Wed Jun 19, 2024
June 19, 2024

Causes of the FARC’s Crisis: From the Insurgency to the Defense of Institutions

The release of Jesus Santrich ordered by the Supreme Court of Justice and the seat he won in the House of Representatives – while the Constitutional Court denies the objections to the Statutory Law of the JEP[1] – is a truce to the internal crisis of the FARC, but its causes are still working with no solution in sight. The FARC’s crisis has different causes, but the main one is lack of internal democracy. Neither as an insurgent group, nor in the negotiation process, nor as a party, the FARC has taken into account the former guerrilla rank and file and much less the popular sectors it claims to represent.

By Antonio Romero

As a guerrilla, the then Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army, was a militarist, hierarchical and authoritarian organization, which imposed a strict discipline not only on its members but on the communities in which they worked. Not infrequently, they attacked the popular sectors and the social organizations with which they had political contradictions. To a large extent, many of the claims made by some of the FARC-EP victims come from this conception.

In the negotiations it was the same. The dialogue table at Caguán was preceded by a parade of trade unions, student, peasants, and women organizations at their camp to make them deliver their demands, which the FARC leaders would negotiate as their representatives. In Havana they could not do the same, but their negotiation was guided by international NGOs, lawyers’ groups and, in general, advisors of international cooperation projects and even state institutions. The role of their bases was to wait to be informed by their command.

The FARC, eventually turned into a party, lives its crisis. Without the means they always had to achieve internal discipline, their discussions and differences emerge. It seems that a sector of the party follows the guidelines of Rodrigo Londoño ‘Timochenko’, who is about to comply with the agreement made with the former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and even to accept the conditions for its implementation proposed by the rightist parties. On the other hand, Iván Márquez has raised criticisms of the agreement – for him, the problem was in the disarmament timetable not in the lack of democracy – and aspires to pressure the government to comply, not accepting the subpoenas made by the JEP.

Meanwhile, the guerrilla bases continue to suffer not only the government’s breaches in the implementation of the agreements, but a systematic extermination policy that has cost the lives of more than 150 ex-guerrillas.

The social and human rights organizations must vindicate Santrich’s[2] liberation as a triumph, since it has been the mobilization against the General Prosecutor’s frame-up and against the murder of social leaders that led the regime, especially the Supreme Court, to release him.

However, Timochenko’s sector and reformism – especially the Democratic Pole and the Green Alliance – faced with the so-called ‘institutional crisis’ proclaimed by the right-wing parties (Uribe and Santos followers), continue to ask to be part of the ‘National Pact’ called by president Iván Duque.

The working class and the popular sectors, despite the fact that the FARC carried out a process of demobilization behind their backs, must close ranks against the right-wing intentions to modify the peace agreements, to further restrict the few legal and politic guarantees. But we must also say that it is not asking for more room in a new national pact that the agreements will be defended, but with a workers’ and popular front for the fight against Duque’s and imperialism’s plans.


[1] JEP: Special Jurisdiction for Peace – the court charged with investigating and prosecuting crimes committed during more than half a century of civil war.

[2] Jesús Santrich is a former FARC commander arrested in April 2018 for allegedly participating in the shipment of 10 tons of cocaine to the United States between June 2017 and April 2018.

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