Colombia has a very strange political system. There are two main political parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, who are striking in that there seems to be so little difference between them. They are both parties of the Colombian ruling class, possibly representing a “liberal” versus “conservative” split in the ruling class a long time ago. Just guessing, the split may have had something to do with religion with the conservatives being the more religious party and wanting a bigger role for the Church in the state and the liberals being more modernizing reformers who were more secular and dedicated to more of a church-state split.
Unbelievably, these two ruling class parties who are barely different at all, spent the entire 1950’s murdering each other by the hundreds of thousands in an insane bloodletting called “La Violencia.” A Leftist politican (I think his name was Galan) was elected in the late 1940’s, but he was quickly murdered by the Colombian ruling class, which is what they always do with any Leftist who wins an election down there. This was the first time that Colombia had elected anyone even remotely resembling a progressive reformer, so of course the ruling class murdered him immediately. His killing set off huge riots all over Colombia that raged for a long time and were difficult to put down.
I believe that this set off the Violencia because I think Galan, a Leftist, actually ran on the Liberal ticket. Most of the people slaughtering each other during this idiotic Violencia were just the Colombian urban poor and the poor peasants of the rural areas. The ruling classes formed armies out of these poor people and sent them out to commit mass murder on each other.
After 300,000 deaths caused by the Colombian ruling class in the Violencia, the roots of the Marxist revolution down there took hold. The FARC were the remains of Violencia fighters who said the heck with this war and took refuge at a place called Mariatelia in Colombia in 1964 and set up communal farms there. They were tired of fighting and just wanted to be left alone.
The Colombian media went crazy screaming about the “Communist government” that seceded from the state had formed down there. The CIA was in on this wild propaganda process from the start.
Eventually the Colombian government went down to this area with a large army force and attacked these communes with massive weaponry. The Pentagon and the CIA were involved in the battle. The US and the Colombians even used chemical weapons to try to exterminate these farmers. The farmers fought back, but they were outnumbered. Maybe 90-95% of them were killed, but a few survived.
The survivors realized that there was no way to live in peace with what has always been a genocidal Colombian ruling class, and they took up arms to defend themselves. This is the way that almost all Leftwing guerrilla wars got started in the Cold War. The Left got tired of sitting around waiting for the government to come out and murder them, so they decided that as long as the government was going to come out and try to kill them, they might as well get some guns and try to defend themselves. This is how the FMLN, the URNG, the FARC, the ELN, the Sandinistas and even the MRTA got started.
So this was the beginning of Manuel “Sure Shot” Marulanda and the FARC, essentially created by the mass murders of the Pentagon and the CIA in Colombia.