Author Biography

Paul Nader is a former U.S. Air Force Strategy Officer. He was born in Colombia into an upper-class family. After FARC threats of kidnapping for him and his family, they immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rutgers University, a Master’s degree in Operational Military Arts and Science from the USAF’s Air University, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Strategic Security from Henley-Putnam University.



Subject Area Keywords

Civil war and internal conflict, Conflict studies, Counterinsurgency, Counterterrorism, Democracy and democatization, Ideology, International relations, International security, Latin America, Nonstate actors, Political violence, Regional conflict, Social movements, South America, Strategy, Terrorism / counterterrorism


The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — Ejército del Pueblo (FARC–EP or FARC) is one of the world’s longest surviving insurgency groups. They have worked endlessly to topple the Colombian Government since 1964. [1] The group began like many anti-government socialist groups did at the time, in the shadow of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The FARC’s story however, is different from most insurgent groups due to their longevity and ability to survive. Their flexibility has allowed them to remain active and adapt to environmental changes. Since Colombia remains a major world producer of cocaine, with the FARC being the leading producer, this group’s eradication is a major responsibility of the world community.

Interviews conducted in Bogota July 7-17, 2012 revealed evidence that the FARC operates much like a secular cult. The structure of its internal operations, and how members relate to each other and to leadership are similar to traits in religious cults. Examining these traits may shed light on how to better strategize military and civil forces fighting not only the physical attributes, but also the psychological ones to resist the FARC and similar groups.

[1] This date is debated among scholars as the FARC claims inception in 1964, the date of Operation MARQUETALIA, although they did not organize themselves as the FARC until 1966 during the Second Guerilla Conference.

Colombia Trip July 2012 012.JPG (1487 kB)
Photo used in article