HomeNewsAnalysisVideo: Inside View of Life in the FARC
ANALYSIS

Video: Inside View of Life in the FARC

COLOMBIA / 2 MAY 2011 BY HANNAH STONE EN

The FARC are apparently still a force to be reckoned with, according to a new report by two journalists who spent a week in the Eastern Plains with the Colombian rebel group.

Karl Penhaul and Carlos Villalon were embedded with the Compañia Marquetalia, a unit of the Eastern Bloc that was reportedly only established in January. The formation of this guerrilla unit is among the various structural changes implemented by Jaime Alberto Parra, alias "El Medico," who took over after the death of "Mono Jojoy"·and is reshuffling command in the Eastern Bloc.

The video report, published in Colombian newspaper El Espectador, shows the guerrillas in combat, firing rounds of ammunition at an unseen target. Later we see them training, practicing military formation in a jungle camp. The overall effect is to give a positive impression of life in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC).

The guerrillas seem upbeat, and talk about their faith that they will win the war, take power, and change Colombia. “Are the FARC finished? No way. All the presidents since 1964 have been saying that we are finished with the FARC,” one commander tells the camera.

There is also idealism. The front's commander, introduced in the video as alias "Jagwin," mentions the unit's "political work" as part of their agenda. In another scene, FARC medics are shown treating patients, including children, in a crude field hospital. It is a reminder that, in some rural areas, the FARC still provide basic services that are otherwise lacking.

“What we are trying to do every day is win the masses … we are the people and we work for the people," one guerrilla medic says.

There are plenty of female guerrillas in the film, most young, and some with carefully styled hair and bright accessories.

But the video also gives a hint of the darker side of life with the FARC, which is weakened by the loss of many of its highest-level commanders and under constant threat of bomb attacks by the Colombian Air Force. The guerrillas on film appear preoccupied by the danger of aerial attacks, which seems to determine much of their actions.

The front's second-in-command, alias "Willington 40," admits to leaving behind comrades wounded in bombing raids. “It’s hard to leave them but it’s a matter of superior force. Sometimes you have to do it just to escape.”

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.

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

COLOMBIA / 24 JUN 2021

The retirement of the ELN's top commander and political leader may have sweeping implications for the guerrilla group as it…

COLOMBIA / 16 JUN 2022

Jobanis de Jesús Ávila Villadiego, alias "Chiquito Malo," is the current commander of the Urabeños.

COLOMBIA / 25 JUL 2022

The Urabeños, and some smaller Colombian gangs, have sent a letter to president-elect Gustavo Petro to seek peace.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…