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Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Devolution of the FARC

I just finished attending a conference/workshop on the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), which is a Colombian insurgent group based that is believed to be the oldest and, at its height, the largest guerrilla group in the world. It was originally founded in 1964 in order to protect rural peasants against the harsh policies of large landowners and to provide them with education in exchange for food and supplies. Since that time it has evolved into an international organization that now controls Colombia’s drug trade. Moreover, violence perpetrated by the FARC against innocent civilians has more than doubled since 2000. It has also been guilty of several other types of human rights violations. Not surprisingly the FARC's "devolution" has led many leftist intellectuals, who at one time supported the FARC, to denounce the movement.

I am reminded of what Eric Hoffer's once remarked: "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket" (The True Believer). This certainly appears to be what happened to the FARC. It was founded in order to protect the poor and the oppressed, and now many of its victims are the very people it originally sought to protect. How sad.

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