According to Insight Crime, the more urban intellectual element of the FARC now dominate the upper echelons of the criminal group, with almost the entire Secretariat made up of educated and more urban leaders. These include the diehard Marxist-Leninists who still believe in a Soviet-style communist regime, and the “Bolivarian” socialists who see the regime of former President Hugo Chavez as a more desirable form of government, and are more willing to extend the conflict to achieve substantial changes in Colombia’s political regime. Lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle has said Colombia’s economic model is not up for negotiation.
Some in the FARC secretariat leadership live outside Colombia, or spend significant amounts of time outside the country.
But what of the uneducated rural peasant-base foot soldiers?
In recent years, due to the State’s increased security and Plan Patriota, the FARC have been forced to become more mobile guerrillas, and it has become increasingly difficult for them to uphold the political instruction or ideology within the smaller units. This means its fighters don’t see themselves as part of a larger political project.
The uneducated rural peasant-base foot soldiers likely will reorganize into splinter criminal groups. Many in the FARC have very few skills that are marketable in the legal sense, and they do not see their interests represented at the negotiating table. Instead, their skills, connections, or intimate knowledge of valuable illegal markets will be sought out by criminal organizations. Many of its foot soldiers are likely to end up in the neo-paramilitary/ BACRIM gangs that currently have a presence in 24 of 35 departments in Colombia and which are estimated to have up to 10,000 members. Alliances between the drug-trafficking BACRIM and the FARC have been reported repeatedly throughout the past years.
Many local FARC commanders, who are used to handling large quantities of cash, are beginning to hoard the cash. Many are likely to go into business for themselves in drug trafficking or illegal gold mining. While many FARC guerrillas have little to no formal education, they are respected and even revered for their cash, and the position the cash gives them, in their predominantly rural communities.
Insight Crime reported that it is likely that the terrorist groups in the frontier zones, which have more connections with drug trafficking, are unlikely to demobilize. Whereas the groups in Colombia’s interior see it as a way out of a life in which its only out will likely be in a body bag.