"The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is the largest revolutionary organization in colombia, with some 17,500 members, is active throughout Colombia and headquartered in the south of the country, where it largely governed a region about the size of Switzerland for over 40 years. Its primary mission is to overthrow the state and establish a communist-agrarian state. The FARC is governed by a seven-member secretariat, chaired by its 71-year old original founder, Manuel Marulanda. Some 30 percent of the FARC is female and most are younger than 19.

The FARC finances its operations through kidnapping and ransom, extortion, and narcotics trafficking. It also targets anyone suspected of conspiring with the military and paramilitaries. According to military analysts, the FARC earns between $250 and $300 million through criminal acts, of which 65 percent comes from the drug trade. The FARC's conventional "guerrilla" weapons include explosives, landmines and bombs camouflaged as necklaces, soccer balls, and soup cans.

They have also orchestrated prison revolts, attacked against police and military personnel and regularly set up roadblocks to "protect" villages from military or paramilitary infiltration. According to reports, the FARC forcibly enlists any persons between the ages of 13 and 60 to work coca or poppy plantations, and serve in the military. The FARC have also targeted religious leaders and banned any spiritual expression."