Learning through our Mistakes: the Legacy of Marxism in Colombian Counter-Insurgency Strategy

Colonel (ret'd) Jesús Alberto Ruiz Mora


With this working paper I aim at sharing my thoughts about the Marxist legacy in counter-insurgency strategy in Colombia. Most of the insurgent groups in Colombia used a traditional Marxist strategy that combined all the forms of struggle. The means employed were inspired by the various types of political warfare as defined by the Fu Hsing Kang College in Taiwan that put emphasis on ideological, organizational, intelligence, psychological, masses and stratagem. At the beginning, it was difficult for the State to understand the nature of this war because these insurgent organizations were fighting against the Colombian State itself, not just its military branch. The Colombian taught at first that a military action was the adequate response to this threat. Nonetheless, there are unexpected changes in war and our conception of counterinsurgency (COIN) had to evolve as we learned from our enemies.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.