HomeNewsBriefFARC Leader Admits Guerrillas Have Been Corrupted by Colombia Drug Trade
BRIEF

FARC Leader Admits Guerrillas Have Been Corrupted by Colombia Drug Trade

COLOMBIA / 3 JUN 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT AND CAMILO MEJIA EN

The head of Colombia's FARC guerrillas has admitted the rebels have lost leaders and fighters to the temptations of the drug trade, but continues to insist they regard drug trafficking groups as enemies.

Speaking in a video released by the rebels (see below), Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, alias "Timochenko," said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had "met" drug traffickers, but considered them ideological foes.

However, he acknowledged that drug trafficking had corrupted certain members of the insurgency.

"From an ideological point of view, our internal struggle in drug trafficking zones to ensure our guerrillas are not absorbed by the values that drug trafficking promotes is very intense. With some of our leaders, and some of our guerrillas, we have lost that struggle."

In the video -- which came in response to the recent agreement the FARC and the government reached on the drug trade -- Timochenko also stressed that efforts to portray the guerrillas as a drug trafficking operation remained an obstacle to ongoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba.

"The fact they want to say we are the same as the drug traffickers hinders the signing of any agreement," he said.

Negotiations in Havana will now turn to the next item on the agenda: how to deal with victims of the conflict.

InSight Crime Analysis

Timochenko's comments reflect genuine concern among the FARC leadership about the corrupting influence of the drug trade, which funds the rebel's armed struggle but has also led to the criminalization of many of their units.

The FARC leadership has long claimed the group's only role in drug trafficking is taxing coca production. However, there is a raft of evidence to suggest many units are also involved in processing cocaine, while some also move product.

Timochenko's admission that some guerrillas have been seduced by the world of drug trafficking could represent a small step towards acknowledging this more involved role of the FARC in the trade. His comments also indicate awareness of the danger that guerrilla factions already deeply involved in drug trafficking could criminalize in a post-conflict scenario.

SEE ALSO: 50 Years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

However, his insistence that traffickers remain enemies of the FARC runs contrary to evidence of close collaboration between the two sides in many parts of the country, and his statements remain some way from being a confession of the true scope of the group's drug trade involvement.

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 / 23 APR 2021

The Libertadores del Vichada are a splinter group of the Popular Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia.

EX-FARC MAFIA / 13 OCT 2021

The fighting that erupted in the Venezuelan state of Apure in early 2021 was on the surface a classic guerrilla…

COLOMBIA / 3 OCT 2022

Colombian guerrillas evolved from seeing Venezuela as a safe place to retreat to seeing it as a full-blown expansion of…

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…