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Need to Know: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

Yesterday, the Organization of American States (OAS) declared last weekend's Colombian raid in Ecuador a violation of sovereignty. The US was the only state to support Colombia's decision to enter Ecuador and kill 24 rebels, including a top commander of the insurgency group FARC. So what's the deal with FARC?

FARC is the world's largest, and richest insurgency group, currently waging war with the Colombian government. A Marxist group, its mission is the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, and the end of foreign influence by multinational corporations, and the US government.

Taxes levied on drug-traffickers give FARC $300 million in revenue each year. Of course, drug use among the 10,000 - 15,000 rebels is forbidden. Ransom collected from FARC's 3,000 plus kidnappings a year, also bankrolls the group. FARC, which pulls most of its support from rural areas, was founded in 1964, as the military wing of Colombia's Communist Party.

Colombia, with the full support of the US, maintains that Venezuela and Ecuador are assisting the rebels. Colombia is an important US ally, receiving $600 million a year in aid. Leftist countries in the region see the government in Colombia as nothing more than a US puppet.

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