The head of Colombia’s FARC terrorist group and political party announced the creation of forces known as the “Common Tactical Units” (UTCs) to promote the FARC political agenda and get members of the group elected in the 2018 elections.
The Colombian government legalized the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) last year after forcing a “peace deal” through Congress that allowed the FARC to establish a political party and guaranteed the Marxist terrorists ten uncontested seats in the legislature through 2026 beginning in 2018.
FARC terror chief “Timochenko,” who will be the group’s presidential candidate in 2018, published a letter to the group’s membership last week unveiling a partial strategy for the new year.
“We will fill Colombia far and wide with UTCs, whose first task will be to create a House of commons: centers for the diffusion of our platform, orders for the direction and organization of campaigns, meeting centers for youth, women, artists, in other words the common men and women,” Timochenko wrote. “Each and every one of us must do it well, become a UTC, common tactical unit, wherever there may be or may reside a FARC militant.”
Timochenko goes on to demand that FARC terrorists “maintain discipline in every sense” and “avoid risky locations and, if you must go there, take the necessary measures.” He added, “Be very careful with what you write or say on the phone.”
“The life and safety of our party leadership, as well as the mass of our militancy, is being guaranteed by the soldiers and policemen that we fought before. An example for the world community,” he concluded.
Imelda Daza, Timochenko’s running mate, elaborated on the UTC concept in an interview on Colombian radio last week. “The UTCs are democratic tools to disseminate the ideological platform of the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force,” Daza explained, using the new name for the FARC political party, “just like every other party does in the rest of Colombia.”
The PanAm Post notes that the UTC structure closely adheres to systems prevalent in communist organization structures in the past, particularly the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) in Cuba. The CDRs were responsible for neighborhood organizing and ensuring that everyone in their vicinity adhered to Marxist ideology. They would report to the communist government against anyone who spoke out against the regime, even if caught muttering to themselves. Dissidents would then face repercussions at school or work, or prison if found to be more severely non-conforming.
The plan for a nationwide, legalized FARC presence may alarm those who note the group’s extensive record of murder, rape, kidnapping, drug trafficking, forced abortions, use of child soldiers, and other acts of terrorism. The FARC conflict is responsible for at least 200,000 deaths in the last half-century and another 100,000 disappearances. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, however, recently praised the progress of the “peace process” with the group.
“The rhythm of implementation of the agreement in the first months of the process is faster than that of other peace deals,” Santos said after meeting with FARC leadership last week, asserting that there is “no going back” on the deal. While the Colombian people voted against the deal, Santos overrode the constitutional requirement of a vote to approve such a deal in December 2016, passing it through the legislature instead. Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts that year.
International observers do not share Santos’ optimism about the deal.
“The FARC has not complied, in my judgment, with its obligations based in the accord,” U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker said in an interview in September, nine months after the approval of the deal. “What does the accord say? It says the FARC need to give information regarding drug trafficking so that there can be investigations … something that has not happened.”
A month later, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General of Human Rights Andrew Gilmour warned that the deal had the potential to cause the conflict with Marxist terrorists to go “back to something worse.” Suggesting a more specific concern, Colombian attorney general Néstor Humberto Martínez said he had evidence that enabling the FARC had triggered a rise in competition in the drug trade.