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Subnational Study of Insurgency: FARC Violence in the 1990s

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict and Terrorism Volume: 30 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2007 Pages: 249-265
Jennifer S. Holmes; Sheila Amin Gutierrez De Pineres; Kevin M. Curtin
Date Published
March 2007
17 pages
Through an analysis of the Columbian FARC violence, this study examines the traditional political and economic factors that have been purported to explain the prevalence of insurgency in Columbia.
The analysis of Columbian FARC the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) violence sharpens the larger debate on insurgency and provides insight to the particular Columbian case. In Columbia, the utilization of a department level analysis is essential to uncover the factors fueling FARC insurgency. Theories of violence posit the importance of economic resources to explain the funding and activity of violent groups. This analysis also suggests that FARC violence is positively correlated with both state and paramilitary violence in both initial and latter stages, suggesting a possible counterproductive effect of repression and paramilitary violence on guerrilla activity. Many factors are theorized to be important to explain insurgency or uprising, including geography and history, the economy, government and demography. Colombia is an ideal case to test these factors, due to the ability to analyze the issues at the subnational level and the variability of violence within the country. This analysis of the political and economic factors tests the following hypotheses at the subnational level in Columbia: guerrilla violence is positively associated with exports; higher levels of insurgency are associated with low levels of GDP per capita or negative growth rates; guerrilla violence emerges in the context of weak state presence; and higher levels of state repression are associated with higher levels of insurgent violence. Figures and references