» » The FARC: The Longest Insurgency (Rebels)

Download The FARC: The Longest Insurgency (Rebels) epub

by Garry Leech

To many -- the Colombian, U.S. and the EU governments among them -- the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is no more than a terrorist organization.  Moreover, they claim that the FARC is only engaged in criminal activities and no longer maintains an ideology.  But does this tell the whole story? Or can terrorism be a strategy for furthering ideological objectives -- irrespective of how the terrorist actions may appear to contradict stated political and ideological beliefs? As the UN's special envoy to Colombia noted in 2003, it would be "a mistake to think that the FARC members are only drug traffickers and terrorists." Part of Zed's groundbreaking Rebels series, Garry Leech has written the definitive introduction to the FARC, examining the group's origins, aims and ideology, and looking at its organizational and operational structures. The book also investigates the FARC's impact on local, regional and global politics and explores its future direction. As someone who reported from the frontline in Colombia for many years and was himself kidnapped by the FARC, Leech offers an unparalled insight into one of the world's most high-profile armed revolutionary organizations.
Download The FARC: The Longest Insurgency (Rebels) epub
ISBN: 1848134924
ISBN13: 978-1848134928
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas
Author: Garry Leech
Language: English
Publisher: Zed Books (May 12, 2011)
Pages: 192 pages
ePUB size: 1109 kb
FB2 size: 1230 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 883
Other Formats: txt mobi lit docx

deadly claw
good book about the FARC. Used it to write a paper in a terrorism class during my Master's program.
Kinda slow.
I came across this book while doing research for my graduate program. I found the book to be extremely insightful and informative on the FARC, presenting firsthand and alternate perspectives of the group. I appreciated that the author detailed not only human rights abuses committed by the FARC, but those committed by paramilitaries (the majority) and even by government forces - illustrating how the Colombian people are caught in a self-perpetuating destructive cycle between all the conflicting parties. This book was a great source for my research and an interesting read on its own. I highly recommend.
The book is outdated, the Colombian political situation has evolved in the last four years.A peace agreement is in negociation
Gary Leech uses original sources and key interviews in writing this book on the history and evolution of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, from its inception to where the organization stands today. The FARC is Latin America's oldest and largest insurgency organization and has existed for almost five decades and will probably continue too operate for at least another two if true social and economic reforms do not happen in Colombia. We read of the origins of this insurgency and its adaptability over time too the forces it opposes in Colombia.

What started out as a grass roots supported guerrilla movement who had the interest of the repressed rural population has involved into a strong self-sufficient army and over the decades seems too have disconnected some what from the people. But with the economic and military aid being brought too bare on the FARC over the last decade by the United States it seems to be heading back toward its original ideological basis. Though not involved in the actual international drug trade they do derive a substantial income from taxing the drug trade. This has caused the media and western government to classify the FARC as narco-terroist.

But as the facts as presented in this book show it would be wrong too use this category for the FARC. This rebel group has been responsible for many human rights violations which have diminished dramatically since most of the infractions that from the FARC are the kidnapping; this is not too intimate that they have not committed atrocities. And seventy-six percent of all the real human rights violations were carried out by government supported paramilitary organizations and now the military and police force of Colombia. It is with government approval or knowledge that there will be no reprisal when entire villages are rounded up by the government.

The author shows us that the non-profit organizations that kept actually records on the incidents use too report the actual numbers and the FARC was a small percentage of the violations. But we do see how the government of Colombia and the Media in general distorts most of the human rights violations and label them wrongly as the work of the FARC. There is no question that the Colombian authorities, the paramilitaries and the FARC have all committed human rights violation and perpetuate this violence. But the true numbers and who is responsible should be reported. The government of Colombia have displaced almost five million people and this is not headline news.

According too the author the FARC was willing to negotiate a true peace accord with the government, yet the government refuses to include any real reform in there discussions and limit it too disarming the FARC and the FARC would not agree too a country wide cease fire because of the paramilitary groups. From Leech's account we also see that the FARC has tried too do more good for the majority of the people of Colombia with infrastructure projects and the like than the government ever has. Though not reported the government does work on infrastructure or the cities would not be sustainable. It is ironic that the FARC build a bridge and convince farmer too stop growing coca for cocaine production and to grow the less profitable food produce. And then the government bombs the bridge making it impossible for those same farmers to get their product to market.

This book, though short, will give you a strong foundation with which to begin too study the FARC and government of Colombia. Now that the United States see's Colombia as a major area of its geopolitical position it is hard too see how the true social and economic reforms will be brought about that will unite the country and stop the violence. Even if the Colombian military with the funding and help of the United States were too succeed in destroying the FARC the violence would continue as violent criminal enterprises formed all over those regions from the unemployed and displaced; as have happened in other countries.n All sides have to take responsibility for the violence and atrocities they have committed.

What is the reality in Colombia? I think one would need too gather more information from other sources. But the above review, as expected, is based on this book and not other sources. Yet it seems like a good overview and worth the read.
Let me be clear what this book is: a piece of anti-American propaganda written by an author who is very politically motivated and woefully misinformed about the actual situation in Colombia. As one who has traveled to Colombia, interviewed individuals with extensive first-hand knowledge as to the workings and actions of the FARC insurgency, I can say that this book is terribly misleading. The book excels at presenting a strong history of how the FARC developed out of communist origins and then grew in strength over time to displace the government in many parts of the country. This comprises the first three chapters of the book. After that, everything goes downhill.

In later chapters, Gary Leech begins to rationalize the actions of the FARC insurgency by saying that, although they take hostage and murder many civilians including women and children, so "do all the actors in Colombia's armed conflict" (104). Leech has the audacity to assume that this in some way disqualifies them from being a terrorist group. He goes on to quote a single lawyer who says that the FARC should have belligerent status under international law--a belief that Leech portrays as being universal in the legal world but, from my experience talking with attorneys, is limited to a few fringe individuals.

Leech also misportrays the history of negotiations between the FARC and the Colombian government. In 1998, President Pastrana withdrew 2000 soldiers and police from a 16,200 square mile area in southern and eastern Colombia, effectively turning over control of this territory to the FARC as a gesture of good will, provided that the FARC disarm, turn over their hostages, and use the area to reintegrate into society. The FARC failed to do these things, however, and instead took advantage of the government by using the territory as a training ground for future recruits. This is widely cited by scholars and politicians as the biggest blunder a government has made when negotiating with terrorists, yet Leech says just the reverse. When the peace negotiations were closed in 2002, "Pastrana used the FARC's refusal to agree to a ceasefire and its ongoing military operations and 'terrorist' activities during the negotiations as justification for ordering the Colombian military to invade the rebel safe haven" (84). Leech condemns this and sees the GOVERNMENT as the reason why the process broke down, nevermind that the FARC hadn't even complied with the PRE-conditions for the transfer of the territory.

But that is not all, Leech also goes on a bit of a rant in support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Portraying Chavez as a sort of regional peacemaker, he ignores overwhelming and nearly irrefutable evidence regarding Venezuela's (and Chavez's personal) support of the FARC. Instead, he says that Chavez and Venezuela have only been portrayed as evil because it was in the US's own political interests. I'm not sure what the suffering masses in the slums of Caracas would have to say about that. But regardless, it is beyond the scope of this book and simply serves as yet another example of Leech's unprofessional style of writing and portraying what he claims to be facts.

If you're looking for an introduction to the FARC, a review of the history of Colombia, or if it is even the slightest bit important to you to have an unbiased FACTUAL account, this book is not for you. I was disappointed that an author who claims to have so much personal experience could write something so clearly jaded. Don't waste your time with this one.