Repost from the old site. A bit dated, but good nonetheless.Here on Robert Lindsay, we do support the FARC and the ELN unequivocally.
This is one hardass rebel army. The US corporate media says they still have 7,000 men under arms, down from 17,000, and in my opinion, their militia numbers in the 100,000’s. I strongly disagree with the 7,000 number, and I think the actual number of FARC troops is probably at least 18,000. They have a presence all over the nation and in several surrounding countries too.
It’s true that they have been dealing with the most intensive military offensive against any rebel group in the history of Latin America, and in recent days, suffered the loss of some top commanders. But they will weather these changes. As soon as a top commander dies or is killed or captured, there is someone else waiting to take his place.
James Brittain notes that the FARC has recently waged some of its most impressive attacks in a long time.
A reporter noted in 2004 that there is an unstated fear that the guerrillas could overrun Colombia’s major cities at any time. As a way of dealing with this, the venal and murderous Colombian ruling class periodically issues proclamations touting the weakness of the FARC, how they are near defeat, how they are suffering from massive defections, etc.
During Plan Colombia and Plan Patriota from 2000-2006, the Colombian regime repeatedly said that the FARC was near defeat. Analysis indicates that instead, attacks have grown over time. During 2008, the US media got into the act, crowing that the FARC was “near defeat”. But this year, the FARC attacked Colombia’s most important oil infrastructure facility and wiped out entire Colombian military battalions.
Between the 29th of April and the 6th of May, 2008, the FARC carried out repeated attacks on Colombia’s largest oil pipeline and halted the export of up to 3 million barrels of oil. At the same time, the FARC attacked various transportation routes crucial to the flow of military supplies and the movement of oil in Colombia’s north.
An essential bridge was destroyed in Cesar Province, preventing the movement of troops and paramilitaries. In Norte de Santander, the FARC attacked forces guarding the Caño-Limón Pipeline.
These last attacks were just hours after the US Ambassador visited the region and crowed about the near-defeat of the FARC. On May 3, 2008, Colombia deployed a battalion to the region to resume the flow of oil. The battalion was quickly destroyed by the FARC, which kept attacking the pipeline for another 2 days.
On May 27, 2008, the FARC attacked Colombia’s largest coal mine, derailing 40 wagons out of a 110 wagon train carrying 110 tons of coal. Further attacks hampered Colombia’s ability to engage in foreign trade by shutting down many export routes.
The North was thought to be relatively free of the FARC in recent years, as their center of operation was said to be in the South, but these attacks proved that wrong. In 2007, when the FARC was “near defeated”, somehow the number of internal refugees grew by 38%. Colombia now has the second largest number of internal refugees in the world, 4.1 million, second to Sudan.
The FARC has auxiliaries in all neighboring countries, the FARE in Ecuador, the FARV in Venezuela (demobilized but ready to fight if need be), the FARB in the Dog’s Head of Brazil, and the FARP in Peru.
The FARP has expanded all the way down to central Peru lately, where they have had great success forming base communities with peasants who hate the state but are disgusted by Sendero’s brutality. Many former Senderistas in Peru, up to 1,000, have signed on with the FARP. FARP has linked up with the devastated remains of the MRTA in San Martin Province and sent the MRTA leftovers back to Colombia for armed training.
They have also linked up with what is left of Sendero, a considerably less radicalized organization. A column of Senderistas from the Huallaga Valley was also seen marching off to Colombia. In Peru, the FARC troops are uniformed, healthy, well-armed and supplied, with modern communications equipment and brimming with confidence.
They come into the villages and offer basic necessities and health care to peasants who are pleased to see them and find them impressive compared to the ragtag guerrillas they are used to. Just because Sendero has been badly hammered does not mean that the people of Peru are not in a revolutionary mood.
The FARC also operates R & R bases in Panama and operates all across northern Brazil to southern Guyana, where they tax gold mining operations. This is one way the FARC has reacted to the largest offensive ever launched against any Latin American guerrilla group – they have expanded to all of the surrounding countries.
80% of Colombians live in poverty while a greedy and sociopathic oligarchy bleeds the country dry. There is no democracy in Colombia. Anyone opposing the state from the Left can be killed at any time.
When members of the FARC put down their arms to run for office in the 1980’s and formed the Patriotic Union, they were massacred like flies. Years later, 5,000 UP activists lay dead, and the party was disbanded. This is how the Colombian regime responds to challenges from the Left, even unarmed. With bullets. Until that changes, war will go on.
Colombia is currently one of the US’ top allies in the world, and the US’ top ally in Latin America. It’s unfortunate that US’ best friend in the region is such a murderous and fascist state, but it speaks volumes about the nature of the US state itself.