Timoleon Jimenez, leader of Colombia’s FARC guerrillas, had made an order that members stop charging its revolutionary tax, making way for a peace deal with the Colombian government. The taxes charged were justified in the past as a means of feeding the many fighters present in FARC.
Jimenez also confirmed that FARC has stopped recruitment drives for new members three months ago, and has asked present members to study the peace accords agreed to thus far. This is ahead of a FARC conference to approve the agreement.
There are questions raised in relation to FARC members being ordered to stop extorting local businesses. One Is whether coca production will be deemed a local economic activity, and whether FARC will continue to collect protection money from coca farmers and drug traffickers within the area it controls.
There is also the concern that due to the amount of FARC’s militias, not all will follow the agreement, meaning that FARC elements will still be present to look to continue extorting local populaces.
Despite these concerns, it’s still important to understand the symbolic significance of Jimenez announcing an ending of taxation on the locals. The extortion of ranchers has been central in the ongoing cycle of violence occurring. The activity has contributed to the formation and growth of Colombia’s right-wing paramilitaries