Throughout his time in power, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez had a major effect on the continuation and development of Colombia’s largest guerrilla movement: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Upon further examination of Chávez’s presidency, it shows that his relationship with the organization was not as clear-cut as many scholars had us believing. The Venezuelan government offered FARC multiple types and levels of support throughout many different circumstances. Although FARC relished in a decade-long surge Venezuelan support, government-sponsored aid declined drastically in the final years of Chávez’s presidency as a result of Venezuela’s dynamic political circumstances. Chávez’s mission was the expansion his party’s influence in Venezuela which played a major role in him offering unreserved monetary or military aid to FARC.
According to the Joint Intelligence Committee of Colombia, the trafficking of cocaine accounted for 45.49% of the FARC’s total income, while extortion made up 41.31%, kidnapping 6.75%, investment output 3.04%, and cattle theft 1.39%. It has been estimated that a total of 600 million USD was profited by the organization that year.
However, the armed force claims that it does not participate in the trafficking of drugs, saying that the only ties it has to the underground world of drugs are the taxes collected from the commercialization of coca. The terrorist organization and drug cartel groups cocaine industry and their exploitation of civilians in zones designated by nongovernmental organization as peace communities has built a wall of animosity between members of the community and their “trusted officials”. Their ability to profit from the illegal trafficking of drugs has allowed their funding to not only continue, but to prosper.