Colombia’s demobilization campaign persuades FARC terrorists to surrender

Colombia’s demobilization campaign persuades FARC terrorists to surrender

By Dialogo
October 27, 2014




The terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia recruited “Libardo” in 2010, when he was 14, with promises of adventure and money.

But from the moment he joined the FARC, the group mistreated Libardo. Instead of excitement and money, he got physical labor for no pay.

In August, tired of the FARC’s broken promises, Libardo finally escaped the FARC at age 17 – joining tens of thousands of former FARC operatives who have left the group or the National Liberation Front (ELN), another terrorist organization, in recent years.

FARC promises prove false


Libardo’s story is typical of many who have left the FARC after learning its promises were false.

When he was 14, Libardo lived a hard life. He woke up in the pre-dawn hours to milk cows to help his mother. His family had little money.

One day, a FARC operative named “Lucho,” from the 59th Front, appeared and offered him better living conditions and a chance to earn plenty of money. Libardo eagerly joined the terrorist group, which sent him to a region near the Venezuelan border.

It didn’t take long for Libardo to become disillusioned. Within a month, Libardo was engaged in hard physical labor for the FARC, receiving military training in the mornings and tilling soil in the afternoons, for no pay. (The terrorist organization operates some ranches to generate revenue for its terrorist activities).

Other children and teenagers who had been recruited by the FARC also worked hard for no pay, Libardo recalled. When they were not working or training, they would sit together to listen to the radio and talk about how much they missed their families.

‘Libardo’ escapes from the FARC


Libardo decided to escape from the FARC after he heard a public service announcement on the radio during the summer of 2014, around the time that Brazil was hosting the World Cup.

“Guerilla fighters, don’t think twice about it – you have to watch this game in freedom,” the announcer said. “Demobilize. I’ll save a spot for you.”

The radio announcement prompted Libardo to start thinking about leaving the terrorist group and rejoining civil society. In August, on a night he had guard duty, Libardo ran away - “without looking back,” he said.

After walking for two days, he reached a military post, where soldiers welcomed the teenager and gave him first aid and food.

Soon, he told his story on a Colombian National Army radio program. During the show, Libardo praised the radio spots about demobilization and said the government should continue to put them on the air, because FARC operatives often listen to the radio.

Another demobilization



Though FARC operatives demobilize from the terrorist group in different ways, many of them leave for the same reasons.

For example, on September 16, Colombian soldiers from the Eighth Brigade were patrolling in, in the municipality of Pijao, in the Department of Quindío, when a FARC operative appeared on the road and surrendered. The man, whose identity has not been revealed by the Army, told soldiers he fled the FARC to escape difficult conditions which included mental abuse and a lack of food. The man also said he missed his family.

His story is common.

“For a number of guerrilla fighters, it is better to be captured or [to] renounce the armed group; they want to take advantage of the peace negotiations,” said security analyst Fréderic Massé, director of the Research and Special Projects Center of the External University of Colombia.

“The guerrillas do not want to be the last ones to die in combat, they want to survive,” he said. “Many of them have experienced pressure and difficult experiences within the FARC, some become victims. Life inside the FARC is not easy.” Army soldiers are investigating to verify that the man who surrendered on September 16 is sincere about leaving the terrorist group and rejoining civil society. Once troops verify the man’s intentions, he will participate in the National Program for Humanitarian Aid to Demobilized Persons, a federal government program to help former members of the FARC and the ELN rejoin the civilian population.

Demobilization programs are succeeding


The government’s initiatives to encourage operatives to leave the FARC and the ELN are proving effective.

For example, since the government launched the Demobilization Program in 1999, about 46,000 former operatives have left the FARC and the ELN, according to the Colombian Reintegration Agency.

While Libardo and the man who surrendered on September 16 were not high-ranking FARC members, several important members of the group have demobilized in recent months:


On February 19, a FARC leader known as “Efrén Caracho” surrendered. Caracho said he had led the FARC’s Seventh Front, but that the bodyguards of FARC leaders are treated better than other members of the group, which is why he left the organization.

In September 2013, a FARC operative known as “Alicia” or “La Gomela” surrendered to Army soldiers. Alicia, who was 22 at the time, told troops she had worked as a radio specialist for the Manuel Cepeda Vargas 42nd Company of the FARC.

In August 2012, Rosembert Jaramillo, who is known as “Héctor 44,” escaped the FARC. He had been a commander of the terrorist group. “He surrendered because he became convinced that they did not have any chance of seizing power and overthrowing the government,” said Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón.




The terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia recruited “Libardo” in 2010, when he was 14, with promises of adventure and money.

But from the moment he joined the FARC, the group mistreated Libardo. Instead of excitement and money, he got physical labor for no pay.

In August, tired of the FARC’s broken promises, Libardo finally escaped the FARC at age 17 – joining tens of thousands of former FARC operatives who have left the group or the National Liberation Front (ELN), another terrorist organization, in recent years.

FARC promises prove false


Libardo’s story is typical of many who have left the FARC after learning its promises were false.

When he was 14, Libardo lived a hard life. He woke up in the pre-dawn hours to milk cows to help his mother. His family had little money.

One day, a FARC operative named “Lucho,” from the 59th Front, appeared and offered him better living conditions and a chance to earn plenty of money. Libardo eagerly joined the terrorist group, which sent him to a region near the Venezuelan border.

It didn’t take long for Libardo to become disillusioned. Within a month, Libardo was engaged in hard physical labor for the FARC, receiving military training in the mornings and tilling soil in the afternoons, for no pay. (The terrorist organization operates some ranches to generate revenue for its terrorist activities).

Other children and teenagers who had been recruited by the FARC also worked hard for no pay, Libardo recalled. When they were not working or training, they would sit together to listen to the radio and talk about how much they missed their families.

‘Libardo’ escapes from the FARC


Libardo decided to escape from the FARC after he heard a public service announcement on the radio during the summer of 2014, around the time that Brazil was hosting the World Cup.

“Guerilla fighters, don’t think twice about it – you have to watch this game in freedom,” the announcer said. “Demobilize. I’ll save a spot for you.”

The radio announcement prompted Libardo to start thinking about leaving the terrorist group and rejoining civil society. In August, on a night he had guard duty, Libardo ran away - “without looking back,” he said.

After walking for two days, he reached a military post, where soldiers welcomed the teenager and gave him first aid and food.

Soon, he told his story on a Colombian National Army radio program. During the show, Libardo praised the radio spots about demobilization and said the government should continue to put them on the air, because FARC operatives often listen to the radio.

Another demobilization



Though FARC operatives demobilize from the terrorist group in different ways, many of them leave for the same reasons.

For example, on September 16, Colombian soldiers from the Eighth Brigade were patrolling in, in the municipality of Pijao, in the Department of Quindío, when a FARC operative appeared on the road and surrendered. The man, whose identity has not been revealed by the Army, told soldiers he fled the FARC to escape difficult conditions which included mental abuse and a lack of food. The man also said he missed his family.

His story is common.

“For a number of guerrilla fighters, it is better to be captured or [to] renounce the armed group; they want to take advantage of the peace negotiations,” said security analyst Fréderic Massé, director of the Research and Special Projects Center of the External University of Colombia.

“The guerrillas do not want to be the last ones to die in combat, they want to survive,” he said. “Many of them have experienced pressure and difficult experiences within the FARC, some become victims. Life inside the FARC is not easy.” Army soldiers are investigating to verify that the man who surrendered on September 16 is sincere about leaving the terrorist group and rejoining civil society. Once troops verify the man’s intentions, he will participate in the National Program for Humanitarian Aid to Demobilized Persons, a federal government program to help former members of the FARC and the ELN rejoin the civilian population.

Demobilization programs are succeeding


The government’s initiatives to encourage operatives to leave the FARC and the ELN are proving effective.

For example, since the government launched the Demobilization Program in 1999, about 46,000 former operatives have left the FARC and the ELN, according to the Colombian Reintegration Agency.

While Libardo and the man who surrendered on September 16 were not high-ranking FARC members, several important members of the group have demobilized in recent months:


On February 19, a FARC leader known as “Efrén Caracho” surrendered. Caracho said he had led the FARC’s Seventh Front, but that the bodyguards of FARC leaders are treated better than other members of the group, which is why he left the organization.

In September 2013, a FARC operative known as “Alicia” or “La Gomela” surrendered to Army soldiers. Alicia, who was 22 at the time, told troops she had worked as a radio specialist for the Manuel Cepeda Vargas 42nd Company of the FARC.

In August 2012, Rosembert Jaramillo, who is known as “Héctor 44,” escaped the FARC. He had been a commander of the terrorist group. “He surrendered because he became convinced that they did not have any chance of seizing power and overthrowing the government,” said Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón.

this is better than the fake peace from comrade santopeace Now the government shouldn't do what the guerrilla did, lying to him, not fulfilling the offers made, ignoring the family, not protecting him or his children. The government should offer them everything that has to do with benefiting those who are reincorporated into society. We just hope that the members of that terrorist group the FARC realize that they have nothing to do in the Colombian mountains, that their families are waiting for them, peace is what this country needs. Make up, come back to the heart of your homes. No more Deaths. No more blowing up Towers. No selling drugs. No more blowing up bridges. No more assassinating police officers, military officers and civilian staff who have nothing to do with this conflict. It's about time you show the country your true intentions to eradicate the conflict from Colombia. We want peace. This Christmas make a difference, demobilize. Demobilize, now. It's the best way out Valuable information. Government announcements in the media which is well prepared, attention getting, clear and convincing is a very important factor to put an end to the conflict, without any bullets, and without further costs in the war. But I don't believe 46,000 subversives have been demobilized because the data given to us a long time ago by Law Enforcement says that the FARC had 14,000 insurgents and the ELN had 8,000. You can't expect anything good to come from the FARC terrorists. They want the power, and the conversations or dialogues in Havana are making them stronger. The longer the talks go on, the stronger they will become. God willing the government negotiators wake up and put an end to this farce.
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