is fundamental to break the insurgency’s isolation, to divide the enemy and to construct its own alliances (in and outside of Colombia) to be most efficient.

“The worst of all things is political isolation” (Manuel M.)

To explain this concept, Marulanda affirmed: “We have been fighting for a lot of years. We’ve had to run away many times. I won’t mention the problems. Men were made to face problems. Well, we’ve taken a lot of blows, but we have also had a lot of victories. But I think we’ve had one enemy, the worst of all enemies. You know which one…? I’m not talking about the army, I’m not talking about the “pájaros”, or the clean liberals. I’m talking about the isolation of our struggle, which is worse than being hungry for an entire week”.


1968, the year of worldwide rebellion


n 1968, while the FARC tried to get over the blow against Comandante Ciro Trujillo, consolidating, growing and developing a mobile guerrilla warfare tactic, the world was going through a large-scale series of convulsions. In Mexico, the government massacred the student movement; in only one night they killed between 400 and 500 students in the Tlatelolco Square. In Europe, youth indiscipline and protests against capitalism were also generalized. The student uprising in Paris in May 1968 had an international resonance and impact, as did the actions of the most radical wing of this movement in West Germany where seeds of political-military organizations appeared, attacking North American military bases. Something similar occured in Italy, Japan and even in the United States. The Basque independence movement also played an important role, especially the libertarian struggle of the ETA armed movement, which emerged during Franco’s dictatorship. In all those developed, capitalist countries there appeared insurgent guerrilla nuclei (basically urban). PREVENTIVE WAR


Kill him before he grows up

Meanwhile, in Colombia, the Third FARC Conference was taking place in Guayabero. The insurgency created the school of ideological education and underlined the importance of studying “preventive war” and “prolonged war”. In the area of Magdalena Medio, the seed of the FARC’s Fourth Front grew stronger. The guerrilla was consolidating its positions.


The FARC as a guerrilla of national impact


n 1970 the FARC’s Fourth Conference took place. The political-military force was then structured into guerrilla Fronts, which grew steadily until they covered the whole national territory.

Arrest them!

Those were times when the guerrilla limited itself to selfdefense in peasant areas. Marulanda’s strategy -a long-term plan- was about engaging the bourgeois state, the oligarchy and the big foreign corporations which acted on the idea of “not allowing another Cuba to rise on the continent”. The insurgency confronted when they had to, but they avoided the conflict when the correlation of forces was not favorable for them.


The guerrilla grows in the middle of a worldwide crisis


uring the nineteen-seventies, as a product of social decay and the rebellions of the sixties, capitalism was going through a worldwide crisis of great proportions. Petroleum prices were rising, inflation became widespread and the model of “social order” imposed by the West after the Second World War was entering into crisis as well. The world’s big capitalists responded to this crisis and this social breakdown by attacking the workers (for example reducing health and education expenditure and ignoring labor rights) and also striking at the Third World’s national liberation movements. ECONOMIC CRISIS

In this atmosphere of economic crisis and the worldwide capitalist reaction to it, in 1974 the FARC organized its Fifth Conference. It took place in Meta. Marulanda came to the conclusion that, at that moment, the insurgency had already recovered from the big blow against the troops of Comandante Ciro Trujillo in 1966. This evaluation reviewed the fruits of the guerrilla’s work, trying to construct and strengthen the Fronts. By then, the conditions to create the Fifth Front were ready. The Fourth Front was already operating in Magdalena Medio. In Cauca and Valle, Comandante Manuel, by 1973, had succeeded in evading an attempt at annihilation called “Operation Sonora”. Therefore, he strictly applied the principles of mobile guerrilla warfare. Afterwards, he and his combatants immediately went to the Central Mountain range to sow the seeds of the Sixth Front.


Crisis of capitalism, neoliberalism and global counterinsurgency


n this international context of economic crisis, inflation and the reaction of the big multinationals, the IMF and the World Bank to it, neoliberalism was born as an answer and as a strategic project of the capitalists against the peoples of the world. The first neoliberal experiment in the world was applied in Chile, on the 11th of September 1973, with the bloody military coup by General Augusto Pinochet and the economic recipes of Milton Friedman (Professor at the University of Chicago, the father of neoliberalism).

Milton Friedman, a metaphysical murderer of people

From that moment on, military coups became widespread all over the continent. They weren’t the consequence of three drunken, crazy and authoritarian generals. They were part of a global strategy -very carefully thought and planned- of big capital which tried to overcome the crisis rising its iron fist against the people. Their main instruments were the US military industry, the Pentagon, the CIA, the School of the Americas and a series of torturers who applied the National Security Doctrine (NSD) to impose neo-liberal economic recipes. In Colombia, the insurgency, in particular the FARC, resisted this global imperialist project. It understood perfectly well that without having the weapons in its own hands, any attempt to establish social justice would be in vain.


Chile’s teachings

Manuel, our experience in Chile shows that you can’t trust either the bourgeoisie or imperialism. When they talk about “peace”… they are preparing themselves for making war! To become president is not the same as the taking of power Salvador, my brother, in Colombia they have told us so many times to abandon the armed struggle and to limit ourselves to the electoral, constitutional and legal way


Vietnam and other resistance to capitalism


mperialism managed to generalize its counterinsurgency doctrine through blood, torture and death to impose the privatizing recipes of neo-liberalism (whose main dogma consists of reducing the workers salaries to “reduce inflation”…). In spite of this fact, the peoples’ resistance continued. And not only in Colombia.

Yankee’s defeat in Vietnam

While the FARC insurgency was expanding all over Colombia, gaining more and more areas of influence and creating civil support bases through its political work with different social sectors, in other parts of the world, the struggle continued. In Asia, for example, in 1975, the Vietnamese insurgency led by the National Liberation Front of the South, together with the leadership of Ho Chi Minh in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, managed to win the war and to expell the North Americans (who left behind 4 million massacred Vietnamese). In Africa, the Popular Liberation Movement of Angola triumphed over the Portuguese colonialist troops. In Portugal, the fascist dictatorship was defeated through the “Carnation Revolution” in 1974. In 1975, Dictator Francisco Franco died in Spain, while the insurgency of the Basque people continued its struggle for freedom.


The Sixth Conference in 1978


n spite of the neo-liberal climate on a continental and worldwide scale, the social force and the political prestige of Manuel Marulanda continued growing. When the Sixth Conference was taking place, the FARC already had 1000 combatants and 120 comandantes. The Front’s High Commands were created as was the Secretariat (a collective leadership which gives political and military guidelines to the Central High Command, between Conferences).

The FARC- Secretariat

In the Sixth Conference the internal life of the FARC was being regulated. They created a) organizational statutes, b) a disciplinary regime and c) the internal norms of command. All these measures resulted in a better organic life for this politicalmilitary force. Only if you totally ignore all these organizational components, -largely discussed in every Conference, which is kind of a Party Congress- could anyone call this revolutionary army a “band of robbers” or a “gang of bandits”. What kind of criminal band would organize periodic congresses to debate and Conferences to discuss its political guidelines?


In the middle of the storm, the Sandinista revolution triumphs


n an overall context of counterrevolution, with the establishment of neo-liberalism in England (under Margaret Thatcher) and soon in the US (under Ronald Reagan), with military dictatorships, forced disappearances of people and military coups… in Nicaragua, the Sandinista guerrilla triumphed. After a prolonged guerrilla war, the three tendencies which had led the process, unified into the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), and were able to defeat the cruel dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. Their insurgent troops triumphantly entered Managua on the 19th of July of 1979. Gringo Narco-Terrorist

Immediately the North Americans organized counterrevolution from Honduras. Toward that objective, they used money from the illegal sale of weapons and, above all, from drug trafficking (yes, from drug trafficking…the same ones who later on would accuse the FARC, isn’t that cynical?) Some Argentinean militarists, specialists in torture and counter-insurgency, helped the Yankees in their fight against the Sandinistas. (The Argentinean militarists worked with the CIA until 1982 when the Malvinas Islands war [Falklands] between England and Argentina. As the US supported England, the Argentinean torturers took their hands off the dirty work in Honduras against the Sandinistas).


Civil war and revolution in El Salvador


ncouraged by the Sandinista triumph, the Salvadoran revolutionaries advanced in their struggle for revolution in this little country, a neighbor of Nicaragua. Five Parties and revolutionary organizations joined together and adopted the name Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). The Colombian FARC felt deep sympathy for those revolutionaries.


Farabundo Martí

As in Nicaragua, the North Americans tried to stop and crush the Salvadoran revolution in a thousand ways. As a consequence, they left a big mountain of disappeared, tortured, kidnapped and murdered people along the way. Of course, always in the name of “freedom”, “democracy” and “pluralism”. Finally they succeeded in preventing the FMLN’s triumph.


The external debt crisis


y the beginning of the nineteen-eighties, the international foreign debt crisis erupted in Latin America. All the “remaining capital” obtained by the petroleum-producing countries after the per-barrel price increase in the nineteenseventies, were deposited in US banks. There was a lot of money “left” in the market. Where to put it? They lent it to Latin American countries at high interest rates (which were impossible to pay), and decapitalized them. Why did these Latin American countries contract those irrational debts? Because the majority of them were governed by military dictatorships subordinate to Washington with neo-liberal economics ministers educated in the Chicago school. As the debts were impossible to pay (and uncollectible), the US, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World bank (WB) began to demand national companies and natural resources from the underdeveloped countries in exchange for these fraudulent loans.

Accomplice of crime

In the middle of this economic and political crisis, which made the entire Latin American region stagger, the Colombian economy and state became strongly impregnated by drug-traffickingcapital and other black market sectors. Confronting this mafia state, the FARC, as always, kept on working on its long-term strategic plan. From the 4th to the 14th of May 1982 it organized its Seventh Conference in Guayabero. That’s where itestablished its Strategic Plan for the seizure of power and the Colombian revolution.


Strategic plan of the FARC


hen they elaborated, discussed and approved the strategic plan for the Colombian revolution, Manuel Marulanda and the FARC clearly specified that the insurgency’s main objective was the seizure of power. It was not about the defense of some rural areas, or about using the confrontation as some kind of “pressure vehicle” to negotiate and obtain any electoral positions, it was about the seizure of power. For a new Colombia

How did Marulanda and his comrades imagine and plan the seizure of power? Through two possible ways which don’t have to be necessarily separated. a) Through the armed way and the armed struggle, or b) Through the vehicle of political alliances. This is the combination of the two paths outlined by the Conference and the Strategic Plan which the Central High Command’s meeting of 1989 would call the “Bolivarian Campaign for the New Colombia”.


Power: Tension and nuances between the FARC and the legal Communist Party (PC)


rom the beginning, the FARC was born with an historical linkage to the Communist Party, in ideological, political and organic terms. The Colombian Communist Party has always been heroic, pursued, very selfless and closely bonded with social struggles. However, they haven’t always been very clear about the issue of power. Many times they preferred electoral-parliamentary participation and they perceived the FARC insurgency, explicitly or implicitly, as a political pressure instrument to obtain more political and electoral breathing space from the Colombian oligarchy.

Manuel Marulanda Vélez, together with Jacobo Arenas and other communist leaders, was always convinced of communism as a political guideline to follow, being one of its main leaders and active promoters. But, according to his political analysis of the Colombian situation, the insurgency and the armed struggle weren’t conceived as external “pressure instruments” to expand the electoral system, but as a central element of a strategic project for the seizure of power (of course, without abandoning the possibility of electoral participation in certain circumstances).


The denomination FARC-EP (Army of the People)


ith the Strategic Plan, Marulanda promoted a New Operative Mode as part of the development of the armed struggle. Jacobo Arenas explained: “We are an ideological guerrilla force. We are waging an irregular war and the bigger the guerrilla and the FARC grow, the more irregular we will be�. This New Operative Mode, that applies the mobile guerrilla warfare principles, emphasizes more the offensive practice than the defensive one, through the application of harassment, assault and defeat of the enemy troops, emphasizing intelligence and planning.

With aspirations to power

The FARC sees itself as the army of all the people, and from the perspective of political and military development, it added the acronym EP (Army of the People) to its name. In this way, they underlined the fact that the guerrilla was not a self-defense force anymore (as it originally had been), but a revolutionary, patriotic and Bolivarian army, with national impact and with aspirations to power.


The FARC-EP hymn For justice and truth together with the people On the first dawn came up this little song Which was born in our guerrilla voices of struggle and future With Bolívar, Galán is riding horse again No more crying, no more pain for our nation We are people who go after freedom Constructing the path of peace Guerrilla fighters of the FARC to triumph with the people For the nation, land and bread Guerrilla fighters of the FARC with your voices united You will reach freedom! Secular oppression still wants to silence the feelings of the workers Compañeros raise the peace banner and the holy rights of the people You can already feel the end of the empire with the embrace of the entire America Peace and happiness for the people the future will be socialist Guerrilla fighters of the FARC to triumph with the people For the nation, land and bread Guerrilla fighters of the FARC with your voices united You will reach freedom!


FARC-EP: a communist guerrilla


olombian military intelligence, and their advisors from the CIA and the Israeli Mossad, try to present the FARC as social scum, a mafia band of gangsters and drug traffickers. They are no band of outlaws and delinquents, without ideology or principles; neither are they an irrational armed group, guided by the desire for gunpowder and adrenaline (as in a Hollywood movie). Contrary to all these slanders, the statutes of the FARC -which are compulsory for any combatant, risking punishment if you don’t obey them- define precisely correct behavior in war. You are our outstanding disciples

Colombian Military Intelligence 4 When the FARC-EP discussed and finally approved its statutes, it proposed not only a quantitative, but also and mainly a qualitative consolidation of the revolutionary organization. In the statutes, they formulate the profound ideological foundation which guides the political-military struggle in Colombia. Together with the ideological guidelines which are inspired by Bolívar and Marulanda, Marx and Lenin, the insurgency’s statutes also define the organization’s structure, its internal functioning through political cells (the FARC as an armed communist political party), and also the combatant’s rights and duties so that any abuses or acts of indiscipline can be avoided.


Rules of the FARC: a general norm for the insurgency


n different historical experiences, the worldwide revolutionary camp has discussed the way to develop revolutionary war. For example, in Europe, in the thirties, during the Spanish Civil War, there was a lot of discussion by the Republicans over whether or not the military guerrilla forces should follow discipline and point toward the construction of a revolutionary army or, if they should operate in a decentralized and horizontal manner. A lot of other social processes argue about this problem repeatedly. In the Colombian case, the FARC thinks that the long-term war-strategy that combines all ways of struggle, should have an order. This order, far of being “authoritarian” is democratic in its deepest sense, because on one hand, it doesn’t allow arbitrariness and on the other hand, it allows other popular rebellions with the same political-military libertarian project on a national level, to express themselves. Without an order, in the middle of a war, the only thing you can expect is the popular defeat and its subordination to the bourgeoisie’s despotism.


How to guarantee this order throughout time without depending on the changing opinions of one or another comandante? With some general rules that the whole insurgency has to discuss, study, accept and apply. These rules are called the Disciplinarian Regime. They classify and establish rules about allowed and forbidden conduct, faults, punishments and attributions of the different ranks of comandantes. The Internal Commanding Norms refer to the military life of FARC-EP units: in quarters, camps and marches. In this way, they the unify criteria about discipline in any guerrilla command and any possible arbitrariness is avoided.

The guerrilla fighters will have problems in understanding the internal regime if they don’t know the FARC Statutes, the Disciplinarian Regime and the Internal Commanding Norms. That’s why one of the daily tasks of a comandante who’s leading troops in the FARC is to teach these fundamental documents about the proletarian military discipline of the FARC combatants meticulously.


The Patriotic Union gives birth to hope


n May 1984, in the middle of a dialogue with President Belisario Betancourt, the FARC announced the launching of a national political movement, the Patriotic Union (UP in Spanish). The initiative immediately gained popular support. In spite of all the accusations they normally received because of their alleged “cult of secrecy and weapons”, the FARC-EP tried to engage in politics openly.

The left-wing parties normally received some 70,000 votes, but the Patriotic Union jumped to 320,000 votes. That’s how they elected 17 members to Congress and a still larger number of departmental deputies and city council members. The UP was a clear and transparent proof -curiously “forgotten”- of the insurgency’s political willingness to participate in the country’s civil and political life. But the Colombian bourgeoisie and the rest of the dominant classes didn’t allow them. Neither did North American imperialism. The experience was aborted with great violence, using gangster and mafia methods, classically like the paramilitarism used by Italian fascism, Franco’s dictatorship in Spain and German Nazism.


The Patriotic Union is violently massacred


he first murders against the Patriotic Union were of two legislators: Leonardo Posada and Pedro Nel Jiménez, on the 30th of August and the 1st of September, 1986. Senator Pedro Luis Valencia Giraldo was murdered on the 14th of August 1987. On the 11th of October 1987 it was Jaime Pardo Leal’s turn to be assassinated. He was a president candidate. Then, on the 22nd of March 1990, Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa, the new candidate for president, was killed. On the 9th of August 1994 Manuel Cepeda Vargas, the elected senator, was assassinated. And popular blood kept on flowing…. However, the FARC continued calling for peace with social justice in the public squares of the country. The UP managed to gain, in the electoral contest of 1986, 17 members of congress, 23 deputies and 11 departmental assembly seats and 350 city council members and 187 councils. But since its birth and throughout the years, the dirty war unleashed against this political organization with operations like El Baile Rojo (The Red Dance), among others, took the lives of thousands of its leaders, militants and sympathizers. (This was a cruel political genocide which produced approximately 5000 dead and hundreds of wounded, disappeared and pursued people). The big businessmen and their traditional political parties prevailed over the Patriotic Union, not with arguments, debates, polemics and good reasoning…but with copper, blood and fire. That is the so-called Colombian “democracy”. A counterinsurgent “democracy” made at Washington’s behest.


Jaime Pardo Leal, presidential candidate of the UP. Assassinated by state terrorism.

In only four years 5000 militants of this public political, open, legal and peaceful movement were killed. In this period four presidential candidates were killed: Jaime Pardo Leal of the UP (1987), Luis Carlos Galán, liberal (1989), Carlos Pizarro of the M-19 and Bernardo Jaramillo of the UP (1990). Those malevolent opinion-makers (paid by the powerful) who frivolously blamed the guerrilla “for not being willing to participate in civic life”… Did they just forget about those 5000 murders? What a strange and unexplainable disregard….


The savage killing of all dissidence


he new assassinations were not claimed by the MAS (“Death To Kidnappers”, paramilitary group), but by the MRN (“Death to the Northeastern Revolutionaries”). In reality, all these logos and acronyms are simply interchangeable names for a violent, intolerant, fascist state apparatus, which is being recycled every now and then, always with the same objective. Crush all dissidence. Keep all popular sectors at bay. Prevent them from participating, debating or taking part in politics. Prevent any genuine expression by the people which could bother the big interests, the big companies, the big moneymakers and capital. They did this to the Patriotic Union and they will keep on doing it until the people defeats them.

The army discharged a drug terrorist, he had 100 kilos of coca in a can

It’s not by accident that in November 1987 the official Armed Forces of Colombia approved the “Counter-guerrilla Combat Regulation”, which characterized the enemy as “insurgent civil population or armed group”. The official Armed Forces of the State and its paramilitaries identify their enemy as the civil population.


The Patriotic Union and State terrorism


ithin the concept of State terrorism and its National Security Doctrine (NSD) or Democratic Security Doctrine (DSD) anyone who dares to claim his or her rights is an “enemy”. He or she is automatically considered a communist or revolutionary ally. The traditional and retarded Colombian political class has changed the Colombian regime into one of the biggest Human Rights violators in the world. I’m allergic to this ugly bird

This restricted notion of “democracy” (allowing only ideas that don’t bother or discomfort the big interests) has allowed the assassination of the left, not only the communists or the people from the Patriotic Union, but also a lot of trade union leaders, university professors, teachers, indigenous people, AfroColombian leaders, communal leaders, the unemployed and humble peasants who demand land to work.


West-Europe and the so-called “Theoretical crisis of Marxism”


n those years, during the nineteen-eighties, while the Latin American insurgency resisted in Colombia, in El Salvador, in Chile, in Peru, in Guatemala and in other countries the neoliberal pounding and the bloody counter-insurgency war promoted by the Pentagon, in Western Europe, the big intellectual factories declared that the political and cultural project of communism had died. So, they decreed the so-called “crisis of Marxism”. Big communication monopolies, ex-Marxist intellectuals and ex-communists, by then full of regret, together with lots of different social-democrats, considered the revolutionary project for the seizure of power and the transition to socialism part of the past. I notify that Marx died

This so-called “theoretical crisis of Marxism” has different sources: (1) The defeat and posterior institutionalization of the rebellious youth movement in Europe that started in 1968; (2) The electoral crisis of the “euro-communist” parties (Italian, French and Spanish CP’s, who renounced revolution and the taking of power, seduced by social democracy; (3) The growth of postmodern philosophy which proclaimed the “end of ideologies”, “the fatigue of politics”, “The big stories and narratives twilight”, “The death of subject”, “the disappearance of labor” and nothing more, nothing less than “the end of history”; (4) Neo-liberal hegemony and (5) The growing loss of reputation by the Soviet Union after years of stagnation.


USSR: “Perestroika” appears


n spite of the fact that the Soviet Union had been first to send space exploration missions, a few years later, stagnation began. The bureaucratization of the political order, the loss of popular legitimacy, the growing gap between the governmental party and the popular workers world caused great discontent in the USSR but also in its allied countries of Eastern Europe (Romania, Czechoslovakia, etc.). Of all these countries, the crisis first grew worst in Poland, where the military directly called for a military coup to call a halt to discontent and social disobedience. Within this general context of loss of reputation, the leading committee of the Soviet Union, led by Mikhail Gorbachev, started a reform process called “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”. From the very beginning of this process, Jacobo Arenas warned from the Colombian jungle against this, which wasn’t a rectification but a betrayal of the socialist cause. Comrade, a popular delegation would like to speak with you…

Tell them that I’m too busy now



These reforms consisted basically of economic, political and informational changes. In spite of a propaganda oratory, based supposedly on “more democracy” and “more informational transparency”, Perestroika ended up accelerating in a dizzying way the deepening marketization and the transformation of the former bureaucracy into a mafia and a new lumpen bourgeoisie who seized the socially-owned enterprises. On the 26th of December 1991, the Congress of People’s Deputies voted the dissolution of the USSR. In geo-strategic terms, they had already brought an end to their support for revolutions in the rest of the world and they were promoting an undisguised approach to the developed capitalist powers, including hegemonic North American imperialism in Colombia.

Thanks to the fall of the socialist camp I can trample on the world more easily


Fall of the Berlin Wall and of the USSR Instead of “more democracy and more socialism” (the slogan with which Gorbachev defended Perestroika), the world ruled by the Soviet Union fell into pieces almost unnoticeably. From the beginning of the nineteen-eighties in Poland, with the Catholic Church’s political intervention led by John Paul II, a trade union federation was created to force a supposed transition to democracy in that country, which by 1989 resulted in the return to capitalism. In that same year, the Berlin wall fell in Germany and after a series of peaceful mobilizations, in a few months, all the political regimes of Eastern Europe collapsed. The Soviet Union disappeared in 1991. The proletarian revolution started by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, supported abundantly by the peasantry which had installed workers’ power and socialist democracy in October 1917, didn’t have enough mass support to survive. Decades of bureaucratization and huge privileges for the elite had created a lot of discontent among the population and a loss of reputation for what was considered “real socialism”. This is the right moment

Who said communism died?


In political terms, the fall of the USSR and its allied countries modified the world’s geo-strategy. The planet became unipolar in military terms. The liberation movements of the Third World, allied or not with the USSR, became weaker in this new situation, because they could no longer count on a support which would allow them to confront the US. The Reagan administration intervened shamelessly in the internal affairs of Central- and South America’s countries, supporting tyrannical regimes and worsening Human Rights violations in El Salvador and Honduras, just for example, supporting the counterrevolution in Nicaragua, and also invading the island of Grenada and defeating its legitimate government in 1983, etc. Meanwhile, without any dependence on those countries which had collapsed (as they had been accused of so many times) the FARC….continued fighting in Colombia.


Lenin and Marulanda Comrade Manuel, was the October revolution a waste of time? All the effort, all the rebellion just will be forgotten?

No way, master! People won’t forget about it. All those experiences will be guiding us. We will continue your ideas in Latin America.


The collapse of the Sandinistas


fter their triumph in 1979, the Sandinistas suffered the permanent siege of the North Americans who - in the name of “democracy” and “freedom”- armed counter-insurgent paramilitary groups on the border with Honduras. Yankee advisors financed the creation of the “Contra” (that’s how they were called internationally) with drug-trafficking and illegal weapons trade. Because of this harassment, the Sandinistas were forced to fight a war of attrition.

Support the “Contras” Use coke

The continuous devastating war by the US Ronald Reagan administration and the “Contra”, the implementation of compulsory military service in Nicaragua, to be able to face this war imposed by the Pentagon, plus some serious internal problems of bureaucratism and corruption by some leaders who discredited the revolution, invasions of “innocent” NGO’s, etc. provoked the electoral defeat of the Sandinistas in 1990. This was a political reversal, not only for the Nicaraguan people, but for the whole of Central America and for the rest of the popular rebels of the continent, including the Colombian people.


Unexpected and treacherous attack to Casa Verde (the Green House)


n Colombia, with this background of the worldwide progress of the right, on the 9th of December 1990, while the country was voting to choose the National Constituent Assembly, the Cesar Gaviria Trujillo’s administration tried to seduce the FARC to demobilize in the name of “peace”. The high commanders of the Colombian Armed Forces, showing that they would do away with any voice against neoliberal policies, suddenly bombed Casa Verde, where they supposed the FARC’s secretary was gathered for a meeting. They did so while they were talking about “peace” in the media. The military launched 10.000 kilos of bombs from 46 aircrafts. However, the operative ended up in a fiasco: “120 casulties of army soldiers and nine helicopters out of service”, according to the National Army’s commander.

At close range

Green House

Beyond the escandalous ridicule, which the official militaries had to withstand - normally triumphant, arrogant and braggarts- this unexpected attack really expressed what the permanent action of the Colombian State had been during all these decades. The hypocrisy of talking about “peace” while they bomb and kill without mercy.


The insurgency insists on peace


hile they were repelling Casa Verde’s attack, the Guerrilla Coordinating Committee “Simón Bolívar” (CGSB in Spanish) untied a military campaign called: “Comandante Jacobo Arenas, we are carrying out your orders”. This strong answer forced the government to start a dialogue proposed by the insurgency. The first contact between the CGSB and the government was imposed by the guerrilla with the peaceful takeover of the Venezuelan embassy in Colombia by some representatives who later moved to Cravo Norte, a municipality in Arauca. There, they agreed to “have direct conversations, initially in Caracas, with representatives at the highest decision-making level, to seek a negotiated solution to the social and armed conflict”.

His plan didn’t work out

I dreamed about seeing the FARC this way


The dialogue in Caracas started on June 3, 1991 and was carried out in two rounds. The second round began on the 4th of September. By then, comandante Alfonso Cano, one of the FARC’s spokespeople, declared: “This dialogue and the agreements we could come to, necessarily will have to lead to a peaceful coexistence for all of us...To be able to advance on this issue, it’s urgent to revise the strategy and the doctrine that govern the activities carried out by the military forces and the State’s security apparatus. They’ll have to put an end to their concept of an “internal enemy” and introduce a strategy based on democracy and defense of our national sovereignty.” The government unilaterally interrupted the peace dialogues, but renewed them on March, 10, 1992 in Tlaxcala (Mexico). They formulated an agenda called “twelve points to construct a peace-strategy”, including issues such as economic opening and its social consequences, administrative corruption, human rights, paramilitary forces, aspects of the conflict that affect the civilian population (such as kidnapping, forced disappearances, arbitrary retentions, among others), State, democracy, a new Constitution and political system. Finally, the narrow-minded government, bothered because the guerrilla force didn’t demobilize quickly enough, suspended the conversations officially on the 13th of March. Gaviria’s promises to renew the process on October 31, 1992, were not realized. On the contrary, he announced a “comprehensive war” against the subversives.

The peace dialogue in Caracas


Global neoliberalism…”the end of history?”


he bureaucrats in the White House gave in to triumphalism with the fall of the Berlin wall, the many disappointed academic intellectuals who abandoned Marxism, the giving up on revolution by former communist parties, the systematic propaganda by the big media monopolies and the momentary triumph of liberalism. They decreed, exactly as Adolf Hitler did in his time, a thousand-year-reign.

FRANCIS FUKUYAMA clown of the empire, who could not consolidate the illusion of the capital’s definitive triumph.

By that time, Francis Fukuyama, the “philosopher” and functionary of the north American State Department, published an infamous article called “The end of history”. In his article, this intellectual apprentice, who even confused the names of Hegel’s books (German philosopher who elaborated the dialectic method), prophesied the definitive triumph of capitalism and neo-liberalism over all its opponents. The communist insurgency (such as the FARC) wouldn’t make sense anymore…Poor Fukuyama, his excitement would not even last a decade.


Letter of the Latin American Communist Parties.


his defeatist atmosphere, where the ideas of the left were so despised, received an ideological reply with the “Open Letter to the Communist and Revolutionary Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean”, a kind of public manifesto of five Latin American communist parties, which circulated in 1990.

LA Red c TIN AME ontin RICA ent o f hop e Com m of La unist Pa tin A rties meri ca

This letter emphasized that “the hope for revolution lies in Latin America”; It’s not in Europe, which is dominated by social democracy, or on the territory of the ex-socialist countries, but in Latin America. The letter was signed by Shafick Jorge Handal (Communist Party of El Salvador) and Narciso Isa Conde (Communist Party of the Dominican Republic), among others.


The FARC-EP’s Eighth Conference


n April 1993, the FARC organized its Eighth Conference. It was designated symbolically “Comandante Jacobo Arenas, we are carrying out your orders” (Jacobo Arenas had died in 1990). 81 delegates of the Fronts and urban structures participated. Dinner becomes indigestible…

Breaking news! Socialist ideas are not dead, they are alive and kicking

While many progressive intellectuals and political organizations from the left thought that the dream of socialism and revolution was dead, the FARC continued fighting against those giant windmills of capitalism. During the whole decade of the nineteen-nineties, they stayed firm, not only with popular resistance to neo-liberalism, not only with the Bolivarian project of the Great Nation, not only with the dream of socialism, but also with the maintenance of the politico-military struggle. People who elaborate chronologies of resistance to neoliberalism today sometimes fail to acknowledge this. They list the struggles of the period and leave out the FARC and the Colombian people’s resistance, without any reason or argument.


The guerrilla grows


n that Conference, the FARC organized their forces into seven Bloques, geografically. To coordinate every Bloque, they designated a Secretariat member. The insurgency continued developing its Strategic Plan. The Bloques were in charge of the development of that plan on a regional level.

The people’s struggle grows like the shadow when the sun goes down.

Among the objectives of the FARC-EP Bloques were: a) Recruiting new combatants, b) Forming political and organizational leaders, c) Creating routes to be able to move its troops, d) Obtaining finances, and e) Builing strong organizational work among the masses as well as international relations. This included governments and political and social organizations. In conclusion, realizing the strategic deployment of its forces and the objectives of the Bolivarian Campaign for a New Colombia‌.


The EZLN Zapatista National Liberation Army rises


n full neo-liberal ecstasy, when, according to Fukuyama, capitalism was preparing itself to rule forever, a new force joined the continental resistance. It was the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN in Spanish), an organization that emerged on the 1st of January 1994. It was born in the poorest and most ostracized areas of South Mexico, inhabited primarily by indigenous people.

The FARC-EP admires Villa and Zapata’s heroic deeds, legendary comandantes of the Mexican revolution, who advanced important social issues and sowed a deep anti-imperialist consciousness, still present, among their people. The FARC insurgency blends its struggle with dreams of sovereignty, freedom and justice for a dignified nation which is waiting for its heroes to come back and start the emancipation process of the XXI century.


From Seattle to the Social World Forums


ne decade after the fall of the Berlin wall, the neo-liberal message was no longer dominant. Violent, massive protests against global financial organizations were taking place, not only in the Third World, but also in the developed, capitalist countries. One of the first of these was in Seattle, against the World Trade Organization summit (WTO). Between the 29th of November and the 3rd of December 1999, thousands of activists brought together by trade unions, environmental organizations and several social movements brought down the so-called “Millennium Round”. The weight of globalization

A new era was coming up for the movement which would be called “altermundist” (the right-wing media call it “anti-globalization”, in spite of the fact that the movement really calls for another kind of globalization, a different one). This” movement of movements” had the advantage of being very flexible and open, but had the limitation of being organizationally weak with a reduced capacity for confrontation. When they were repressed, they could easily neutralized. In Porto Alegre, Brazil, this movement organized several World Social Forums under the slogan “another world is possible”. These were open forums which buried neo-liberalism ideologically, but disregarded the radical and organized political left, especially the politicalmilitary organizations.


The Caguán dialogues


n the 7th of January 1999, peace dialogues started in San Vicente del Caguán. These were not the first dialogues between the guerrilla and the state (there had been dialogues in La Uribe, Caracas and Tlaxcala). At that moment, the FARC and the government of Andrés Pastrana agreed on a “common agenda for a dialogue towards a New Colombia” which pointed toward a political solution for the armed conflict. On the opening day, Marulanda didn’t show up. The right-wing and the media monopolies repeated it a thousand times. The FARC had captured an intelligence officer of the army who revealed a military plan to assassinate the guerrilla leader, even if the president was to be killed. Later on, Marulanda calmly met Pastrana, which showed his willingness to engage in dialogue. Put an end to the peace dialogues, I have a Plan

Washington is pressuring

The conversations lasted for three years and took place in a demilitarized zone of 42,000 square kilometers. They were interrupted on February 20, 2002, when the US pressured Pastrana to end the peace negotiations and to move on with what later would be known as Plan Colombia.


Marulanda, a rational voice in the middle of wild wolves


ll sectors of Colombian society attended the public peace audiences in El CaguĂĄn: peasants, workers, employees, students, trade unionists, feminists, indigenous people, Afro-Colombian organizations, indigenous communities, etc. Even businessmen. All of them presented their ideas about the kind of country of which they dreamed. The guerrilla listened to them and dialogued with everyone. Government pressure You and the paramilitaries have to kill anyone who dares to criticize me

At your service sir

Marulanda made two important proposals: a) a plan for the substitution of illegal crops without repression, with a pilot project in Cartagena del Chairå; and b) a prisoner-of-war exchange and humanitarian interchange. None of the two proposals were considered. The Colombian bourgeoisie, apart from being decadent, is deaf. They don’t want to hear the popular demands. They only want to defeat the guerrilla and maintain the socio-economic, capitalist and dependent structures of Colombia.


Chávez and the revival of Bolivarianism


n Venezuela, a petroleum-rich country and Colombia’s neighbor, international social democracy applied in the nineteeneighties one of its central experiments: the combination of strict economic neo-liberalism and a “social” media rhetoric. This privatizing neo-liberalism of social democratic president Carlos Andrés Pérez sparked a popular protest known as the “Caracazo” (similar to the Bogotazo in Colombia in 1948). It started on the 27th of February 1989 and it ended the next day, with a massacre, when policemen and the military crushed the defenseless people of Caracas on the street.


In 1992, three years after this slaughter against the people, a young military officer, Hugo Chávez Frías, with the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR200 in Spanish), rebeled against Venezuela’s elite regime and led a military, patriotic and anti-neoliberal rebellion. The movement ended in a fiasco. He went to jail for two years. He was then released and continued speaking out against neo-liberalism throughout the continent. He traveled to Cuba in 1994. He won presidency in 1999 under the banners of Simón Bolívar and growing sympathy for socialism.


Chávez and the return of socialism to the political agenda


very day, Chávez intensified his confrontation with the Venezuelan stockholder bourgeoisie and North American imperialism until they organized -once again- a military coup in April 2002. Chávez was put in jail, but the people on the streets rescued him and returned him to power.

The Bolivarian revolution has dazzled them

Strengthening the socialist perspective, Chávez had a public meeting with the FARC-EP and declared before the Venezuelan parliament and the TV cameras: “The FARC-EP and the ELN are not terrorists. They are real armies which occupy territory in Colombia! We’ll have to acknowledge the FARC and the ELN! They have a Bolivarian project which will be respected here (in Caracas).


Ninth FARC-EP Conference


nce the peace negotiations were suspended because of Nort American pressure, the Colombian Armed Forces appeared on the horizon trying to crush the guerrilla force. They failed, despite millions of dollars they had received from the North. Therefore, the Pentagon designed a new series of plans, always in line with the same counter-insurgency guidelines of the blood-spattered National Security Doctrine: Plan Colombia and Plan Patriota. In the middle of this imperialist attack in Colombia (later on, seven new military bases would be added), and the escalation of the biggest intervention of North American troops ever seen in history, the FARC held its Ninth Conference.

X-rays of the Colombian State

This Ninth Conference described the Colombian state as a fascist, paramilitary and mafia state. The counter-insurgent “democracy” in reality is the media face of a repressive, authoritarian and cruel state. But not any kind of repressive state; it’s a mafia state.


What is the mafia?


he mafia is some kind of business association. It does business and obtains profits through a combination of violence, terror and criminal capitalist gangster activities, supposedly not accepted within “normal capitalism”. (Supposedly…). Sir, just give us the order and we’ll make you richer

The mafia that came to Colombia with the Mancuso family is not the Sicilian variant but the Calabrean one, called (N-Dragheta), which was more violent and cruel than their colleagues from Palermo or Napoli. They found fertile ground in the imperial counter-insurgency war and they adapted themselves to it, contributing their ability to provide security to any business in exchange for the payment of a voluntary tax, as their Italian ancestors had done three centuries ago, to impose themselves through violent terror. And that’s how, for half a century, they slowly took control over all of the economic, political and social activities. They were always protected and encouraged by political and military central power, assisted by Washington; until they finally reached the heart of the political system.


Some details about the Colombian mafia


he Colombian mafia is different from the Italian, North American, or, more recently, Russian ones. In those “classic” mafias (as in the Francis Ford Coppola film “The Godfather”), gangster activities are carried out in the dark, secretly and hidden. They bribe people, officials, cops, judges, but in a surreptitious way, with absolute secrecy. The Colombian mafia, on the other hand, is basically dedicated to drug trafficking, but also to money laundering, money lending and other illegal activities. Mafia business is open in Colombia. For example, the Medellin cartel has tried to obtain public political space. Colombia buried in the swamp of narco-para-politics

One of the biggest drug cartel chiefs offered to pay Colombia’s external debt, which is unimaginable for the Italian mafia. The Colombian bourgeoisie has been, since the beginning, a social class without a project for a modern and inclusive country. Their lumpen activities are not marginal; they have taken root in the state. Drug trafficking, alcohol, gambling and prostitution are 10% of the GNP (being moderated) and much more if we take a look at exports. The economic base of drug trafficking guarantees its political influence.


Mafia and drug trafficking: the drug-problem


he business of drug-trafficking has been the most dynamic sector of the Colombian economy for the last three decades. In this period, their “managers” have become the most important economic group in the country, exceeding the accumulation of capital by other business-financial groups.

Buying consciences

In spite of all the legends launched by Colombia military intelligence and the Pentagon’s and the DEA’s (Drug Enforcement Administration) “think-tanks”, the FARC has fought against drug traffickers as it has fought against the whole Colombian bourgeoisie. Moreover, it has proposed to attack the drug trafficking problem, starting with its economic base, with the substitution of illegal crops for others, but without ever confusing drug-traffickers and multi-millionaires (inserted in the state and closely linked to the traditional parties and the military) with poor peasants who grow coca only for survival, without having any other alternative.


Mafia and paramilitary forces


n the 2nd of December 1981, an airplane dropping leaflets over the city of Cali, announced the birth of the MAS (Death to Kidnappers), paramilitary organization, which was born at a meeting between 223 mafia bosses. In this way, the Colombian mafia prolonged the old structures of contract killers who had been proliferating since 1948. Now, this was done on a different scale and with a specific organization, the death-squads, or paramilitaries. The main objective of these gangs is to punish and repress the unarmed people, the popular support base of the guerrilla (“to drown the fish by taking away the water�), yet the paramilitaries hardly ever fight directly against the guerrilla. Generally they kidnap, torture and kill the civilian population. In this way, more than five and a half million peasants have been forced to leave their lands, cattle and crops which were taken by the big landowners with the shameless support of the government.

Sowing terror


From this period on, corpses began to appear in the rivers again, hung on trees or tied on streetlight posts. The paramilitary mafia was born from a monstrous marriage between drugtraffickers, big companies and the armed forces. In the same way in which the US had financed the counter-revolution which tried to defeat the Sandinistas (“Contragate”) with money coming from the illegal sale of weapons to Iran (“Irangate”), cocaine trafficking and other dubious businesses, in Colombia the counter-insurgency war and the death squads were also being fed by drugs, the mafia and the paramilitary forces. The Yankee empire applies the same formula everywhere.


Counterinsurgency: mafia and paramilitary forces


he main “capital” of paramilitarism was situated on the banks of the Magdalena River, in Puerto Boyacá. When one entered the port in the nineteen-eighties, one saw an enormous poster which said: “Welcome to Puerto Boyacá, Colombia’s anti-subversive capital” In the first meetings of these paramilitaries (called “paracos” by the people) of Puerto Boyacá, the Bárbula Battalion ’s commander, Luis Arcenio Bohórquez Montoya, participated. Additional participants included: rich cattle breeders of the area, functionaries of the Texas Petroleum Company, members of the Federation of Coffee Enterprises, politicians of the Liberal-Conservative two-party system and members of the Civil Defense . The big companies contract foreign killers Gentlemen, the bananacompany UNIBAN hired me to discuss the list of demands with you

Among the foreign advisors of the “paracos” were Yankee and Israeli officers and mercenaries (the latter from the security Spearhead company belonging to Israeli colonel Yair Klein). Many of them operated in military intelligence of Charry Solano’s battalion. Initially, 4 Israelis trained 80 “paracos” in terrorist techniques and attacks on ships. For the first three classes they asked $800,000. The banana company Unibam, from Urabá, hired Yitzhak Shoshan, a former Israeli officer, to resolve their labor conflicts…


Paramilitary forces and self-defense


rom that moment on, the paramilitary forces and death squads became widespread in Colombia, though they were called “self-defense”; a name that really belonged to liberal and communist guerrilla groups in the nineteen-forties. When Álvaro Uribe Vélez was governor of Antioquia, he encouraged the legalization of the paramilitaries calling them “Convivir”, a political project which in the beginning was only developed between Paramillo and Urabá but later on would be extended to other areas of the country. Uribe founds the “Convivir”

God bless you, I wish you good marksmanship.

The first time the repressive state apparatus tried to appropriate the term “self-defense” was on the 9th of April 1969. At that moment, the General Command of the Military Forces sanctioned the “Combat Regulations for Counter-Guerrilla” (EJC 3-10, reserved). These regulations proposed to organize the civil population in a) Civil defense and b) Self-defense committees, both of them directed against guerrilla groups. The project came from three North American military documents (which teach how to organize death squads), and which had been studied in Colombian military academies.


The big companies finance the mafia and paramilitary forces


n Magdalena Medio, the only real authorities have been the paramilitary chiefs and the army’s high command. The “paracos” commit their massacres, which they try to attribute to the FARC in order to discredit them. For example the case of the 18th of January 1989, when two judges and 13 investigators from the Technical Corps of the Judicial Police were killed. In that case, 3 investigators managed to survive and tell the truth: it wasn’t the FARC, it was the “paracos”. We’ll say it was the FARC and the media will do their job

In the name of anti-communism and the counter-insurgency struggle, the big companies, the main leaders of the two-party system, the mafia drug chiefs, the “paracos” and the military officers took control of the majority of lands in those areas, pursuing and displacing thousands of Colombian families.


Paramilitary forces and “democratic Security”


arco-paramilitary forces were an instrument of politics and the Democratic Security Doctrine (DSD), a continuation of the National Security Doctrine (NSD) from earlier decades, recycled and masked. Their job was to ensure a problem-free exploitation of the natural resources by transnational companies and capital in general (the big companies). Evil trilogy

The official army uses paramilitarism to avoid criminal accountability. They tolerate, allow and work together with them. Sometimes they commit crimes in the name of the paramilitaries. They get to a peasant’s area to tear it to the ground and burn it. They start to run their chain saws (the same instrument that destroyed nature, cutting trees, ends up destroying the human bodies of anyone opposed to the capitalist regime). They burn people alive, destroy their schools, their crops and they steal their cows and raze anything they find in their way. The same criminals who massacre their own people not only don’t go to jail, they also launder their money and introduce themselves “legally” into the Colombian economy.


Paramilitary forces and their unpunished legalization


ehind the media facade, in Colombia there exists a narcostate, whose deepest social, administrative, repressive (police and military) and economic structures are permeated by this mafia-business. The paramilitary forces maintain a large scale informal economy. After massacring union and popular activists, they were “rehabilitated”, legalizing more than 10 billion dollars through mega-projects. Legalized fortunes of narco-paramilitaries

They had spread their assassinations, abuse, attacks and monstrous crimes for decades throughout the country. The best example may be the already-mentioned systematic use of the chain saws to dismember people alive. Afterwards, the Colombian bourgeois state promulgated the so-called “Law of Justice and Peace on June 21, 2005. With this law, they granted the “paracos”, their denied sons who had been accused of crimes against humanity, an impunity which legalized their fortunes and big capital, guaranteeing their reinsertion into the formal economy and a splendid retirement. However, since they signed the “ceasefire” on the 15th of July 2003, these delinquents have carried out some 3000 more assassinations…


Paramilitaries, para-politics and big capital


he Colombian paramilitaries never operated by themselves. In a TV interview, Salvatore Mancuso (boss of a paramilitary group called United Self-defense Groups of Colombia, AUC in Spanish), declared that in the Urabá area, for example, the “paracos” were given a sum of money by the multinational banana company “Chiquita Brands” (the former United Fruit Company, later called Sevilian Fruit Company) for every guerrilla fighter they killed. Two-party system

Based on some documents captured from the drug chief “Jorge 40”, in March 2006, many deputies and senators, associated with Álvaro Uribe Vélez (president by then) and the official members of the two-party system, were arrested, because they had a close relationship with the “paracos” and drug-trafficking. This international scandal was known as “para-politics”. The highest leadership of the DAS (Administrative Department of Security), the highest body of Colombian State intelligence, was also involved.


The cynicism of the DEA, the United States and drugs


he advanced military technology and all the “military aid� money sent by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and other US institutions did not address the war against drugs, but the counter-insurgency war, the dirty war against guerrilla movements and the control and repression of the civilian population which supported them. .

Uncle Sam is stoned

This is my personal dose


The USA -the main consumer of drugs worldwide- doesn’t fight against drug trafficking on their own territory. Instead of attacking the big production, trafficking and distribution chains, they repress the peasants who grow coca. They are super exploited, forgotten and ostracized, they grow illegal crops to survive, not having any other viable alternative which allows them to live decently. On the other hand, they don’t combat the big drug-traffickers. The FARC was right when it declared, in a Central High Command’s meeting in March 2000: “Drug-trafficking is an issue of globalized capitalism and the gringos in the first place. It’s not our problem. We don’t agree with drug-trafficking. But as the North American government uses the existence of drug-trafficking as a pretext for its criminal action against Colombian people, we demand that they legalize drugs. That’s how you can restrain the high benefits produced by the illegality of this business, that’s how you can control its use, giving medical care to the addicts…that’s how you can definitely liquidate this cancer. To big illnesses, big remedies”.

No more dropping of Agent Orange

MONSANTO go home!


The FARC-EP and the coca plantations


he FARC-EP have never defended the big drug chiefs. They have even had (and still have) armed confrontations with the big drug-traffickers. They consider them part of the bourgeoisie and that’s why they charge them revolutionary taxes as they do with the rest of the Colombian bourgeoisie. But the FARCEP doesn’t repress the poor peasants who are involved in coca growing, because they understand that it’s a social problem which requires political solutions. They try to persuade the peasants to substitute their coca crops with other commodities. And we won’t have any further excuse to interfere in Colombia

If we legalize drugs our business will go down

The FARC-EP proposes a comprehensive solution to the problem. Their proposal aims at attacking the social problems which cause drug addiction. To reduce drug consumption by Colombian youth, it proposes long-term systematic education. Therefore, they have edited and send out educational videos on the Internet, for example the one called: “La baretopolítica” (See: where young guerrilla men and women try to be an example to people from their own age.


The FARC-EP and drug policy According to the FARC-EP, the paramilitary’s and mafia’s drug trafficking is dangerous fuel for the civil war. To solve this problem, the insurgency suggests substituting illicit crops with other ones. It also suggests the possibility of establishing aid programs with new alternatives for the poor peasants. This whole project fits into a real agrarian reform, at the core of the Agrarian Program of the Guerrilla fighters. Uncle Sam gets high This is even cooler than cacao and maize

The FARC-EP has worked on concrete projects for the substitution of crops. Its proposal suggests that poor people on the countryside should grow profitable crops, too, such as rubber or cacao. For this, they should receive help from the state and international organizations such as the United Nations. Nobody is going to eliminate Colombia’s coca by just repressing the poor peasants, as the US high command wishes to do.


Health care and insurgent sanitarian policies


n the middle of the civil war, the FARC develops health care programs, both for the civilian population in the villages where it has great popular support as it does for its own combatants. The sanitarian policies of the guerrilla start with the prevention and good nutrition for its militants. And whenever necessary, as in the case of seriously-wounded combatants, the FARC has its own doctors who can perform the most complex surgery in the middle of the jungle, in the same way the Vietnamese did in the middle of their rice fields and bombings.

Health Care


Here the 100 law doesn’t apply


How does a revolutionary army finance itself?


he bourgeois state finances the counter-insurgency war in Colombia with North American military investments (one of the three most important in the world and the most important in Latin America) and sucks the popular sectors dry with draconian taxes. That’s where the money comes from, with which the Santanderist Colombian army buys their airplanes, their satellites, their bombs and the enormous network of informants (“sapos”), paid by the state. The whole bourgeois state apparatus, including their financial institutions, is focused on the counterinsurgency.

“War taxes”

How does a revolutionary army sustain itself for decades in this particular context? A long and cruel war, where the insurgency is constructing a social, political and military autonomous force, which doesn’t depend on other states, has to confront the problem of financing. The insurgency responds by attacking the mafia bourgeoisie where it most hurts: their bank accounts and their bulky finances. Another source of finances is the productive projects in different branches of the national economy, in a clandestine way.


The revolutionary law and punishments of a new establishment


he insurgency, without any external economic support, discharges the costs of the revolutionary war over big capital, the big business, the rich and the big bourgeois families. Therefore, it implements new laws, axis of popular sovereignty, which don’t respond to bourgeois institutions or its legal system. The retentions (applied to the bourgeoisie that doesn’t respect the new revolutionary legality) are punishment for non-payment of peace taxes applied to the ruling classes. Only if one is aware of the drama caused by the counter-insurgency war and bourgeois violence against Colombian people, one can understand the problem of the insurgent retentions. The ones who treat this problem as a vague, abstract and falsely equidistant “humanitarianism”… are just being cynical and hypocritical. If you demand that the guerrilla stop the retentions, why don’t you demand that the state stop charging taxes for war and receiving permanent aid from the USA?

Gringo “aid”


The insurgency is not a band of delinquents, kidnappers, bandits and outlaws. Even a US observer like Noam Chomsky, in his previously mentioned book, describes those measures as “revolutionary taxes”, a classification adopted by the London newspaper Financial Times, too.

Without finances there’s no revolution


This plain truth was said by Lenin.

“Insecurity”, robbery and criminality


n the liberated areas where the guerrilla exercises its sovereignty and the new power is in charge…the index of crime and citizen insecurity suddenly decreases. Robbery, kidnapping and rape quickly disappear. Why is that?

Capitalist lumpen subculture

Citizen “insecurity” is a product of extreme poverty, of exclusion; of the lack of education and the lumpen culture introduced by the bourgeoisie into the big cities of Colombian society. When it’s the insurgency who exercises power, the delinquency statistics decline. The peasants and displaced populations recognize that in the areas around guerrilla camps there’s no robbery, crime or assassinations. The people exercise power and sovereignty by themselves, guaranteeing security among the civilian population.


A peace crusade


n the middle of a strong anti-communist McCarthyism, the attempt to criminalize social protest and the cruel persecution against the guerrilla who maintains its program for a peaceful solution to the country’s serious social problems, on a national and international level, tendencies emerged which defended and promoted political dialogue with the insurgency. Among these, we should emphasize initiatives like the one taken by the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which even spoke about the need to recognize the legitimate character of the Colombian insurgency as a belligerent force. We should also mention the initiative taken by “Colombian men and women for peace”, led by the Liberal political leader Piedad Córdoba. It is supported by many intellectuals, politicians and democratic personalities, who belong to different parties and sectors within the nation and who want to put an end to the fratricidal confrontation imposed by militarism. They repress the desire for peace


As a development of its peace policy, the FARC-EP has carried out unilateral initiatives which have led to the liberation of hundreds of prisoners-of-war, which it had in custody. It tries to make possible a humanitarian interchange of combatants from one and another side, those who are in the State prisons and those who are FARC prisoners. Hopefully they can agree to a permanent prisoner exchange law which could ameliorate the consequences of war; that’s how they could take the first steps toward a new peace dialogue in Colombia. Since the end of 2007, senator Piedad Córdoba, a member of “Colombian men and women for peace”, has facilitated the release of several groups of war prisoners and politicians. But the Colombian state, controlled by a decadent militaristic elite (among which ex-president Uribe and current president Santos stand out), has done everything it could to sabotage the initiatives. It has even criminalized those who don’t agree with its militaristic positions.

The government and the high command don’t care about the fate of the soldiers and policemen who are war prisoners

Even when they’ve risked their life to defend the system. That’s how they repay them


Political prisoners of the FARC-EP and humanitarian interchange


hen talking about a prisoner exchange (also called humanitarian interchange) one is looking for the liberation of prisoners on both sides. There can’t be a real humanitarian interchange in a war if you demand that only one side free its prisoners while keeping absolute silence about the prisoners on the other side. National Outcry

The media, manipulated by the Colombian government and US agencies, usually pressure the guerrilla to liberate its prisonersof-war. “Curiously”, they never mention the guerrilla fighters imprisoned by the state, some of them condemned to more than 60 years of prison. Don’t they exist? Do only the families of the prisoners held by the FARC exist? What happens to the families of the FARC prisoners who are in state prisons, in worse conditions of overcrowding and violations by the regime?


FARC prisoners in the US


n the United States, the “unparalleled paradise of human rights”, according to TV, different dissidents and rebels around the world are in jail. North American citizens, but also people from other countries. Of their own dissidents, one of the most famous cases is the leader of the Black Panthers, Mumia Abu-Jamal. There are also ex-militants of the Weather Underground. They have been in prison for decades. In addition, there are the five Cuban revolutionary militants (Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, René González and Ramón Labañino). They have been prisoners for over a decade now, because they infiltrated terrorist groups in Miami to neutralize their actions. There are also a lot of Muslim militants, subjected to the worst torture - without any juridical assistance or minimal guarantees- at the military base in Guantánamo. Together with all these people, in the US prisons there are also guerrilla fighters of the FARC: Simón Trinidad, Sonia and Iván Vargas. Some of them have been condemned to more than 60 years in prison, always in the name of “plurality” and “respect for another’s opinion”! FREEDOM FOR SIMÓN AND SONIA!

Simón Trinidad, Sonia and Iván Vargas have been extradited to the US exclusively for political reasons, violating the Colombian Constitution and its own bourgeois penal legislation, with ridiculous lies and legal arrangements, trying to associate them with drug-trafficking. The objective? To blackmail the FARC so that it will give up its struggle, demobilizes and surrenders.


Prisoners held by the insurgency


mong the prisoners who have been held by the FARC there were different kinds: a) those detained for economic reasons (for example, because they didn’t respect Law 002 about peace taxes); b) military and police (captured in combat), c) CIA agents who operated in Colombia and d) militaristic politicians who incited war against the people from their privileged social positions. Under what conditions have these prisoners been living? All the personalities who visited these prisoners - they have been interviewed and filmed- agree on the fact that it’s a difficult situation, but, as one of the FARC comandantes stressed, “none of them are on vacation, they are prisoners, products of the confrontation…but they have their food supply, they are respected by our combatants and they have the possibility of minimal interchange between them, etc.”.

An illustrative case, used many times in the media campaign against the FARC, is the case of Ingrid Betancourt, ex-candidate for president. The big media insisted, many times, on the fact that she was “on the verge of dying”, that she “was undernourished…” according to a high official of the Colombian state, she “looked like a child from Ethiopia”. Yet, when she came out, the entire world could see Ingrid Betancourt’s conditions. She was absolutely healthy! Curiously, no one was surprised and no one wondered if everything said before had been a lie. Another typical case was the one of the three CIA agents - called “cooperating civilians” by the international media-. Once liberated, the Colombian state forgot about the war prisoners held by the guerrilla. Many of the military and officers who are still held by the insurgency are waiting for the government to accept a prisoner exchange.


Human rights violations and disappearances


he Working Group on Forced Disappearance of the United Nations denounced the Colombian state for 351 proven cases which occurred between 1979 and 1986. The disappearances increased. According to that organization, “in Colombia there are still cases of forced disappearances. Only in exceptional situations do you hear of such cases in other Latin American countries, but not as in Colombia”. (24th of July 2006). Wizard to disappear Colombian people

In 2007 there were 4,323 reportedly disappeared people in Colombia. In 2008, 15,696 and the number has increased significantly: 18,236 cases in 2009, for a total of 38,255 people reported disappeared. The biggest number of disappeared is in Antioquia, where it grew from 471 cases in 2008 to 3,976 in 2009. Next is Bogotá, where in 2009 3,769 cases were registered and Valle del Cauca, with 1,929 cases. (see Noticias Caracol, 12/11/2010). These are official data of Forensis, the magazine that reports annually about crime in Colombia. This is democracy! Without anyone batting an eyelash about it! As if it were something “normal” for the dissidents to have simply vanished… There’s nothing to envy in comparison with generals Pinochet, Videla, Banzer, Stroessner… This is exactly the “Democratic Security” of presidents Uribe and Santos who, beside this, during their criminal government, caused some 5 million people to be displaced, and a counter-agrarian reform which allowed a bigger concentration of lands.


Mass graves and “False Positives”


nother terrorist method applied by the Colombian state is the “False Positives” (that is, civilians assassinated by the Army and presented as guerrilla fighters killed in combat). According to the United Nations, the systematic assassinations of young people and peasants committed by the Colombian Army to make them look like guerrilla fighters totals 1,800. The number was published in a report by the UN envoy, Philip Alston, who was in Colombia to investigate those cases. Alston blamed the compensation system, established by Uribe and Santos’ “Democratic Security” to defeat the FARC. According to the UN, in the year 2003, there was already some information about these “False Positives”, although the scandal came to public light only recently in 2007. Other studies show that since 2002, when Uribe became president, the extrajudicial executions of civilians have cost the lives of more than 3,000 people, some 160 of them underage. You have some Hitler the teacher outstanding pupils in Colombia

They do not only disappear people who express an opinion or who disagree, opponents and militants who try to organize the popular sectors. Worse, the Colombian state doesn’t present the corpses of the supposed “guerrilla fighters” they assassinate. To these astounding figures, we can add more than 2,000 unidentified corpses, buried in the biggest mass grave in Latin America, located in a little town called La Macarena, Meta, 200 kilometers South of Bogotá. This is a mass grave, which is bigger than the ones in Chile, Argentina, Peru and Guatemala. In pure Nazi style, this is always done in the name of “freedom”.


Continuation of the FARC-EP’s Strategic Plan


n spite of the cruel repression and the attempt to criminalize any popular protest, the FARC continued developing its long-term Strategic Plan for the Colombian revolution. In the middle of this dispute with the Colombian state and with the intervention -now direct- of the United States, the FARC complemented their plan for armed struggle with social and political alliance projects with the popular movements. The objective was to create a National Constituent Assembly to define a new country and a new political regime, radically changing the social and political structures of the state.

Two initiatives at the same time: Neither only revolutionary war or only political activity. Both! The most important ideas of Lenin, the great legacy of the Vietnamese, the historical experience of Marulanda. Combine all methods of struggle, fight and debate on any field. The FARC-EP believes that all the different methods of mass struggle should be kept in mind. The guerrilla is a central part of it, but it’s not the only part. The FARC-EP sees revolution as a wide range of converging methods of struggle in which the peoples’ insurrection in the big cities will join the offensive of the insurgent movement. Together with the guerrilla movement goes a political party and mass organizations, including social organizations as well as the clandestine Bolivarian movement.


Bolivarian platform for the New Colombia


n their Manifesto of September 2007, the FARC put forth for the consideration of the country and its political and social organizations, the Bolivarian Platform for a New Colombia. It was a contribution to the discussion and interchange about the ideas and program of a new government. The FARC proposed it should be patriotic, democratic, Bolivarian, and moving towards a new social order, committed to a political solution of this conflict.

A new government, that should bring the political and social project of the Liberator (Bolívar) into existence, and create a new Bolivarian Army to defend the nation and social security. A new order built on democracy and people’s sovereignty, which should add moral and electoral power to the three traditional powers and establish a unicameral legislature and provisions for recall. A new system of government, which would put an end to neo-liberal policies, assume control of the strategic sectors and stimulate production in all ways, which would demand respect for the nation’s sovereignty regarding its natural resources and implementing efficient policies to preserve the environment.


First the nation’s sovereignty


nd the FARC continues: A government, which ensures free education on all levels, implements social insertion and agrarian justice, re-negotiates contracts with transnational corporations which are harmful to the nation, cancels military pacts, treaties and agreements which blemish the nation’s sovereignty and which doesn’t extradite Colombian citizens and cancels the external debt payment concerning fraudulent loans from any period. External debt makes the country bleed

A government, whose international politics are based on the Great Nation and Socialism, and whose priority is the integration of the people of Our America. That’s why the FARC’s policy on borders is based on brotherhood, not on confrontation with the armies of neighboring countries.


Clandestine political construction


earning their lessons from the extermination suffered by the leaders and militants of the Patriotic Union in the late nineteen-eighties, the FARC initiated the political construction of a mass movement; open, democratic, patriotic, anti-imperialist, but clandestine: the Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia. Democratic agrarian reform

At the same time, the FARC considered the problem of financial resources, which are vital for the implementation of the Strategic Plan. They re-configured the Central High Command of the insurgency (increasing it to 31 members). They also established specific responsibilities for every comandante who was going to be in charge of the governmental structures on national, regional and municipal level, considering the possibility of the seizure of power via armed uprising. The FARC planned beforehand what this future government would look like, in the hands of people and revolutionaries. They already had a concrete governmental plan and specific measures to take in case of a popular victory.


Two ways towards revolution and socialism


eanwhile, as the political analyses of the situation in Colombia were diverging between the FARC and the Communist Party, upon whom it had drawn historically, the insurgency decided to promote the construction of a Clandestine Communist Party (PCCC) without confronting the other, legal, CP but with its own, autonomous perspectives and organization. The FARC and the PCCC on the one hand and the PCC on the other, proposed different ways to arrive at socialism and communism. According to the ideas of the FARC comandantes “we will probably meet again along the way”. The real problem in this political debate was the issue of power, central axis of the revolution in any country of the world. Contrary to the postmodern ideas that advocate “changing the world without taking power”, the FARC thinks that it is not possible to get to genuine, profound, structural, long-term changes, if you avoid the problem of the seizure of power. Only by taking over power will we be able to carry out big transformations

The FARC-EP defines itself as a political armed party. A communist party of Marxist, Leninist and Bolivarian inspiration. Its political structure corresponds to the Leninist principles of organization, adapted to Colombian reality. Every combat squad works as a political party cell, with periodic meetings. The squad comandantes can’t be politically in charge of their cell (in this way, they allow discussion and democracy, interchange of opinions and self-criticism).


Insurgent tasks and political strategy


n the FARC’s political strategy, there are several fundamental tasks for the accumulation and development of the guerrilla force in different phases: a) the increasing the number of combatants, b) the strengthening of Fronts, c) the achievement and improvement of means for confrontation, d) the construction of strategic routes, e) the consolidation of mass organizations, f) the construction of the Clandestine Communist Party-PCCC, g) the deployment of the Bolivarian Movement, h) the development of urban military structures, i) the multiplication of the Bolivarian militias in the countryside and in the cities, j) the strengthening of mass fronts. The solution is in our hands


This wide range of converging forces has one common goal: to sustain the insurrectional uprising and the unification of popular struggles and the guerrilla forces.


Political education in the FARC-EP


o know how to combine all methods of struggle, it will be necessary to insist again and again on the political education of militants and leaders. In the FARC-EP, political education revolves around Bolivarian ideas and the classics of Marxism, especially Latin American. They try to develop a comprehensive education. For that purpose, there are different kinds of schools. From the moment a combatant joins the organization, one’s educational process begins; in the first place, in daily life, in his or her relationship with other, more experienced combatants; secondly, in a series of basic, technical and specialized classes, and also schools for comandantes.

Guides of the revolutionary way

In these schools they study a series of subjects or specializations like cartography, combat intelligence, explosives. There are also classes on economics, philosophy, clandestine mass organizational work, marksmanship theory and practice, snipers. To educate the number of comandantes required for the implementation of the Strategic Plan, this educational system includes a school for comandantes called Hernando GonzĂĄlez Acosta.


The FARC, counter-hegemony and the battle of ideas


onfronting the big media monopolies (belonging to a small number of millionaire families like president Santos’), who spread a one-dimensional, McCarthyist, repressive, anti-communist rhetoric, which is always docile toward the USA, the insurgency tries to develop a counter-hegemonic communication. With few resources, without the oligarchy’s big money, the FARC broadcasts through the Bolivarian Radio Chain, “Voz de la Resistencia” (Voice of Resistance), which transmits from the Colombian jungle.

Far from the supposed “lack of ideology”, which some badlyinformed analysts attribute to it, the insurgency also has its political magazine “Resistencia” (national and international) in which it puts forth its views on Colombian society, its press agencies, its websites (see the references at the end of this book), its folders and theoretical literature. A whole network of cultural and communication counter-hegemonical institutions to conduct the battle of ideas, culturally and politically, against the totalitarian rhetoric and the mind’s manipulation by the oligarchic power.


The Bogotรก media


he new forms of domination combine repressive aplication of state terror (which leaves mass graves, thousands and thousands of forced disappeared people, entire villages of displaced people (more than 5 million according to the Colombian Supreme Court), paramilitarism, hundreds of political prisioners, etc.) with the media manufacturing consent. Therefore, the Colombian bourgeoisie has a whole series of TV channels, radio, printed press and different media, dependent upon the repressive and oligarchic regime.

The guerrilla is bad, the USA is marvellous. Torturers are excellent fathers. People are poor because they want to be so


Why has it taken so long to take power in Colombia?


hy has the Colombian revolution taken so long? When will the FARC-EP undertake its final offensive? Why didn’t Marulanda and his combatants take power in a short time? To answer these questions, it’s necessary to have a look at different issues, for example the correlation of forces and the revolutionary situation. The situation in Colombia is not the same as the situation in Cuba before 1959. The genocide against our people has been much bigger than the repression of the Batista dictatorship

Social revolutions are not carried out according to the wishful thinking or the individual whim of one or another person. There are certain conditions which make the revolutionary solution to a crisis possible or impossible. In Colombia, and in any country of the world. The fact that the Colombian revolution takes so long doesn’t mean that it is impossible or not feasible. In other societies, the revolutionary would have to struggle for many years, too (two analogous social and historical examples are the Vietnamese and the Chinese revolutions, among others, where the social conflict wasn’t resolved in a few years, in a rural “flash” war as in the Cuban revolution or through quick urban insurrections like in the Russian revolution).


What is a revolutionary situation?


evolutions don’t arise because of magic or because of a revolutionary’s desire. To produce a revolutionary crisis, contradictions and conditions will have to converge at the same time. Lenin, trying to get over the mechanical idea that places all its hopes only on the economic crisis, following Marx and Engels, argued that, it is not only economic crises which produce a revolutionary situation. This presumes objective, but also subjective changes. To the dialectical method of Marxism, the objective and subjective circumstances are added and they are mutually interdependent. To open the possibility of a revolution, there’ll have to come together several circumstances. The most important is mass activity, the subjective dimension.

The objective circumstances of a revolutionary situation have to do with the unresolved problems of capitalist production and the economic crisis. The subjective condition refers to the organizational level, consciousness and popular mass and workers struggle. Both of these are affected by power relationships between social classes. The conditions are never complete if there doesn’t exist an active and organized intervention by the popular masses. “For a revolution to break out - warned Lenin- it’s not enough that the ones from below don’t want to keep on living as they did before. It is also necessary that the ones from above cannot continue governing as they did before”.


The armed struggle: more in force than ever before


obile guerrilla warfare as a tactic offers great possibilities for the insurgency to act under any circumstance. They can easily change from resistance in the deepest jungle to action in the peripheries of municipalities and cities. Their action can get to the economic heart of the country; it can be manifested on transportation and on critical points of the energy infrastructure and road networks. Specialists

I’ve killed hundreds of Palestinian women and children

You’re hired to do the same thing in Colombia OK

Growing misery, forced displacements, false positives, the everyday appearance of mass graves, unemployment, the unfulfillment of the social debt, the indignant surrender of national sovereignty to the United States, is a powerful time-bomb about to explode. Social disconformity, together with the military action of the guerrilla force can, as Marulanda said, open the doors to a new social order, marked by justice.


The impotence of the Colombian army concerning the FARC-EP


he Colombian army refuses to consider the FARC a serious and irresolvable problem for them. However, the reality is different: a) the Bolivarian FARC is structured into seven Blocks, so the Santanderist army has been organized into seven divisions; b) the Secretariat members of the FARC are seven, so the army calls upon seven Israeli generals and Mossad officers to plan the infiltration and selective assassination of every single Secretariat member, and, c) the Colombian army considers that they are not able to defeat the FARC, so they directly call upon the military forces of the North American South Command to operate seven military bases on Colombian territory.

The South Command gives orders to the Colombian army

Go on fighting, idiot, I’m the one in charge


US South Command intervention


he pretexts and conflict hypotheses of the North Americans in Colombia are: a) Combat against the internal enemy (like in the National Security doctrine, NSD), b) Struggle against communism (as in the good old days of the Cold War, supposedly over), and c) The confrontation against what they call “narcoterrorism”. Many actions, missions and operations by the Colombian army are directly conducted by North American officers from the South Command settled in the Larandia base (Caquetá) and the Tres Esquinas base (gringo military base). They even give orders and instructions in English in the middle of operations. You, undeveloped one,bring me some toilet paper

Colombian army subordinated to the gringos

Yes, sir, at your service

The Mossad and the Israeli army also operate in Colombia, together with the CIA and the South Command of the Yankee army. Their intervention doesn’t have anything to do with protection of Jewish people (there are few Jews in Colombia). It is motivated by drug-trafficking and by geopolitical interests shared with Yankee imperialism. The Israeli advisors have been present in Colombia at least since 1987, through “security” companies like the Israel Trading Corporation (Isrex) or Spearhead. Besides their normal advice and intervention, since 2010, the armed forces of Israel have assigned generals and officers to Colombia, each one of them dedicated especially to the seven FARC-EP Secretariat comandantes, in order to assassinate them.


The South Command’s “Plan Patriota”


t’s a counter-insurgency plan designed by the South Command strategists of the US army. It is directed by North American officers in the theater of operations. The Colombian military commanders just act like subordinates of the gringos. Their plans are being executed by professional soldiers or mercenaries structured basically into Mobile Brigades.

Plan Patriota’s headquarters is located at the military base of Larandia, Caquetá. To plan and conduct the operations, they have access to real-time satellite information and databases, obtained through technical intelligence and spy airplanes with and without crews. The satellite radar station is located on the Tres Esquinas airbase, some kilometers down, near the Orteguaza River. In reality, Tres Esquinas is a secret United States’ military base, located exactly at the point where the Amazon starts, coveted by the empire.


CIA and Mossad: intervention in the internal conflict


lan Patriota, derived from Plan Colombia, is the military component of the so-called “democratic security�: security for foreign investments and different kinds of coercion aimed at suffocating growing social discontent. The most important objective of this proposal is the illusion of the military defeat of the FARC-EP Bolivarian guerrilla force. The Washington hawks think that they can eliminate an important element that seriously challenges their continental domination. This is the location of the main camp of the FARC-EP

Hundreds of gringo, Israeli and British military advisors participate in this labor. They personally conduct the technical intelligence from the most important garrisons in the country. They hope to obtain results with the introduction of microchips or positioning accessories (GPS) and with the Air Force’s precision bombings of guerrilla camps.


A Strategy that involves all the State’s resources


he Caguán peace dialogues were only a stratagem of the Bogota and Washington governments to gain time for the army to “re-engineer” itself and to do some final retouching on Plan Colombia. Their peace strategy has always been based on a policy of forcing the insurgency to surrender. The pain of the displaced people

While it was dialoging in El Caguán, the government was creating new Mobile Brigades, high mountain battalions, and improving their military equipment. When Plan Patriota began, the state, reinforced by the paramilitaries, concentrated their fire against the FARC’s Bloques and tried to destroy the clandestine organization and what they considered the guerrilla’s support bases (massive raids, forced displacements, false positives, etc.). In economic terms, they established war taxes and they reduced social investment. They criminalized protests and political expression. While they gave away the judicial sovereignty by extraditing Colombian citizens to the United States, the congress, taken by para-politics, subordinated itself to the executive’s dictates.


The force deployment


he first step was the deployment of forces over a wide circle in Caquetá, Meta and Guaviare. From the occupied points, the advance began with the illusion of a big general headquarters which could never exist because of the guerrilla’s mobile warfare. It was more like reconnaissance on the ground after intelligence from the air.

We have to destroy anything constructed by the FARC

The advance was preceded by violent bombings. In the first battle, 1500 guerrilla fighters of the FARC Bloque Oriental confronted several of the official army’s Mobile Brigades, averaging one guerrilla fighter against 15 soldiers. A little bit to the West, in El Billar, 800 guerrilla fighters of the Bloque Sur fought the infantry troops and the Air Force for three months.


All the state’s firepower in action


reviously, the operational command had ordered construction of dozens of secret heliports in the middle of the jungle, in order to land troops. With the battles, the routes and roads were blocked to cut the flow of the insurgent’s weapons and ammunition. A strict control over the rivers was established and the peasant population was forced to leave the area.

The air was taken over by technical intelligence, bombers and airborne missions. Their objective was not only the guerrilla force, but also the destruction of all infrastructure (machines, cars, repair garages, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, storage places, fuel depots, etc.) and to sow terror among the population.


Marulanda commands the resistance


he army advanced massively and with sufficient firepower. They advanced in rows of 300 men separated by a distance of 100 to 200 meters, covering a terrain of 8 or even more kilometers. They moved forward slowly. To advance, they had to wait for the route to be “cleared” by bombers and heavy artillery. Commander-in-Chief Manuel Marulanda calculated that 50 per cent of the force penetrated on foot, while the rest landed in dozens of airborne missions day and night.

The guerrilla fighters received them with their mobile guerrilla warfare. The enemy had to confront an extremely fluid, hard-to-find adversary. Soon the guerrilla Commander-in-Chief realized that combat in the jungle didn’t have good results. There was little precision, because of a lack of visibility. The terrain was unfavorable. In semi-covered areas, the guerrilla’s attack was more efficient because it allowed shooting more precisely.


The command war in the jungle


he FARC-EP commands appeared and disappeared, attacked by surprise. They planned their movements and explorations very well. They located the enemy and when he was moving, they went into action. The attack on the vanguard, the rearguard, or on the flanks was mixed with mines or snipers, which was a lethal combination.

The Nuevo Arco Iris Foundation, which analyzed the evolution of the Colombian war, estimated that the army had achieved superiority in the air, but they made clear that on the ground, the initiative was on the guerrilla’s side. (We don’t know the parameters for measuring such “superiority in the air”, since the guerrilla doesn’t have any air force). “The psychological impact of the mines and the action by small commands over the adversary was so devastating” they declared, “that it can stop or obstruct the troops’ advance completely”.


The guerrilla has assimilated the army’s new operational modality


t’s obvious that the insurgency has assimilated the new operational modality implemented by the South Command. But there’s one thing that the Nuevo Arco Iris Foundation didn’t manage to see: the elevated morale of the guerrilla combatants. The guerrilla fighters who are wounded during the confrontation, don’t even wait for their wounds to cure completely when they are asking to be sent to the frontline again. This is ridiculous! They make us break our legs to defend capitalists

In the middle of the conflict, of the annihilation bombings, the FARC guerrilla never interrupted its activities for a second: the military schools, the war surgery in the jungle, the supply of all necessary things to meet the logistical requirements of the conflict. Plan Patriota hasn’t been an obstacle for high commands on all levels to attend their meetings. If any of their comandantes fall in combat, there is always ready a list of capable comandantes to replace them. The strength of the FARC lies in its cohesion, in the clarity of its principles and in the support of the population.


The new North American bases and Plan Colombia


s the official armed forces couldn’t handle the insurgency, they appealed for direct North American intervention. Therefore, the Colombian state, managed by a decadent and dependent bourgeoisie, without a suitable project for the nation, handed over seven military bases to the United States: the bases of Malambo, Atlántico; Palanquero, in Magdalena Medio; Apiay, in Meta; the naval bases of Cartagena and the Pacífico; and the training center of Tolemaida and the Army’s Larandia base in Caquetá. Count on us This is my real objective

The USA is the main promoter of war in Colombia. Plan Colombia has invested 10 billion dollars in the war. The objective? To defeat the insurgency by military means and to get control over the Amazon, petroleum resources and raw materials, which are already starting to be scarce in the USA. Plan Colombia, in its original design, was the military component of the general plan for imperial domination over Our America, together with Plan Puebla-Panama and all the other plans, the trans-nationalization of law and dollarization. The escalation of Plan Colombia was called “Plan Patriota”. It was a qualitative leap in which the US took direct control over the war. When General Padilla, being commander-in-chief of the Colombian army, received his boss from the North -docile, obedient and with open arms- he declared: “This is about strengthening a relationship which has been successful with access to Colombian military bases. They are not North American bases, they are Colombian, but we offer them the possibility of using our installations”. A real patriot!


The Colombian army and Yankee technology


n direct combat with the guerrilla force, the Colombian army is usually defeated, in spite of counting on a force of 500,000. But their technological superiority, thanks to North American instruments (spy satellites, night heat-detectors looking for guerrilla camps, high-technology un-piloted aircrafts, etc.) allows them to dream about blocking the insurgent advance. If in 1964 the United States “donated” 30 million dollars to be used against the guerrilla force, in 1999 this same country “gave away” 16 billion dollars to support “Plan Patriota” against the same enemy. Until 2006, the US had already invested 4 billion dollars in this plan. The Colombia state received the largest “aid” (in reality a military investment) from the US in all of Latin America. To be able to act against this amazing gringo military “aid”, the insurgency had to rely many times on homemade and artisanal weaponry. David against Goliath

They are fabricating massive destructive armament

With a lot of cynicism, the Colombian military and many journalists paid by them, question the mines used by the insurgency in Colombia’s mountains and jungles. It would be so easy to stop using those mines…if the Colombian Army and their Pentagon bosses stopped bombing…. Something similar happened in other decades to the Vietnamese, Algerian and Palestinian revolutionaries. When the hypocritical and cynical journalists, paid by the powerful, suggested stopping the bombs, an FLN leader from Algeria responded: “If you just gave us your bombers, we would be pleased to give you our homemade bombs”.


The crisis of bourgeois civilization and the Colombian conflict


he capitalist system is a battered and listing boat heading for the storm under the impulse of consecutive bursts of crisis (economic, energy, environmental, technological, militaryindustrial, etc.). It is heading to its own grave. Conditions are changing in favor of the excluded. A new civilization of justice and humanity is possible through struggle and popular mobilization. They win, but in the movies Boss, we are winning the war

Turning its back on this reality, the Colombian oligarchy, drunk with triumphalism, is talking about the end of the end of the guerrilla, as if the conflict could be settled with spells or magical tricks. The ruling class’ autism doesn’t allow them to imagine the defeat of the military industrial complex in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever the oligarchy says through its misleading media factories, in Colombia the US South Command’s Plan Patriota has not defeated Manuel’s insurgency.


And the Bolivarian military?

We have to cut all the guerrilla fighters into pieces with motor chains. They are bandits.

But my general‌ they are Bolivarian! Our enemy is not the guerrilla, it is the gringo’s arrogance in our country, don’t you think so?


Patriotic policy towards the Armed Forces

Not all the military are assassins or willing to serve the empire. What do you think, Manuel?

You’re right, Jacobo. There are also patriotic and Bolivarian soldiers, who feel uncomfortable serving the USA. In the FARC we reach out to them and we consider them our brothers.


The FARC’s border policy


he FARC, inspired by Bolívar, doesn’t consider the armies of the neighboring countries to be its enemies. It fights against the armed forces of the Santanderist oligarchy and their external advisors from the great powers who operate on Colombian territory, mostly North Americans (but also Israelis). Puppet governments

The FARC considers that the military confrontation of which it is part and in which it participates, is a Colombian internal civil war, started a long time ago (during “La Violencia”, the period following Gaitán’s assassination), which could be transformed into a patriotic war if the United States decided to further increase its direct counter-insurgency intervention, as it did in South Vietnam to sustain a puppet and dependent regime.


The FARC, patriotism and internationalism


imón Bolívar’s political project was the Great Nation, a unifying dream of many peoples and cultures, improving the “small nations” (or small fragmented republics, inherited from the European colonial administrations). Socialism and communism, inspired by Marx and Lenin’s ideas, also seek active international solidarity among the exploited and the wretched of the Earth. Being a child of these two liberation traditions, Bolívar’s patriotic ideas and Marx and Lenin’s communist ideas, the FARC is a patriotic political force, which is internationalist at the same time.

José Martí, internationalist

Homeland is humanity

José Martí

In the FARC, internationalism is not just a sentiment on paper. On the contrary, it’s about concrete and active internationalism. An internationalism closely bound up with the members of the FARC-EP (as in Bolívar’s time, in the insurgency not only Colombian men and women, but also militants from other countries participate, who feel part of its project) and to the FARC’s solidarity with other struggles (such as the Palestinian, Basque, Cuban, Venezuelan, Ecuadorian and all Latin America’s struggle). There isn’t anything more akin to Marx and Lenin’s internationalism than the unifying project of the Bolivarian Great Nation. It’s no coincidence that José Martí summarized this as “Homeland is humanity”.


Solidarity with the FARC struggle: A commitment of the revolutionaries of the world

“There, deep in the jungle, where the hyperbole of the bomber explodes the thunder, untying the fierce song of the Kalashnikov… There, where Bolívar’s flame flickers and the invisible ones resist, Manuel’s insurgents, wrapped in the smoke of forgetting, of gunpowder spread by the wind…There, where the curtain of bullets and fire stopped the massive advance of the troops and made them wander without objectives in the jungle, there you can hear the hurt voice of Guevara: “It is not a matter of wishing success to the victim of aggression, but of sharing his fate; one must accompany him to his death or to victory” The fire of the invisible ones, my brother, is everybody’s fire”…. Solidarity will open the ways of hope for us.


Revolutionary women in the FARC-EP


t has been very difficult for the Colombian government and military intelligence to explain the numerous and powerful presence of female combatants in the FARC-EP. Since they cannot hide them anymore (for example, in some documentary movies many guerrilla women appear), their argument is that “they are forced to be there�. The machismo of traditional Colombian society and their elites in power is uncomfortable with the equalitarian way of life in the insurgency and its behavior toward the civil population.

Intelligence, courage, beauty, happiness and struggle


Indigenous people in the FARC-EP


he Colombian government’s attitude towards indigenous people is the same one as the dominant Creole classes had long ago, since they are the direct heirs of the Spanish colonialists. Racism, persecution, discrimination, under-estimation, and, in the best case, paternalism. The indigenous people are seen as an obstacle to be eliminated. The Colombian oligarchy uses their paramilitaries to expell them, to displace them and to get control of their lands. The FARC-EP, contrary to the official propaganda (and to many prejudices in European universities, who express their superficial opinion by trying to counterpose the FARC-EP to the Zapatistas), have maintained patient, long-term political work in the heart of Colombia’s indigenous communities. Indian, we discover you

Me also discover your bad intentions. Kill us and steal our lands

It’s not true that Marxism is contrary, alien or indifferent to the native cultures of Our America. Already in the period of the Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui, the problems of the indigenous world were among the main concerns of Latin American Marxism, which inspires the FARC-EP. Examples include the book “Tayrone stories” (Relatos Tayronas) where they recollect experiences with the indigenous communities of Arhuacas, Wiwas, Koguis and Kankuamas of Colombia.


FARC-EP and the insurgency’s cultural hours


re the guerrilla men and guerrilla women of the FARC robots? Are they ignorant people who don’t know what they’re fighting for and who sacrifice their lives just because? Only if you don’t know or completely ignore the real daily life of the camps and combat units of the FARC-EP can you imagine yourself that kind of guerrilla force. The insurgents, when they are not fighting, have cultural hours every day (normally in the afternoon, before going to sleep) of different types: informational, political and entertaining. Cultural Differences

Colombian army


In the informational and political cultural hours, they discuss the day’s news, first they summarize everything that happened in Colombia, in Latin America and in the world, and after that, they express opinions and discuss it. This is done every day. The FARC-EP guerrilla is an insurgency that is absolutely up-todate. Their combatants are no “reckless and dull animals, lost in the jungle without any links to civilization”, but informed people who have communist ideas. That’s why they fight, to change society. In the entertaining cultural hours they watch movies (political documentaries or features), they read poetry (written by classical poets or by the combatants themselves), they tell jokes or humorous stories and they present theatrical performances. Every now and then, if war allows, they organize dances or they perform popular music (according to the area where the guerrilla force is located and regional customs).


Theatre in the FARC-EP


here are a lot of revolutionary traditions, which have tried to separate theater from its bourgeois audience and its normal commercial circuits. From Bertold Brecht’s epic theatre in Europe and the United States to Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed’ in Brazil (influenced by Brecht and Paulo Freire), always trying to let the spectators play a leading role and the performances to break with bourgeois cultural structures and customs. The FARC-EP also tries to explore this kind of performance where guerrilla men and women are not mere spectators but play a leading role.

Who is still alive don’t say “never”; firmness is not firm; not everything will continue the same: when the dominating will have spoken, the dominated will speak; Who dares to say “never”? Who does it depend on that oppression continues? On us. Who does it depend on that it ends? On us, too. Let the one who’s defeated get up! The one who’s lost, let him struggle!

Normally, performances in the FARC-EP’s camps are done on specific dates, like the commemoration of Che Guevara’s assassination (8th of October), Simón Bolívar’s death (17th of December) or other special occasions. They can vary, including from more traditional theater works to recitals or costume balls (which they prepare with scarce resources, because of the difficulties of war) and with allegorical figures (death, the boss, landlords on the farms, the peasant, the worker, the revolutionaries, Latin American unity, etc.). You can see some of them on the Internet. These dances with theater performances are very similar to the “mystics” developed in the Movimiento Sin Tierra camps in Brazil, but carried out with Colombian objects and symbols.


The FARC-EP’s insurgent music


ll popular revolutions have created their own music, which molds the cultural identity of their peoples, apart from transmitting the message of disobedience and dreams of liberation beyond the reading audience of traditional political militancy. The folk songs of the Mexican revolution, the songs of the Spanish civil war or the Cuban Nueva Trova (new ballads) are well-known examples. The Sandinistas had their ballads, too and Chilean folklore flourished during the time of Salvador Allende. The case of the Colombian revolution and the FARCEP’s insurgent music is no exception, though different from other previously-mentioned revolutions, their rebellious music is still not sufficiently known.

The FARC-EP have interpreted and recorded more than 300 songs with varying rhythms, basically Colombian (vallenatos, cumbias, etc.) but also Andian music, tangos, merengues, rock, blues, salsa, rancheras, etc. You can hear all the FARC-EP music on Internet and it has also circulated in different countries, animating youth festivals and militant solidarity meetings.


The FARC-EP and paintings


ainting, engravings, drawings and posters have also been present in different revolutions. Who could forget all the artistic graphics of the Soviet vanguard of Lenin’s epoch? And what about the Mexican murals of Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros? Osvaldo Guayasamin was also one of the greatest Latin American painters, in spite of the fact that he didn’t count on his own revolution (Ecuador). In the case of the FARCEP, different painters have tried to continue the road where culture and revolution come together, both in figurative and in abstract art.

Painting of Inti Maleywa (FARC-EP)

The best-known case is the Colombian painter, drawer and sculptor Fernando Botero (known because of his practice of painting human figures always a lot bigger than they are in real life). Without belonging to the FARC insurgency, Botero has made a painting of comandante Manuel Marulanda Velez, causing a big national scandal. Other painters, less famous, have also tried to represent the Colombian revolution through art. One of them is Inti Maleywa, painter (and combatant) of the FARC-EP with many paintings and drawings; you can see most of her work on the Internet.


The FARC-EP and poetry


s with paintings and music, literature and particularly poetry have had a privileged place in the anti-capitalist revolutionary culture of our time. In spite of the fact that the great mind-controlling factories want to present revolutionary people as uncivilized, authoritarian monsters without culture or sensibility, who could today deny the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovski, Miguel Hernandez, Pablo Neruda, Raul Gonzalez Tunon, Cesar Vallejo, Nicolas Guillén, Victor Valera Mora, Otto Rene Castillo, Leonel Rugama, Roque Dalton and so many other communist and revolutionary poets? Didn’t Ernesto Che Guevara carry a green notebook in his guerrilla backpack when he was in Bolivia, especially dedicated to the poetry he most loved?

The FARC-EP also have their poets. Not only in the pleasure the guerrilla men and women feel for poetry (recited normally during their cultural hours) but also for their comandante’s own poetic creations. For example, some of them have published several books of poetry. On the Internet you can find their poems, collected in the book written by FARC combatants, together with international artists like the Venezuelan Paul Del Rio, the Peruvian Milagros Chávez and the Salvadoran Oktavio: “Versos insurgentes. Poesía guerrillera” (Caracas, 2007).


FARC-EP and cinema


f music, painting, literature and poetry have fired the consciences with the dreams or desires of rendition of all revolutions, what hasn’t the cinema done? Sergei Eisenstein’s armored Potemkin, for example, provided the iconography of the Bolshevik revolution which still reminds us of that assault on the sky during Lenin’s time. The Cuban documentary cinema of Santiago Alvarez left its traces in the way we recall Fidel and Che’s Rebel Army or even the Vietnamese victory and the legendary Ho Chi Minh. The FARC-EP also have their own cinema. They have often been accompanied by filmmakers who portrayed first Manuel Marulanda, and then different FARC comandantes and combatants until the present.

Manuel in the movie made by Jean Pierre Serget and Bruno Muel

One of the first documentaries about Marulanda is about Riochiquito (filmed in 1965 by the French directors Jean Pierre Serget and Bruno Muel). Followed by “50 años de monte” (50 years of jungle, s/datos, debut in 1999); “Guerrilla Girl” (2006, directed by Frank Piasecki Poulsen from Denmark) and “FARC-EP: the insurgency of the XXI century” (2009, filmed by the team Glauber Rocha and directed by Diego Rivera from Mexico), and the documental saga of the Colombian journalist and writer Jorge Enrique Botero.


FARC-EP in the history of Latin American Marxism


ontrary to those who intend to present it as a sub-product, derived mechanically from the Cold War, the reason for being, the political identity and the history of the FARC-EP are a fundamental part of political culture and the contemporary history of Colombia and Latin America. If you don’t have any knowledge about Colombian history, its class struggles, its unresolved conflicts and its civil war, you won’t understand anything about the FARC-EP. Anyone who intends to give an opinion about the insurgency (for or against) without taking into account the historical and social context of Colombia and Latin America, past, present and future, can hardly express a correct point of view.


The general history of popular struggles and Latin American rebelliousness, has been one of fighting for more than five centuries against colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist domination. The FARC-EP is part of a specific tradition: Latin American Marxism. In the heart of this movement, we find Manuel Marulanda and he will be there together with Jose Carlos MariĂĄtegui, Julio Antonio Mella, AnĂ­bal Norberto Ponce, Luis Emilio Recabarren, Agustin Farabundo Marti, Luis Carlos Prestes, Fidel Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara, Miguel Enriquez, Raul Sendic, Camilo Torres, Turcios Lima, Carlos Fonseca, Schafick Handal, and so many other continental revolutionaries.


Noam Chomsky on the Colombian State and the FARCEP Referring to those who accuse the FARC of “under-estimating legal political action” or “privileging the violent way of weapons”, North American thinker and investigator Noam Chomsky, in his book “Rogue States. The role of force in world affairs”, recalled the selective and planned massacre against the Patriotic Union and its thousands of militants and activists assassinated in the name of “democracy”. The old trick to invade and rob

The struggle against drug trafficking is the excuse, our target is the FARC

ng turi Tor book d Han


Moreover, the North American thinker reminds the FARC’s critics that, according to Human Rights Watch, the Colombian state has produced “the biggest displaced population in the world, after Sudan and Angola”. Questioning the genocidal policies of the Colombian state, Chomsky harshly criticized the so-called “anti-drug policy” implemented by Plan Colombia. According to him, “the target of Plan Colombia are the guerrilla forces, mainly consisting of peasants, who demand internal social change, which would interfere with the elite’s integration related to United States interests, which are guaranteeing privileged access to the valuable resources of Colombia, including petroleum, which is very likely to be an important factor behind Plan Colombia (…). In standard US terminology, the FARC forces are narco-guerrillas, which is a useful concept to cover counter-insurgency operations, but which has been questioned by well-informed observers”.


James Petras and José Saramago about the FARC-EP


n a letter published on the 19th of July 2007, James Petras, the prestigious sociologist of New York University (USA), reproached the Portuguese writer José Saramago because of his criticism of the Colombian FARC insurgency. In this letter, Petras wrote: “Recently, Colombia (despicable because of its death squads sponsored by the government and because of the peasant massacres) became the favorite place for some of the best-known Western intellectuals to dictate their moral thesis…condemning the Cuban Revolution (Susan Sontag) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Mr. Jose Saramago). -In Colombia there’s no guerrilla, they are simply armed bands-. You say that they are not really communists because, -they are dedicated to kidnapping and assassination, violating human rights-. You generously admit that - maybe in the beginning they were (communists) but not anymore-. Let’s discuss guerrillas in Colombia, particularly the FARC”.


Petras continued: “You acknowledge that, at the beginning, the FARC might have been communists…but not so later on? 20 years later the FARC negotiated a peace agreement with president Betancourt, so that a lot of their militants and some of their leaders could form a party, the Patriotic Union, and compete in elections. Between 1984-1989, the Colombian army, police and death squads murdered more than 5000 members and electoral activists, including two presidential candidates. The FARC returned to armed struggle. This was the point when they ceased to be communists? (…). I would like you to give me an answer to the question why the FARC-EP’s proposals about the agrarian reform and demilitarization are being supported by millions of peasants, dispossessed and tortured by the Colombian government (…) The guerrilla -the FARC and ELN- are today, and they have always been, guerrilla forces. They are armed because they have to be so, because Colombia needs some basic changes and the political system doesn’t allow other means, for example, elections without terror or intimidation”.


Manuel’s deaths


fter having maintained an uninterrupted rebellion during six decades -some called him “the oldest guerrilla fighter on the continent”- Manuel Marulanda Vélez died of natural causes on the 26th of March, 2008. He counted on the honor, not provided by any official medals of the Santanderist army, of having confronted 17 governments of the Colombian bourgeoisie over 60 years: Mariano Ospina Pérez (1946-1950); Laureano Gómez Castro (1950-1951); Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez (1951-1953); Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (1953-1957); government’s military junta (1957-1958); Alberto Lleras Camargo (1958-1962); Guillermo León Valencia (1962-1966); Carlos Lleras Restrepo (1966-1970); Misael Pastrana Borrero (1970-1974); Alfonso López Michelsen (19741978); Julio César Turbay Ayala (1978-1982); Belisario Betancur Cuartas (1982-1986); Virgilio Barco Vargas (1986-1990); César Gaviria Trujillo (1990-1994); Ernesto Samper Pizano (1994-1998); Andrés Pastrana Arango (1998-2002) and Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2008, year in which Manuel passed away because of natural causes).



None of these oligarchical governments could compel him to yield, to exhaust him of buy him out. By no means could they defeat him. It was exactly the same for all the North American administrations he confronted, without ever remaining idle. Manuel died with his head high, beloved by many humble Colombian people (and people from other countries), without ever giving up the banner of his struggle. He said goodbye exactly in the same way in which he started, without material wealth, completely sure of his political project, surrounded by a lot of affection and with great moral prestige.

Sixty years. The dwarfs repeat the same thing

We surrounded him

He’s almost falling


Manuel’s lives


ccording to the memories of his friends and his combatants and all the people who knew him, Manuel Marulanda Vélez had always been, since he was young, a great joker (“mamador de gallo” is the Colombian expression). He had a foolproof sense of humor. One of the jokes that he most liked to tell was of his numerous deaths announced periodically by the Colombian ruling class on the radio, in the newspapers and on television. Since they couldn’t defeat him in real life, they defeated him….in their dreams. And they even believed those funny stories themselves! What a disillusionment! It was only a dream that Tirofijo had been eliminated

The different versions of his repeated supposed “deaths” (In 1964, 1970, 1995 and 2004, to mention only some) are so ridiculous and even comical that the Colombian writer Arturo Alape wrote the biographical book “The lives of Pedro Antonio Marín”.


And after Manuel…? Easy, the struggle continues


o one fights or struggles alone (except for the Yankee mercenaries, tall and blond, who always triumph in Vietnam…. according to Hollywood war movies). In real life, big political personalities stand out in history, but they are always part of a community. Marulanda is no exception.

I, Rambo, will kill the entire FARC by myself Yes, but only in the movies

As a founder and maximum comandante of the FARC-EP and the Colombian revolution, Manuel’s biggest virtue and merit has been the creation of a collective, political organization that has managed to last (and grow) in time. He had enough lucidity to avoid the presumption of many leaders who thought that without them… everything would be lost. In the case of the Colombian guerrilla, nothing similar happened. Therefore, when Marulanda died, nobody became an orphan. They have mourned his death. He was really loved, respected and admired. But… the struggle goes on. The insurgency has said so, and its Secretariat named the communist militant Alfonso Cano (who was educated since he was young at Marulanda and Jacobo Arenas’ side) as the new Commander-in-Chief of the FARC-EP.


Demobilization and surrender?


n Colombia, different insurgent groups have demobilized and surrendered during the last decades. They fought for some time and then they got tired of it. They became “realistic”. They entered the system. That’s what the M-19, as well as the indigenous group Quintín Lame and an important sector of the Popular Liberation Army, have done.

Have they achieved anything by surrendering? Has Colombia changed? Is there less injustice? The answers are obvious… every time there is more violence. To the habitual repressive power of the state apparatus -with ten thousand disappeared in the last three years- now you can add the seven gringo military bases. Poverty hasn’t ceased growing. Same thing for inequality and exclusion. The pyramids that measure personal income show a bigger social polarization every time. The distance between the richest and the poorest grows geometrically.


The FARC-EP and courses on “Manuel Marulanda”


n the same way as was done since 1997, with the 30th anniversary of Che Guevara’s death, lately there have started to flourish on the whole continent “Political educational courses on Manuel Marulanda”. Following Bolivar



of t



In this political educational space, his ideas, his strategy and also the place of the Colombian insurgency in Latin American Marxism today, are being discussed. New generations of Colombian and Latin American youth, who hadn’t even been born when Manuel fought in Marquetalia, today learn from his story and his life to continue the struggle and try to make his dreams come true on a national, continental and worldwide scale.


BolĂ­var comes back!


fter the hegemony of neo-liberalism and post-modernism, the disobedient and liberation message of SimĂłn BolĂ­var returns to the scene.

No movement can triumph without knowing the history of its nation

The Great Colombia, as a fraternizing category of peoples and cultures and the Great Nation as a project of global emancipation, today nourish rebelliousness in jungles and mountains, in cities and countrysides, in factories and neighborhoods, at schools and universities.


The battle for definitive independence


s the FARC’s communiqué on the two hundred years of independence makes clear: battle continues. “There is a spiral which goes up to reach freedom. The struggle of the patriots of the XIX century has a close connection to the struggle of the patriots of the XXI century (…)

This Bolivar is a terrorist, he is against me

I could finance some “paras” and…

The struggle for definitive independence is not only bound up with the defeat of the capitalist system and imperial domination, but it also demands the overcoming of this decadent system and the inauguration of a new era of justice: The era of socialism and the Great Nation (…) Washington’s biggest concern is Simón Bolívar, who is still alive and throbbing in the avenging desire of the people, and in the power of his ideas, of his political and social project”. Bolívar is still fighting through the FARC’s rifles and through the desire for change and the struggles of Colombian people.


The FARC-EP and Bolívar seen by the empire


he Pentagon and the Santa Fe IV documents (programmatic texts which particularly attack the FARC-EP from Colombia and President Hugo Chávez from Venezuela) declare Bolívar and Bolivarianism as one of their current strategic enemies.

Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador are the axis of evil, terrorists.

The donkey talking

Be careful: They are preparing the situation for the aggression

To the imperial eyes, Bolívar inspires the armed struggle of the guerrilla force (FARC-EP?), populism (Chávez?) and socialism (Cuba?). Three demons to fight against in the new North American witchhunt.


In spite of the National Geographic, Marulanda is alive

Tirofijo is dead” is the name of a documentary produced by the magazine Semana, producer Imagina and RCN, broadcast by the National Geographic magazine. The mere title is a moan of an oligarchy that always saw him as a threat to their privileges, because Manuel Marulanda incarnated the desire for dignity of the majorities. The life of this legendary founder of the FARC is not a symbol of the defeat of the armed struggle as a way to engage in politics in Colombia, as the promoters of the documentary intended to show. The thing is that another way of opposition has never been allowed. The ruling class has always wanted the state’s monopoly of weapons and the defenselessness of the people, to impose injustice.


The justice of Manuel’s struggle is unquestionable. Therefore, the producers had to recognize that “You can revile, detest or admire Marulanda, but nobody can deny that he is one of the most important Colombians of the country’s recent history. Every single General of the Republic or president tried to kill him”. 17 successive governments, with their generals, resources and war equipment, weren’t able to. General Valencia Tovar said about Manuel Marulanda: “He was one of the most astute military strategists, thanks to a rarely-seen intuition and to a systematic learning from his experiences”.


The FARC-EP and the youth of the XXI century “Life can’t be reduced to money, a luxurious car and a nice TV. There’s something a lot more valuable: The struggle for a better world!”


Force and legitimacy of the armed struggle.

Ernesto: While the FARC exist, no one can take your rifle away from you

That’s right Manuel, that’s right


According to Che, it’s a felony to criticize that brother because he carries a rifle, fighting against tyranny. The commander’s star is Marquetalia and La Higuera. Combat in the trenches is their shining light



Against machismo and discrimination

This system is macho and patriarchal

We join the insurgency


The workers in the New Colombia Comrades, For how long are we going to keep our heads down?

Painting from Inti Maleywa (FARC-EP)


The FARC-EP seen by the world The FARC Colombia give The utopia die in May

from us hope. didn’t 1968.


Marx and Bolívar in the XXI century

Simón: rebellion is legitimate!

That’s how it is, Karl: Our future is the Great Nation and Socialism


Who is this book dedicated to? To the youth, comrades, to the youth…. and to all people who fight for a better world. Manuel: the new generations will continue our struggle! I don’t have any doubt, Jacobo, I’m sure about it. With this youth no one can stop us! We are going to take over power! WE ARE GOING TO WIN!



Marulanda and the FARC-EP on the Internet You can consult biographies of Marulanda, historical documents about the Colombian conflict, chronologies of resistance and actual documents of the FARC-EP in some of the next Internet sites (sometimes the insurgency’s enemies cancel the sites…but there will appear others where you can consult this kind of materials): In English: In Spanish: (sección “El mundo”) (section “Colombia”) (section “Internacionales”) (sections “Resistencias” y “Batalla de las ideas”)


For the New Colombia the Great Nation and Socialism We will triumph



Marulanda and the FARC-EP  

Who are the FARC-EP? How did they start? Is their armed struggle still legitimate? What are their ideas? Are they drug-traffickers? Ter...