Armed Forces of National Liberation (Venezuela)

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The Armed Forces of National Liberation (in Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, FALN) was a Venezuelan guerrilla group formed to foment revolution against the democratically elected governments of Rómulo Betancourt and Raul Leoni.


Background[edit]

In 1958, Betancourt's Democratic Action (Acción Democrática, AD) party largely disenfranchised the extreme left wing, notably the Communist Party of Venezuela (Partido Comunista de Venezuela, PCV).[clarification needed] The 1959 Cuban Revolution influenced PCV and student groups hoping to repeat Fidel Castro's success in Venezuela. Many leftist students formed the Revolutionary Left Movement (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria, MIR) in April 1960.

Betancourt's firm stance against Castro, especially Cuba's expulsion from the Organization of American States (OAS) led to bloody military uprisings in 1962, first at Carúpano on the Península of Paria, then at Puerto Cabello and Barcelona. After the unsuccessful revolts, Betancourt suspended civil liberties and arrested the MIR and PCV members of the forerunner to the National Assembly of Venezuela bicameral Congress (Congreso) in 1962. This drove the leftists underground, where they engaged in rural and urban guerrilla activities, including sabotaging oil pipelines, kidnaping of American Colonel Michael Smolen, bombing a Sears Roebuck warehouse, seized the Venezuelan cargo ship Anzoátegui, kidnapping Real Madrid soccer star Alfredo DiStefano (both executed by Paul del Rio), and bombing the United States Embassy in Caracas. FALN failed to rally the rural poor and to disrupt the December 1963 elections.

In popular culture[edit]

The 1975 film Chronicle of a Latin American subversive (Spanish: Crónica de un subversivo latinoamericano) by director Mauricio Walerstein, narrates the real life FALN kidnaping of American Colonel Michael Smolen (portrayed as Colonel Robert Whitney by actor Claudio Brook) in revenge for Nguyen Van Troi's death sentence. [1][2][3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • The Triumph of Democracy via U.S. Library of Congress Country Studies/Area Handbook Series sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army between 1986 and 1998.