January 11, 2008

Yes, FARC is a terrorist organization

The U.S. State Department includes the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish acronym, FARC) on its list of foreign terrorist organizations. Plan Colombia, the United States’ multi-billion dollar initiative to equip the Colombian military to eradicate coca (the plant from which cocaine is made), targets regions controlled by FARC.

    Recent FARC terrorist operations:

  • the November 2005 kidnapping of sixty people, who are currently being held hostage by FARC, until the government decided to release hundreds of their comrades serving prison sentences. Former presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt—who was kidnapped in 2002—is among the hostages;

  • the February 2002 hijacking of a domestic commercial flight and kidnapping of a Colombian senator on board;

  • the February 2002 kidnapping of a presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, who was traveling in guerrilla territory;

  • the October 2001 kidnapping and assassination of a former Colombian minister of culture; and

  • the March 1999 murder of three American missionaries working in Colombia, which resulted in a U.S. indictment of FARC and six of its members in April 2002.

Experts estimate that FARC takes in $200 million to $400 million annually—at least half of its income—from the illegal drug trade. FARC also profits from kidnappings, extortion schemes and an unofficial “tax” it levies in the countryside for “protection” and social services.

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