Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

aka FARC; Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is Latin America's oldest, largest, and best-equipped terrorist organization. The FARC, founded in 1964, is responsible for large numbers of kidnappings-for-ransom in Colombia, holding as many as 700 hostages in past years. In November 2016, after four years of negotiation in Havana, Cuba, a peace agreement was crafted and approved by Colombia's Congress, putting in motion a six-month disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process. In accordance with the peace agreement, the FARC began to demobilize in early December 2016 under UN supervision. Demobilization continued in 2017, with an estimated 7,000 FARC militants turning in over 8,000 weapons.

Activities: Over the years, the FARC has perpetrated a large number of 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.

In 2016, there were no significant attacks by the FARC, but there have been reports of continued extortion and threats against local officials. FARC did not claim any attacks in 2017 during the demobilization process.

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

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

Funding and External Aid: Prior to the peace accord, the FARC has been primarily funded by extortion and the international drug trade.


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