How Mexico's Zapatista guerrillas stayed clear of organized crime(Read article summary)
Mexico's Zapatistas are distinct from most other rebels groups in Latin America, having remained within a democratic framework without getting involved in organized crime to secure funding.
Because of its status as a major theater for proxy conflicts during the cold war, Latin America has a long history of leftist insurgencies. Over the past two decades, however, these left wing groups largely abandoned armed struggle as a means of gaining power, turning instead to peaceful electoral politics. In some countries they have been immensely successful. Indeed, the current ruling parties of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil, and Uruguay can all trace their roots -- at least in part -- back to guerrilla insurgencies of the 1970s and 80s.
Nevertheless, a handful of guerrilla movements persist in the region. The most well-known examples are in Colombia, which is home to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Army of Liberation (ELN). In Peru, two factions of the Shining Path still carry out deadly attacks on security forces, though the group is not the threat that it was at its peak in the early 1990s.
These three are generally cited as the most relevant insurgent groups in Latin America, and they have worked hard to maintain this status. All three have adopted illicit means of obtaining funding, including drug trafficking, bank robbery, kidnapping, and extortion.
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