HomeNewsAnalysisFARC Recruiting More Foreigners
ANALYSIS

FARC Recruiting More Foreigners

COLOMBIA / 13 JAN 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Colombian rebels appear to be increasing their recruitment of foreign nationals after an Ecuadorean was captured and a Panamanian surrendered to authorities.

An Ecuadorean boy, between 14 and 16, was captured by soldiers in the department of Guaviare after combat with the Seventh Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), El Tiempo newspaper reported. He said he had been recruited 18 months before and had been acting as part of the security rings around rebel positions. An Ecuadorean member of the FARC was also killed when the Colombian air force bombed the camp of Luis Edgar Devia Silva, alias "Raul Reyes," two kilometers inside Ecuador, in March 2008.

Panamanian television interviewed a young man who had deserted the FARC in the Darien, the densely-jungled borderland between Colombia and Panama.  He said that up to 60 Panamanians were in FARC ranks, most in the 57th Front which controls much of the Darien and exports drugs through both the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards.

There have also been confirmed reports of Venezuelans and Peruvians in rebel ranks, but the most famous foreigner in the FARC at the moment is the 32-year-old Dutch woman, Tanja Nijmeijer, alias "Alexandra," (pictured above).  She joined the FARC in 2002 and sprang to fame when her diary was found in 2007 in a rebel camp which had been overrun by the army.  In the diary, she charted her frustration with the rebel movement and gave detailed account of life in the guerrillas, with occasionally shocking segments concerning promiscuity in the FARC. She recently released a video recording saying that she was in the FARC for life, until "victory or death."

After the breakdown of peace talks in 2002, during which the then-president Andres Pastrana granted the FARC a 42,000 square kilometer safe haven, the guerrillas moved their rearguard areas to the frontiers, most especially those shared with Ecuador and Venezuela.

The Ecuadorean authorities have been working hard in the last two years to push FARC rebels out of their territory, and Venezuela has begun extraditing captured rebels back to Colombia.  However, the border nations remain key rest and logistic areas for the FARC, and it is estimated that at least three of the FARC’s top commande structure, the seven-man Secretariat, are not on Colombian soil.

The recruitment of foreigners allows the FARC to deepen theior roots in other countries and in some cases move with less suspicion within Colombia.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 10 DEC 2020

The killing of an Indigenous leader in Bahia Solano, on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, adds to mounting violence that has…

COLOMBIA / 21 MAR 2022

Almost a year after the use of landmines was first reported in Venezuela, their deployment now appears a routine tactic…

COLOMBIA / 22 FEB 2022

Youth in Colombia continue to be trapped by a range of armed groups, which use everything from bribery to death…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…