The FARC is a Marxist-Leninst guerrilla group founded in the 1960s to overthrow the Colombian government and seize control of the country. Today, the FARC’s goal is territorial gain and control within Colombia.  Additionally, the FARC opposes American imperialism and financial capital monopolies.  Therefore, the FARC opposes U.S. activity and influence in Colombia. 
Many FARC leaders sought inspiration from leftist social movements around the world. In a 2008 interview, Jaime Guaracas, a former FARC leader, said that, during the FARC’s formative years, leader Manuel Marulanda read and was influenced heavily by the work of Lenin, Marx, Bolívar, and Mao. 
In addition to kidnapping, in the late 1970s, the FARC began trafficking cocaine to fund its activities, a practice that facilitated its rapid growth throughout the 1980s. The FARC’s newfound wealth, from kidnappings and the drug trade, and its provision of social services attracted a large number of new members who sought to escape the increasing poverty levels in Colombia.   Together, the increase in profit and new members marked the beginning of the FARC’s exponential growth and rise in power.   However, the FARC’s reliance on the drug trade also harmed its reputation; reports on the FARC by the United States government, the Colombian government, and news sources quickly started referring to the group as a drug cartel and its leaders as drug traffickers. 
(What is our attitude to drug trafficking? Is is allowed, for the purpose of financing a revolutionary fight?)
The Human Rights Watch estimates that somewhere between 20% and 30% of all members are under 18 years of age, and El Tiempo reports that about 50% of FARC members are under 18 at the time of joining.
Following the AUC’s demobilization in 2006, the FARC started working closely with BACRIM (Bandas Criminales, in English, “Criminal Bands”), a criminal organization of mid-level, former AUC commanders involved in illegal activities from drug trafficking to gold mining.