The Venezuelan FARC Franchise

The Venezuelan government just met, on Venezuelan soil, with a former terrorist organization that became a political party. Their goals are mysterious enough for everyone to worry.

This weekend, FARC the brand-new Colombian political party born from a 5-decade-old guerrilla army organized a meeting with little publicity in a small facility two hours away from Caracas. Their goal? To lay the foundation for FARC-Venezuela.

As we all know, FARC has a long, deep relationship with the current Venezuelan government. Exactly how vast, though, remains a mystery for experts and the DEA , but considering how Venezuela was their choice to oversee the peace treaty negotiations of the past five years, it’s safe to say they’re more than acquainted with each other.

We saw the government welcoming the ex-guerilla into “civilian life.” After all, since this FARC is completely different from that FARC, because their logo is now a flower, there’s nothing to worry about. Besides market saturation. FARC first stood for Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. Now, it stands for Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común. In Colombia, some people call them misma loca, diferente peluca as in: same shit, different color.

The weekend event, dubbed “The First National Gathering,” was done with some privacy in Santa Cruz, a small community just outside Maracay. According to the brief statement of a local PSUV leader, it was an “exchange of ideas between the nascent Colombian political organization and the Venezuelan government party.”

Some people call them misma loca, diferente peluca as in: same shit, different color.

The official press release, posted in the website of the Colombian Communist Party, is vague about the exact nature and goals of FARC-Venezuela. It throws around broad statements, calling for “unity of common borders, to combat the paramilitary (…) and fight the economic blockade that the United States tries to impose against the homeland of Hugo Chávez.”

What’s the FARC very obviously concerned with? Public image. Because kidnappings and drug dealing don’t do well in Gallup polls. The statement highlights that:

“An element that will be given top priority is the creation of an informational structure, to answer the siege of lies from news outlets financed by the Right, equally from Colombia and from inside Venezuela.”

It’s hard to say what this collaboration means. Could be anything from a purely nominal representation to an actual political party, which seems unlikely, now that we know PSUV is struggling with small leftist parties already.

Whatever happens, don’t be surprised if you see a FARC-TV channel between the Russia Today and Telesur signals very soon. Something tells me Antena 3 won’t be there for long…

José González Vargas

Freelance journalist, speculative fiction writer, college professor, political junkie, lover of books and movies and, semi-professional dilettante. José has written for NPR's Latino USA, Americas Quarterly, Into and ViceVersa Magazine.