The civil war in Colombia is at its end. One of the main reasons for the peace negotiations is the collapse of the FARC guerilla. In just ten years the guerilla organization has lost over 17,000 members. The guerilla soldiers have chosen to leave the organization themselves.
How do we explain the drop-out of a guerilla soldier? In his report ”Farewell to Arms? Mass Defects from FARC and the Peace Negotiations in Colombia”, the political scientist Michael Jonsson presents unique interview material with defected guerilla members.
The report gives an insight as to what happens inside rebel groups and also shows how a government can weaken an insurgency by treating its opponents humanely instead of repressing them.
The civil war in Colombia has been ongoing since 1964 and has caused the deaths of an estimated 220,000 people. Since November 2012 there have been negotiations between FARC and the Colombian government. Recently, the parties finished their 15th round of negotiations.
Michael Jonsson is a postgraduate student at the Department of Government at Uppsala University. His dissertation ”Comrades in Arms: Motivational Change and Divergence inside FARC-EP 2002-2010″ looks at motives for joining and leaving FARC and is based on around 80 interviews in Colombia with guerilla defectors.