Colombia’s commander of the Armed Forces said Sunday the FARC now had approximately 9,000 members, representing a 50% reduction in its numbers over the past “eight or nine” years.
General Alejandro Navas made the claim in an interview with Bogota newspaper El Nuevo Siglo, providing details on the current structure of the FARC.
Colombia’s oldest guerrilla movement had lost its “horizon,” according to the country’s top military chief. “[They] are losing more ground every day and most of their members,” said Navas, claiming their numbers were now very small.
The FARC had also been abandoned by the civilian population they claimed to represent, a factor which combined with the drop in recruitment represented “the road to defeat, undoubtedly.”
Navas cited the Colombian population’s deep resentment of the FARC, referring to celebrations after Cano’s death on November 4, and the December 6 countrywide marches to demand the release of all hostages being detained by the rebels.
The general said that the National Armed Forces and Police have “written golden pages” in the struggle against the FARC. He referred to successful military operations such as Operation Phoenix, which killed the FARC’s spokesman, “Raul Reyes,” Operation Sodom that killed the guerrilla chief “Mono Jojoy,” and Operation Odysseus, in which their supreme leader “Alfonso Cano” was assasinated last November.
According to Navas, the FARC need to rethink and reflect on their military doctrines; their war was once rooted in the masses, but these masses are now “adverse and contrary to the purposes they seek.” They have lost the support of the people because they have turned to destroying natural resources and taking the lives of the very people they people they swore to protect, he said.
The reduction in FARC numbers is further evidence that the guerrilla movement is losing popularity, according to the general.