For some reason a number of groups in the USA — and reporters — keep referring to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC in its Spanish acronym) as a revolutionary insurgency.
This really has to stop. It confuses the situation and clouds much larger issues.
In the beginning it was a leftist armed group that fought against what they saw as corrupt and repressive governments in Colombia. However, as Colombian democracy became more inclusive and addressed the issues of poverty and security, the FARC became just another criminal organization, financing its operations with kidnappings, extortion and drug running.
The latest example comes from Costa Rica, where four alleged FARC rebels were arrested with 400 kilos of cocaine and 35 weapons.
By and large the Colombian government is a worthy partner with the United States and Europe. (There have been problems of human rights violations that are being addressed by the world and by the Colombians.)
The Colombians want to end the instability caused by FARC (and the para-military groups). They want to stem the corrupting influence of the drug runners — most of whom now fly out of Venezuela with impunity. And they want the Colombian economy to prosper.
FARC is no more leftist or revolutionary any more than the Cosa Nostra is just a group of immigrants providing protection to fellow immigrants.
The FARC is an international criminal force that is weakening the democratic institutions in Colombia the same way the drug cartels did in the past, through intimidation, violence and corruption. To call them anything other than a gang hellbent on the overturning of a democratic government does disservice to the English language.