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A Brief History Lesson On The Colombian Internal Conflict Part 2 –The Birth Of Communist Guerrillas

Updated on December 6, 2014

FARC Communist Guerrilla In The Present

FARC communist guerrilla forces women and children to fight. If they flee they are shot.
FARC communist guerrilla forces women and children to fight. If they flee they are shot.

Author Note

This is Part 2 of a series of articles narrating in simple way the historical events that led to Colombia´s present internal armed conflict (if you prefer, civil war). I strongly suggest you read from Part 1 to fully understand the social changes the country will experience in this time period. The point of these articles is to give light on how the present situation came to be.

Colombian Dictator - Gustavo Rojas Pinilla

Pinilla ruled a totalitarian government in Colombia that ended the internal conflict with the liberal factions, but not the communists
Pinilla ruled a totalitarian government in Colombia that ended the internal conflict with the liberal factions, but not the communists

1953 – A Dictator and T.V… Thanks America!

  • As “La Violencia” continued to tear the country apart, both political sides wanted to bring down the former president Laureano Gomez for his incompetence to resolve what was becoming an internal genocide.
  • Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, a successful military official takes control of the country by peaceful ways, while the current president was at home cooking bread (pandeyucas). Pinilla had popular consent as well as the ruling parties support, since everybody wanted Laureano´s downfall, this was an easy thing to do just by walking in the presidential office and getting comfortable with no resistance.
  • In 3 months, he signs a peace process with the guerrilla factions and many disarm.
  • During his reign, Pinilla modernized Colombia with infrastructure and communication technologies, but as a dictator he censors the press and persecutes his political detractors.
  • Rojas Pinilla ended “The Violence” ten year conflict, and could´ve ended the former Colombian conflict for good, but he considered the communist factions illegal (probably by pressure from the United States) and these continued to grow hidden in the jungle.
  • He soon earns the enmity of both Conservatives and Liberals by creating a third political National Socialist Party (very much like the other dictators of the time.

1957 - If You Take No Sides, You Lose! The Fall of the Dictator

  • Rojas Pinilla resigns after a national strike involving the conservatives, liberals, students and the Catholic Church.

5 Good Things Rojas Pinilla Did

1. Constructed modern airports throughout the country, including Bogota´s current international airport

2. Brought Television into the country. Finally something to do at nights!

3. Constructed highways that allowed the economy to prosper

4. Developed educational and cultural programs for the working class and the rural areas. These were very successful.

5. Stabilized the peace in the country during his mandate with the guerrilla factions. He believed in social equality but with catholic and military ideals.

Colombian First Guerrilla`s

Early FARC guerrilla changed liberal ideals for communism thanks to Russia’s aid to Latin America revolutionists during the Cold War.
Early FARC guerrilla changed liberal ideals for communism thanks to Russia’s aid to Latin America revolutionists during the Cold War. | Source

5 Bad Things Rojas Pinilla Did

1. Censored the national and local newspapers when they spoke wrong of him

2. When his daughter attended a bulls fight event (a common cultural event in Colombia) the people booed her. In the next event secret police agents infiltrate into the crowd, and when they started to boo her again the agents beat dozens of expectators to death throwing some over the building.

3. Police officers loyal to his regime fired against a student protest near government buildings.

4. Persecuted Communist factions and non-Catholics. After arresting a 82 year-old protestant American woman he gains discontent from the North American press.

5. He was a totalitarian that controlled all government institutions and policies

1958 till 1974 - Lets Share Power and be Happy! The National Front Agreement

  • Conservatives and Liberals had joined forces to bring down the Dictator in Colombia. But who´s gonna remain in power? Only one way to go, lets SHARE IT! The first 4 years a liberal would be president but the next 4 years a conservatives would hold power, and so on for the next 16 years. This was called the National Front.
  • But something is missing in this picture... All the other small political parties like the communists have lost their chance to participate in the presidential election. Communist are not happy :(
  • The communist guerrilla factions had survived in the mountains creating independent republics that they protected by force.
  • In 1961, the government considered them “a growing communist threat” and began to eradicate them.

Leader of FARC - Manuel Marulanda

Manuel arulanda was the first leader of FARC that died in 2008 from natural causes in the Colombian jungle
Manuel arulanda was the first leader of FARC that died in 2008 from natural causes in the Colombian jungle | Source

1964 – The Attack On Marquetalia

  • 2,000 military forces surround and attack the biggest guerrilla enclave on the mountains, a self-sustained town that safe kept communist fighters and their families.
  • 50 guerrilla fighters escape the attack and conform what will become the biggest and fiercest guerrilla organization in Colombia, murdering and kidnapping thousands of people in a senseless war that would lose all purpose and become a profitable business of illicit drug trade and extortion, “Las FARC”….


Follow this hub for the upcoming Half of “ An Easy History Timeline To The Colombian Armed Conflict Part 3”.

In the Following section I present two videos portraying images from the early days of the communist guerrilla group FARC. They are in spanish but the for now you can enjoy the images. I will include the dialogues of these videos in english very soon in text beside the videos.

At the end of this Hub I also recommend some good books in english that explain the Colombian conflict. But My Most Recommended Read is 100 Years Of Solitude by Nobel Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez... Check It Out!

Oh, and please answer the poll at the end "Is The U.S.A. Responsible For The Development Of The Communist Guerrilla?"

Propaganda Video Of FARC From Their Early Days

Interview to FARC Leader in the 1960`s

U.S.A. Responsibility In The Colombian Conflict

Is U.S.A. responsible in part for the continuation of the communist guerrillas like FARC?

See results

Recommended Books About The Colombian Conflict

Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict
Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict

"It brings to the fore the perspective of people from every facet of the Colombian conflict, and is put together with the mastery of someone with decades of experience... That the author is so deft in understanding the deeper story beneath the news ...and ethnographic topics with historic photos of the conflict... this book makes me look at the images in a new light, one full of meaning and empathy." - Amazon Top Review



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    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes Avery 

      5 years ago from New England

      Huh, interesting... what a mess! A long complicated mess... but it's been a good read. Thank you for sharing.


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