The Popular Liberation Army
The Popular Libeation Army (Ejército Popular de
EPL) was the only major group in Colombia espousing a
political ideology; as such, it endorsed the concept of a
popular war. Organized in early 1968, the EPL was headed
by proChinese communists who formed the Communist Party of
Marxist-Leninist (Partido Comunista de Colombia-Marxista--
Leninista--PCC-ML) upon breaking with the Soviet-line PCC
1965. The EPL served as the armed branch of the PCC-ML.
PCC, the PCC-ML did not enjoy legal status in 1988.
The EPL's first military operations were in the
Córdoba, on the Caribbean coast, during the late 1960s.
dissension and the deaths of some of its key leaders
1970s weakened the EPL's operational capabilities. In 1979
continuing dissent within the EPL led to formation of the
León Arboleda Movement, a splinter group named for an EPL
slain in 1975. This group remained active as an
organization in the 1980s.
Despite its Maoist orientation, the EPL chose to
the 1984 cease-fire, but it refused to sign a peace
Following the reported killing in 1985 of its leader,
Rojas, the organization broke the cease-fire. In 1987 the
size was estimated at approximately 350 guerrillas
four fronts. Its principal area of operations was in rural
of the departments of Antioquia, Córdoba, and Risaralda.
organization also maintained urban support networks in
Data as of December 1988