Latin America

The controversial role of the Colombian army

The Colombian army has been hit by criticism from all sides, but lurking threats from guerrilla groups make them a "necessary evil"

colombia armed forces farc
Soldiers march past cheering crowds at the Colombian Independence Day military parade. Photo: James Wagstaff/Shutterstock

Since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) became Latin America’s biggest guerrilla movement in 1964, the role of the Colombian army has been shrouded in controversy. After more than 50 years of crossfire between the FARC and the military, the Colombian National Center for Historical Memory estimates that at least 260,000 people were killed. Of those, 82 percent were civilians.

Sexual violence has also been a persistent problem, brought back to light by a horrific case this year involving the