Country Report on Terrorism 2018 - Chapter 5 - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

Aka FARC; Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.

Description: Founded in 1964 and designated as a FTO on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was Latin America’s oldest, largest, and bestequipped terrorist organization. The FARC was responsible for large numbers of kidnappings-for-ransom in Colombia and held as many as 700 hostages in the past. In November 2016, after four years of negotiation in Havana, Cuba, the Colombian government and FARC reached a peace agreement, which later was approved by Colombia’s Congress, putting in motion a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process. In accordance with the peace agreement, the great majority of FARC combatants disarmed and demobilized between December 2016 and August 2017 under UN supervision, with roughly 7,000 FARC members turning in more than 9,000 weapons. Roughly 3,500 additional ex-combatants are participating in peace accord reincorporation programs.  Nevertheless, a troubling number of FARC members chose not to participate in the peace process and others have since abandoned the process. These individuals are often referred to as FARC dissidents.

Activities: Over the years, the FARC has perpetrated many high-profile terrorist acts, including the 1999 murder of three U.S. missionaries working in Colombia, and multiple kidnappings and assassinations of Colombian government officials and civilians. In July 2008, the Colombian military conducted a dramatic rescue of 15 high-value FARC hostages including U.S. Department of Defense contractors Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howe, who were held captive for more than five years, along with former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

The FARC did not claim any attacks in 2018, but there have been reports of continued extortion and violent criminal activities by FARC dissidents not participating in the 2016 peace agreement.

Strength: Before the peace accord, the FARC was estimated to have 7,000 armed members, with several thousand additional supporters.

Location/Area of Operation: FARC leaders and combatants were located in Colombia.

Funding and External Aid: Before the peace accord, the FARC has been funded primarily by extortion and the international drug trade. FARC dissidents continue such activities.