FARC denies being weakened, rejects “terrorist” label

Colombia’s FARC guerillas responded to reports that they have been weakened, and asserted that the rebels’ “struggle for a socialist Colombia” is legitimized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In a video recorded on March 24 and published on YouTube two days later, FARC commander Luciano Marín Arango AKA “Iván Márquez” said “there exists no end to the guerrilla as propagandized by the pawns of the trans-nationalization of the economy of Colombia. What does exist is an intense political and military confrontation and a growing mobilization of the social sectors.” The guerrilla leader rejected the FARC’s international label as terrorist organization, claiming that “the revolutionary violence, the rebellion against unjust and tyrannic regimes is an irrevocable universal right.”

According to Márquez, “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved by the UN in 1948, enshrines and legitimizes the right to rebellion. To define this right as terrorism goes against the norms of these states.” Márquez referred to the preamble of the human rights declaration that says, “Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state since 1964 and is the hemisphere’s largest extant insurgent group. Authorities say it is funded by drug trafficking, extortion and illegal mining. The FARC have long used ransom kidnapping as a method to generate income, but vowed to ban this practice earlier this year. The guerilla organization has frequently been criticized for its disregard for human rights, use of child soldiers and landmines, and the carrying out of attacks on civilian targets. (Colombia Reports, April 7)

As if to follow through on its boasts, the FARC carried out an audacious attack on April 7, taking over the highway that links Quibdo, capital of Chocó department, with Medellín, and attempting an attack on power pylons at Carmen de Atrato, Chocó. At least six soldiers and three guerrillas were killed in ensuing clashes. (Colombia Reports, April 8)

See our last post on Colombia and the FARC.

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