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Colombia - Political Flags - Part III

Last modified: 2008-07-19 by dov gutterman
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See also:

Popular Liberation Army (EPL - Ejército Popular de Liberación)

Original EPL Flag
image by Jaume Ollé

New EPL Flag
image by Eugene Ipavec, 29 July 2007

Esperanza, Paz y Libertad (Old Flag)
image by Jaume Ollé

Esperanza, Paz y Libertad (New Logo)
image by E.R., 23 March 2005

From <>:
Mothertongue Name: Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL). Base of Operation: Colombia.  
Founding Philosophy: The Popular Liberation Army grew out of the Colombian Communist movement of the 1960s. In 1967, the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (ML-CP) broke off from the larger communist political party, the Colombian Communist Party. Dissatisfied with the political chaos of 1960's Colombia, the ML-CP augmented its political organization with an armed wing in 1967. The new group soon embarked on terrorist activities under the name People's Liberation Army. Both the ML-CP and EPL advocated the Maoist ideology of sparking a national socialist revolution by beginning in the countryside. Efforts to indoctrinate the peasantry largely failed and the EPL never reached the size of larger Colombian terrorist insurgencies such as the FARC and ELN. In an effort to expand their support base, the EPL abandoned strict Maoism in 1980. The group continued, however, to work toward the goal of overthrowing the democratically elected Colombian government and replacing it with a communist state. Furthermore, the EPL continued to pursue these insurrectionist goals through terrorist activities.  
Current Goals: The EPL was one of the principal groups that pushed for a peace accord with the Colombian government in the early 1980s. With the signing of the peace accord in 1984, the EPL attempted to join mainstream Colombian politics. Their efforts were blocked, however, by the newly formed right-wing paramilitary groups, such as the ACCU. In an effort to derail the efforts to grant the politicization of the EPL, the right-wing paramilitary groups attacked political representatives of the EPL. The peace accord soon unraveled as other leftist groups, the paramilitaries, and the Colombian Army continued their attacks on one another.  
Following the failure of the peace accord, the EPL attempted to rejoin the violent fray involving the guerillas and Colombian security forces, but this attempt proved futile. The EPL essentially disbanded in 1991, when it signed a truce with the Colombian government, although a breakaway faction operating under the same name refused to accept the truce. This breakaway faction continues to operate today, despite the arrest of its co-founder and principal leader, Francisco Caraballo, in 1994.
I reccomend you read the article on wikipedia to understand the flags.
E.R., 23 March 2005

EPL had lost political protagonism over the years and it is basically only active in the North Eastern region of the Department of Antioquia known as Urabá.
More information on Hope, Peace, and Liberty (Esperanza Paz y Libertad) at wikipedia.
E.R., 12 August and 3 September 2007

Popular National Alliance (ANAPO - Alianza Nacional Popular)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 July 2007

Horizontal blue-white-red. Similar colors to M19 Guerilla Movement flag. Source is Smith (1975) [smi75a], pp. 340-341 ("Symbols in politics"). Smith says that these are real flags and not only party emblems, which may differ in colours when used as emblem or in a flag.
Ivan Sache, 6 August 1999

ANAPO (Alianza Nacional Popular, People's National Alliance) was founded by Lt. General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla in 1961). The ANAPO lasted more than three decades, gaining importance on the State and Local level as well, but it ceased to exist in 1998. Many of its members are now part of the PDI (Polo Democrático Independiente).
Flag appears at Registraduría's official website.
E.R., 17 July 2007

Quintin Lame Armed Movement (Movimiento Armado Quintín Lame)

image by Jaume Ollé

image by Jaume Ollé

In 1984 a new guerrilla group emerged in Colombia: the Movimiento Armado Quintín Lame (Quintin Lame Armed Movement), named after a NASA tribe leader (Manuel Quintín Lame Chantre), it was a guerrilla group, thus an illegal armed organization. It entered peace talks with Colombia's government and laid down its weapons in May 1991.
E.R., 23 March 2005

Revolutionary People's Army (ERP-Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 25 October 2005

The flag of the ERP (Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo, or Revolutionary People's Army), a breakaway faction of the ELN. The ERP was formed in 1996. The lettering style is the same as the ELN, only the color scheme is different.
Source: <>.
E.R., 25 October 2005

In recent news, the ERP has fully demobilized on April 30, 2007 as stated by the Minister of Defense of Colombia. This day, the last 18 combatants from this ELN breakaway independent faction demobilized after starting military actions in August 10, 1996. The total number of demobilized illegal armed fighters, including the last 18, is 54 during the whole month of April, in a series of multiple demobilizations. The faction operated in the Municpalities of San Jacinto, Maríalabaja, El Carmen de Bolívar, San Juan Nepomuceno, located in the Department of Bolivar and the Municipalities of Ovejas, Chalán, Colosó and Las Palmitas, located in the Department of Sucre. Among the combatants are 16 women and two newly born children. This demobilization process took place in part due to the pressure of the Army, but also from the FARC, another guerrilla force who is battling other guerrillas (i.e. the ELN ) in order to gain superiority.
Sources: La FM adiostation, El Tiempo newspaper, Military Forces General Command, Semana magazine.
E.R., 9 June 2007

Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP Fuerzas Arnadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito Popular)

image by Pascal Gross and Guillermo Aveledo, 3 June 2000

image contributed by E.R., 24 July 2005

I found the official site of the FARC guerrilla group on the web, and you can see their flag. It's the same as the colombian flag, but it has a Colombian map along with two assault rifles crossed . There's also a little squared thing, but I can't see much. The link to it is <>. Their official name is: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) or Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia-People's Army. The guerrilla group known as FARC-EP was created in 1964.
Ramiro Rivera Sanchez,19 January 1999

I belive that the" little squared thing" is an open book.
Jorge Candeias,20 January 1999

Revolutionary Armed Forces, People's Army (FARC-EP Fuerzas Arnadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito Popular) - This well-known guerrilla group is the main guerrilla movement in Colombia, above from the National Liberation Army (ELN). The flag of the FARC-EP is a regular Colombian tricolor with the group's logo on its centre. The logo consists of a Colombiam continental map, in white, fimbriated in black. Within the map we see the letters 'FARC-EP' in a bold type, an open book and a pair of crossed, semi-automatic, rifles.
Guillermo Aveledo, 3 June 2000

The correct name of the movement is: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito del Pueblo. A short presentation of the FARC, based on Courrier International #711, 17 June 2004 (French translation of a paper by Eduardo Pizarro Leongomez, originally published in El Tiempo, Bogota):   On 9 April 1948, the Liberal leader Jorge Eliecer Galtan was murdered, which triggered violent riots in Bogota, known as Bogotazo. The next ten years are known as the Violencia period, a civil war between the Liberals and the Conservatives that caused more than 200,000 dead. In 1958, the two parties signed the pact of National Front, by which they abandoned violence and shared the power. The President of the Republic was alternatively chosen in each party. The system lasted until 1974. On 27 May 1964, the Colombian army attacked Marquetalia, which was the headquarters of Communist revolutionaries and farmers' self-defense militia, ruled by Manuel Marulanda, aka Tirofijo (Bang on target). Following the assault, the militia were organized into guerillas. Initially called Frente Sur (Front South), the guerillas were renamed FARC two years later. The FARC were reorganized and renamed FARC-EP in 1982. On 28 March 1984, the FARC-EP signed an agreement  in La Uribe with the Colombian government. A cease-of-fire was implemented on 28 May. The agreement included the creation of a legal political party by the FARC-EP, called UP (Patriotic Union). More than 3,500 members of the UP were murdered in the next two years, including two candidates to the Presidential election. In December 1990, the bombing of the Casa Verde, the FARC-EP headquarters, by the Colombian army ended the peace process. A new round of negotiations started on 7 January 1999 between the FARC-EP and Andres Pastrana's government in the demilitarized area of Caguan (42,000 sq. km). The area was placed under the control of the FARC-EP until the breakdown of the negotiations in February 2002. The FARC have today some 15,000-17,000 members.
FARC-EP homepage at <>.
Ivan Sache, 27 December 2004

From <>:
"Mothertongue Name: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).
Aliases: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito del Pueblo (FARC-EP).
Base of Operation: Colombia.
Founding Philosophy: The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) grew out of the Colombian Communist Party of the 1960s. Unsurprisingly, the FARC was founded as a Communist organization. The FARC leaned towards the Marxist strain of Communism and received a limited amount of funding from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The FARC's stated goal is to overthrow the current democratic government of Colombia and replace it with a Communist government.
While the FARC is undoubtedly the largest and oldest of the Communist insurgent groups of Colombia, it is not necessarily the most dogmatic in its devotion to the Marxist ideology. In fact, the FARC's growing hand in cocaine trafficking, and even production, coupled with its on-again, off-again peace talks with the Colombian government, indicate that the ideological backbone of the FARC is at best, ill-defined. However, a significant portion of the FARC's leadership, including FARC chief Manuel Marulanda, have been part of the organization since its founding and are presumably still dedicated to its Marxist ideology. The FARC continues to wage a war of words devoted to Marxist principles, despite the fact that many of its battles are fought with the less idealistic motive of controlling the illicit drug inustry.
Current Goals: Today, the FARC's primary goal is territorial control within Colombia. The FARC has several sources for the money it needs to pursue this goal. The majority of its funding comes from the cocaine trade, but the FARC also pursues kidnapping, extortion, and hijacking. In addition to these operations, the FARC also attacks Colombian political and military installations. Its activities frequently disrupt economic activity in Colombia, particularly when conflicts with Colombia's rightist paramilitary groups break out. Ordinary Colombian citizens are often caught in the middle of this violent and bloody struggle.
The FARC's larger goals are a matter for speculation. For four decades the FARC has struggled to overthrow the Colombian government. This does not seem likely unless the FARC dramatically shifts its approach and increases its strength. The more likely outcome is that the FARC will continue to destabilize Colombian democracy but never actually overthrow the government. Furthermore, the FARC's recent participation in peace talks demonstrates a certain willingness to negotiate with its ideological enemies. The FARC's ideological commitment is in doubt, but its immediate goals are not. The FARC aims to maintain its significant financial and territorial power. From all indications, the FARC will continue its violent criminal action for the foreseeable future."
More information at <>.
E.R., 8 June 2005


image by Eugene Ipavec, Pascal Gross and Guillermo Aveledo, 14 February 2006

A photo of a variant with shield of the FARC flag, appeared on the front page of today's (29 June 2001) Miami Herald, with the headline "Rebels Free Colombian Troops" and the caption describing the release of "242 government soldiers and police released Thursday by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC] outside La Macarena, in the heart of a 26,000 square-mile area of jungle and savanna under FARC control. The troops were freed by the rebels in a unilateral hand-over after more than three years in captivity".
Al Kirsch and Jaume Olle', 29 June 2001

The variant is based on photos at FARC news website and SEMANA magazine.
E.R., 14 February 2006

image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 March 2006

On March 8, 2006, the biggest demobilization yet (outside peace process with the Colombian giovernment) of a guerrilla group, took place on the Department of Tolima. There a FARC guerrilla structure laid down its weapons on a ceremony headed by the Alto Comisionado Para La Paz (High Commissioner For Peace). During this ceremony a new FARC flag variant came to light.
Source: El Mundo newspaper, from the city of Medellín.
E.R., 17 March 2006

image by Eugene Ipavec, 27 May 2006

Another variant of the flag of the Farc Colombian guerrilla. The flag is the same tricolor flag of Colombia, plus the Farc emblem on the middle (outlined only, not in color).
Source: Farc 2006 calendar at <>.
E.R., 27 May 2006

Patriotic Union (Unión Patriótica)

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

Unión Patriótica (UP- Unión Patriótica, or Patriotic Union in English), was a political movement set up under the 1984 peace talks between the Colombian government and the Farc guerrilla. The party was established in 1985 and it was the Farc's official political movement, with cadres from both the Farc and the Colombian Communist Party.
Some UP members even reached seats in Congress, as well as important posts on the State and Local political level. However, due to the extermination campaign by newly created paramilitary forces as well as some official government action against this party, it was diminished and it later faded away.
It officially ceased to exist under the new electoral code in 2006, but its members left or went underground much before that. For more information on this party please refer to wikipedia.
E.R., 3 September 2007

United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC - Las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 July 2005

image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 July 2005

image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 July 2005

Name: United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
Mothertongue Name: Las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC).
Aliases: United Self-Defense Group of Colombia.
Base of Operation: Colombia.
Founding Philosophy: The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) was formed to combat the leftist terrorist organizations operating in Colombia, primarily the FARC and ELN. The AUC grew out of the paramilitary and self-defense groups formed in the 1980s. These groups were dedicated to protecting the economic interests of wealthy citizens that were often threatened by groups such as the FARC. The AUC is a nationalist group that protects the Colombian government from the Communist-inspired guerilla movements that threaten it. At first, the various paramilitary groups enjoyed the tacit approval of the Colombian military. The paramilitaries and the Colombian military cooperated in the fight against leftist guerillas. Eventually, however, the close financial connections between the drug cartels and the paramilitaries forced the Colombian military to officially sever ties with the paramilitaries in 1989. Despite this, the military and the AUC have been accused of continuing their collaboration unofficially, and many AUC members are former members of the Colombian military.
The AUC is an umbrella organization comprised of independently operated paramilitary groups. One of these paramilitaries, the Peasant Self-Defense Group of Córdoba and Urabá (ACCU), is thought to have spearheaded the formation of the AUC. Furthermore, Carlos Castaño Gil, the co-founder and leader of the ACCU, is recognized as the on-again/off-again AUC leader.
Current Goals: The AUC serves the interests of Colombian economic elites, drug traffickers, and any local communities that do not support the leftist rebels. According to the AUC, its primary objective is to protect its supporters from leftist guerillas. Clearly, however, the AUC is also keenly interested in controlling the drug trade, which is its primary source of earnings. AUC leader Carlos Castaño claims that 70 percent of the AUC's operational costs are funded by drug-related sources.
The AUC is currently involved in peace negotiations with the Colombian government. These talks, begun in July 2004, focus on the disarmament of AUC blocks and their reintegration into the Colombian Armed Forces in order to provide security in their local strongholds. Like in past processes with Pablo Escobar's group, the AUC is trying to negotiate surrender and disarmament for a promise of non-extradition to the U.S. Despite AUC pledges to work with the American and Colombian governments to take action against cocaine production in the areas in which they operate, the American government has refused to drop their demands for extradition of AUC leaders. This has led to divisions within the group and the slow progress of the talks. Analysts believe that the decline in popular support for the AUC due to the disappointing progress of the talks will lead to the strengthening of the FARC and the ELN in areas once dominated by the AUC.
Official AUC website: <>, Official AC-BCB website: <>.
Sources: <>, <>. A photo.
E.R., 1 July 2005

Flag 1: First version of the AUC flag (a peasant with a seed bag sowing a field), with the name of the organization on the middle of the flag of Colombia). This flag has been actually flown on many events during the recent peace process between this organization and the Colombian government.
Flag 2: Second version of the AUC flag (name of the organization in black lettering on the top of the flag of Colombia). This flag has been seen on aired TV interviews of top AUC leaders and also on recent events during the recent peace process between this organization and the Colombian government.
Flag 3: Third version of the AUC flag (initials of the organization in white on green background). Attributed flag (I first saw this image on <> a few years ago and I have also seen this image on Colombian media coverage of the peace process: however I have not seen this flag displayed).
For current news on the peace process between the AUC and the Colombian government please reffer to "Alto Comisionado para la paz" (High Commissioner fo Peace), official website: <>.
The official website of the AUC is 'Colombia Libre' as the armed movement called 'Los Pepes'. It is believed that the AUC "core" emerged from 'Los Pepes', as the flag of 'Los Pepes' bears the motto "Colombia Libre" (Free Colombia), which is the AUC's website's name.
E.R., 18 July 2005

Peasant Self Defense - Bolivar Central Bloc (ACBCB - Autodefensas Campesinas - Bloque Central Bolívar)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 12 July 2005

image by Eugene Ipavec, 21 February 2006

"black variant"
image by Eugene Ipavec, 21 February 2006

image by Eugene Ipavec and André Coutanche, 1 August 2005

"vertical pennant"
image by Eugene Ipavec and André Coutanche, 26 December 2005

image contributed by E.R., 1 July 2005

The ACBCB (Autodefensas Campesinas - Bloque Central Bolívar, or Peasant Self Defense - Bolivar Central Bloc) is one of the main factions of the AUC umbrella organization. It is more commonly referred to as Bloque Central Bolívar (Bolivar Central Bloc, because it was established originally on the Department of Bolívar but it has expanded tremendously to other remote areas of the country).
E.R., 1 July 2005

The "pennant" is based on photo taken during a ceremony of laying downof wepaons bu the Bloque Libertadores del Sur, a "sub-bloc" of the much bigger ACBCB and is at <>. The "vertical pennant is based on photo taken at the demobilization ceremony of another structure of this paramilitary force, on December 12, 2005 in the Municipality of Remedios, Department of Antioquia as shown at <>.
E.R., 1 August and 26 December 2005

The variant is based on photo at <>. This is another demobilization ceremony for this AUC faction. This is the second part of the demobilization process. It was held at the Municipality of Santa Rosa del Sur, in th Department of Bolívar.
E.R., 5 February 2006

The "black variant" has a camouflage background, the BCB emblem on the center. On the top it reads AUTODEFENSAS UNIDAS DE COLOMBIA (in white) and on the bottom, beneath the emblem it reads BLOQUE CENTRAL BOLIVAR, also in white.
Source: BCB variant at Demobilization ceremony of one of the factions of the ACBCB. Picture taken on December 12, 2005 at the Municipality of Remedios, Department of Antioquia and appear at <>.
E.R., 4 July 2006

Peasant Self-Defense of Casanare (ACC - Autodefensas Campesinas de Casanare)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 17 June 2006

image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 June 2006

the ACC (Autodefensas Campesinas de Casanare, or Peasant Self-Defense of Casanare) named as such because they were first established in the eastern plains of Colombia, in the Department of Casanare. This group at some point was part of the AUC confederation, but it broke away. When it was part of the AUC it was called the 'Bloque Oriental' (Eastern Bloc).
In image at the newspaper El Tiempo (The Time,<>) taken in the late 90's or early 2000, it shows the flags proportion and also from top to bottom, the symbols displayed: 'ACC' lettering in black, a centaur waving a flag (or at least that's waht it seems to me), a shadow of the centaur, and the words 'Bloque Oriental'. Another image has a description as the above, only to mention the colors of the flag, which are red (top), white (center) and green (bottom). The meaning of the colors is unknown to me. Official website at <>.
E.R., 20 July 2005 and 9 April 2006

Peasant Self-Defense of Middle Magdalena (ACMM - Autodefensas Campesinas del Magdalena Medio)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 21 February 2006

Image is based on pictures taken during the demobilization ceremony of the Autodefensas Campesinas del Magdalena Medio (ACMM) or Peasant Self-Defense of Middle Magdalena. They are called like that because they are located mainly along the stream of the Magdalena River, operating basically on the borders of the Departments of Antioqiua, Boyacá and Santander. The ACMM comprises six fractions (fronts) and the flag shown is the flag of the founding front, the Frente José Luis Zuluaga (José Luis Zuluaga Front). The ACMM belong to the AUC, the confederation of paramilitary groups in Colombia. The flag is on black background charged with the Coat of Arms.
Sources: Alto Comisionado para la Paz website, CM& TV news of February 7th, 2006.
E.R., 21 February 2006

Heroes of Granada Bloc (Bloque Héroes de Granada)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 2 August 2005

It is the flag of yet another AUC faction, called "Bloque Héroes de Granada" (Heroes of Granada Bloc). It is named after the Municipality of Granada, in the Department of Antioquia. This group will lay down its weapons either tomorrow or the day after, during another demobilization act under the peace process between the AUC and the Colombian government. The flag is the symbol over the Colombian flag. However the flag that "should" come out has a proportion of 1:1 so it's more of a banner (a square with the Colombian tricolour plus the group's emblem on it in the middle). The faction's official website is: <>. I saw this flag this past week during the troop concentration prior to their disposal of arms on August. The flag has a peasant raising his right arm (as the AUC is a far right armed movement) and two crossed spears.
E.R., 1 August 2005

This group surrendered its weapons and all its rural and urban structure, with a total of 2033 armed and unarmed "personnel".
E.R., 2 August 2005

Tolima Bloc (Bloque Tolima)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 5 July 2006

This is a paramilitary organization called Bloque Tolima (Tolima Bloc), for being lcoated on the Department of Tolima. It belonged to the ACCU (Autodefensas Campesinas de Córdoba y Urabá), which at the same time belonged to the much larger AUC (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia). The Bloque Tolima group laid down its weapons on October 22, 2005, and during this ceremony a flag of the group can be seen. I assume that the flag has the map of Colombia on the left, localetd horizontally in the middle, and then the words "TOLIMA".
Source: official website of the Alto Comisionado Para la Paz <>.
E.R., 23 December 2005

Arauca Victors Bloc (Bloque Vencedores de Arauca)

Flag with the old Coat of Arms
image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 July 2007

Flag with the new Coat of Arms
image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 July 2007

This is yet another faction of the AUC. It is called Bloque Vencedores de Arauca (Arauca Victors Bloc) because it operates in the Department of Arauca. It is a "subbloc" of the Acbcb.
It had two Coat of Arms: the old one and the new one. This group had the Coat of Arms on a white square background, and the flag design is very similar to the Heroes of Granada Bloc, which a plain square background (this time white background only) charged with the Coat of Arms.
In the first Coat of Arms used by the group, an oil mill is seen beucause the Department of Arauca has lenty of this mineral.
E.R., 24 July 2007

Young Fajardists (Jóvenes Fajardistas)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 3 November 2007

There is a movement called Jóvenes Fajardistas (Young Fajardists), inspired by the Mayor of the City of Medellin Sergio Fajardo Valderrama, who was in office from 2003 to 2007. This movement bears in its logo the outlines of several people, which at the same time are party members. These people are 21 youngsters between the ages of 18 and 32 who are aspiring to the City of Medellin's Council.
Source: Screenshot of blog website of Júvenes Fajardistas, Official website.
E.R., 3 November 2007

Unidentified Flags

1) I saw two flags on the online edition of the Colombian newspaper El Espectador (The Spectator), dated Sunday, September 18, 2005. They are related to an article regarding the crisis in Colombian Labor Unions.
E.R., 19 September 2005

2) I found an article showing two unidentified flags used by Colombian paramilitary forces (no specific faction though). The article dates back to August 30, 2006 published by the newspaper El Colombiano.
The first photo shows a sitting combatant holding a plain white flag with an udientified logo on it, in what seems to be a demobilization ceremony of one of the paramilitary structures that composeed the AUC.
The second unknown flag is a black background rectangular-shaped flag, showing two guns in plain white. This flag is shown at a protest rally held in an unknown jail, possibly the High Security jail of Itagüí.
E.R., 1 October 2007