The Farc is the oldest and largest group among Colombia’s left-wing rebels and is one of the world’s richest guerrilla armies. The group’s roots can be traced back to the Liberal guerrilla bands of La Violencia – the civil war between the Liberal and Conservative parties that raged from 1948 until 1958.
Experts estimate that FARC takes in between $500 million and $600 million annually from the illegal drug trade. The FARC also profits from kidnappings, extortion schemes, and an unofficial “tax” it levies in the countryside for “protection” and social services. About sixty-five of the FARC’s 110 operational units are involved in some aspect of the drug trade, according to a 2005 International Crisis Group report, but evidence from that period indicates they primarily managed local production