The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP): Marxist-Leninist Insurgency or Criminal Enterprise
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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This thesis argues that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People s Army FARC-EP, Latin America s oldest and most powerful guerrilla organization, has not abandoned its ideological beliefs and devolved into a criminal enterprise as a result of its immersion in the drug trade and participation in other illicit activities. Rather, the movement remains an ideologically committed, guerrilla insurgency whose strategic objectives include the defeat of the Colombian military, the toppling of the central government, and the establishment of a regime founded on Marxist-Leninist and Bolivarian principles. While recognizing the important role that resources earned from criminal activities have played in strengthening the FARC-EP s challenge to the government, this thesis argues that the guerrilla organization s involvement in the drug trade serves exclusively as a means to an end. However, numerous factors including recent changes in leadership, the recruitment of non-ideologically motivated and poorly educated fighters, and the increased operations tempo have led to the weakening of the ideological commitment of the base. Consequently, many of the FARC-EP s newer recruits are poorly educated in the political goals of the insurgency. This, combined with the weakening of the organization s leadership could result in the devolution of the FARC-EP into several criminal enterprises.
- Military Forces and Organizations