President Chávez also asked the Colombian government and their allies to recognize the FARC as a belligerent force, arguing that such political recognition would oblige the FARC to forgo kidnapping and terrorism as methods of civil war and to abide by the Geneva Convention.Juan Manuel Santos, the current President of Colombia, has followed a middle path by recognizing in 2011 that there is an "armed conflict" in Colombia although his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, strongly disagreed.In 2012, FARC announced they would no longer participate in kidnappings for ransom and released the last ten soldiers and police officers they kept as prisoners, but it has kept silent about the status of hundreds of civilians still reported as hostages, and continued kidnapping soldiers and civilians.
Meanwhile, since 2008, the FARC have opted to attack police patrols with home-made mortars, sniper rifles, and explosives, as they are not considered strong enough to engage police units directly.This follows the trend of the 1990s during the strengthening of Colombian government forces.In June 2016, the FARC signed a ceasefire accord with the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos in Havana.Although a final peace agreement will require a referendum, this accord has been seen as a historic step to ending the war that has gone on for fifty years.The FARC-EP, which formed during the Cold War period as a Marxist-Leninist peasant force, promotes a political line of agrarianism and anti-imperialism.
The operations of the FARC–EP were funded by kidnap and ransom; illegal mining; The United Nations has estimated that 12% of all killings of civilians in Colombian conflict have been committed by FARC and ELN guerrillas, and the rest, 88%, by government forces and paramilitaries.
The strength of the FARC–EP forces is indeterminate; in 2007, the FARC said they were an armed force of 18,000 men and women; in 2010, the Colombian military calculated that FARC forces consisted of approximately 13,800 members, 50 percent of whom were armed guerrilla combatants; and, in 2011, the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, said that FARC–EP forces comprised fewer than 10,000 members.
In 2013 it was reported that 26,648 FARC and ELN members had decided to demobilize since 2002.
The greatest concentrations of FARC forces are in the southeastern, northern and southwestern regions of Colombia's 500,000 square kilometers (190,000 sq mi) of jungle, in the plains at the base of the Andean mountain chain However, the FARC and the ELN (National Liberation Army of Colombia) lost control of much of the territory, especially in urban areas, forcing them to relocate to remote areas in the jungle and the mountains .
In 1964, the FARC–EP were established as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Colombiano, PCC), after the Colombian military attacked rural communist enclaves in the aftermath of The Violence (La Violencia, ca. The FARC are a violent non-state actor (VNSA) whose formal recognition as legitimate belligerent forces is disputed by some organizations.
As such, the FARC has been classified as a terrorist organization by the governments of Colombia, the United States, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, and the European Union; whereas the governments of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Nicaragua do not.