Combine the ideologies of Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin and you get the armed forces of national liberation. Various groups had come together in the efforts to undertake a struggle against the government and colonialism. On an important note, the organizational and operational capacity of this group was unique and efficient because of the connection that the group had with Cuba and its intelligence services. This is what set this group aside considering that there were various groups all in the fight against harassment, attacks, illegal imprisonment and assassinations. The Other notable groups during this period include the Movimiento independentist, Revolucionario Amando among others.
Though the party did not surface until 1974, its roots were basically in 1930 when another group, the nationalist party introduced the United States to riots and assassinations in the District of Colombia. More to this is that the party had even gone to the extent to try and assassinate the then president of the United States, Harry.S.Truman which they failed. Another militant group that also had a hand in the establishment of this group basically hailed from Puerto Rica and had sprayed the U.S house of representatives with bullets in 1954 which resulted into the wounding five congressmen. Locally, the city of Puerto Rica and other numerous cities had been terrorized through bombs. All these were basically the footprints to the formation of the FALN.
The group was formed in 1970 by Filiberto Ojeda Rios who was then at the helm of the wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In some classified reports, the group had been formed in 1960’s mainly by Puerto Rican terrorists who had gone to Cuba for training (Blank, 1973).It is only after the return of this group of individuals to Puerto Rica that the internal and external struggle of the island began. In this regard, the founder had revealed that he had undergone explosives training in Cuba and by 1973, the number of Puerto Rica members who are estimated to have been receiving training was 135 (Dorfman, 2013).
The Local Formation of FALN
FALN was formed by national bodies and students who felt that their grievances were not met by the national government. To begin with, the president then, Romulo Betancourt, the party paid little consideration to the Communist party of Venezuela by basically sidelining the left wing in 1958.In this act, the Cuban revolution saw an opportunity to influence the members of the party and other groups into a revolution against the government. It is this that led to the formation of the revolutionary left movement whose blueprints were notable in the insurgencies in different parts of Venezuela in 1962 (Corro, 1968).
Sensing threat, the president suspended all civil liberties consequently leading to various arrests of people associated with the party. In eventuality, other group members not arrested went into hiding mainly focusing on other minor acts such as kidnap, minor bombings among others. The group even tried to disrupt the elections of 1963 but failed.
Communist Ideologies of FALN
Considering that the movement was founded on communist principles, some of the reforms that the group were to implement basically were based on communism. To begin with, the struggle, both on the political and armed fronts, was to be done in accordance with the Marxist-Leninist principle. The principle was that of a broad front in any struggle and focused on recruitment of any interested individuals.
The second ideology was on the concept of ‘nation’ regarding America, as defined by Joseph Stalin. By considering the United States, the working class was known as aristocrats of which Stalin was against. On this note, he emphasized that workers should not play a considerable role in any capitalist country. On a further note, Stalin was against the development of urban centers over the peasant-based guerrilla warfare. These were some of the ideologies that the Party based their formation on.
Thirdly was the ideology of the merge of different parties basically founded on the same ideological pattern of the coordination of politics and warfare Theses groups were required to merge into an umbrella whereby the leadership was composed of combatants’ assigned different roles.
The principle of internal ideological debate and the use of criticism and self-criticism. On this note, the platform was open to all the group members on the role that the group was playing on the development and liberation of the country. This was particularly focused on the growth of the party both internally and externally.
‘The end justifies the means’. This must have been the foundation of the final ideology which basically prioritized the struggle for independence of Puerto Rico over any other issue. This was deemed as more urgent and required the support for the freedom from colonialism and oppression.
Activities of the Group
The group was mainly involved in terror activities which in the long run resulted in the loss of 6 lives, scores of injuries and the loss of millions of dollars’ worth of property (Art & Richardson, 2007). All these activities and the resulting effects were mainly centered on the cities of Puerto Rico, New York, and Chicago.
To begin with, the year 1974 saw the surfacing of FALN into a bombing squad (Denova, Michael, & Fredrick, 2005). On October 26, the group detonated bombs in the Wall Street area which saw the loss of property worth of millions but no casualties. Later on, on December 11, the group continued with the activities but this time on the East 110th street in East Harlem resulting into the injury and permanent disability of a police officer.
January 24, 1975, saw the first of a series of bombings of the year. The group would claim responsibility for a bombing that had occurred in New York City and had resulted in the deaths of four people and more than 50 injuries. On April 13, a series of bombs occurred in New York City of which the group claimed responsibility. On a well-planned detonation plan, the bombs went off at an interval of 40 minutes: the first on New York life insurance Company, second on the Bankers Trust company plaza, the third on Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and the fourth on the Blimpie base Restaurant.
On the 4th of June 1977, the group detonated bombs in Chicago particularly near the offices of the then acting mayor Michael Blandic and the president of the Cook County board of commissioners. When the smoke had settled there were no casualties considering that it was on a Saturday and no one was present at that time. The 3rd of August saw the group detonate bombs on the twenty-first floor of Madison Avenue as well as the Mobil building. In the aftermath, the bomb at Madison building resulted in no considerable effect but the one at Mobil resulted into the death of an individual.
The last bombs to be detonated by the group occurred on June 1979.The bomb was detonated in Chicago and resulted in five injuries. This was the last bombing activity but not the last terrorist activity. On March 15, 1980, there were raids by FALN members on the campaign headquarters both in Carter-Mondale in Chicago and in New York City. The raids resulted in vandalism and the beating up of 10 people.
The Downfall of the Group
The beginning of the downfall was in April 1980 when 11 of the members were arrested on various charges on U.S soil. The charges would later result in prison terms that would be as long as 90 years (Estep, 1975). Though the various FALN members would go on to be pardoned by the United States government, the group never recovered.
Art, R. J., & Richardson, L. (2007). Democracy and Counterterrorism: lessons from the past. Washington DC: United States: Institute of peace press.
Blank, d. (1973). Politics in Venezuela.
Corro, A. (1968). Venezuela:La violencia. Cuernavaca,Mexico.
Denova, T., Michael, h., & Fredrick, J. C. (2005). The history of Venezuela. Westport: CT: Greenwood Press.
Dorfman, Z. (2013). How Fidel Castro Supported Terrorism in America. Wall Street Journal.
Estep, R. (1975). Guerilla warfare in Latin America.