Document Type

International Studies and Languages


This paper investigates the counter-terrorism strategies employed against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Colombia and the Shining Path (SL) in Peru and analyzes the effectiveness of those strategies. It begins by exploring the foundation of each organization and its respective goals, organization and tactics. Using this information, it then explores the counter-terrorism strategies employed by the government of each country in which the organizations were operating to determine the effectiveness of those strategies and how the structure of the terrorist organization might change that effectiveness. The paper concludes that military strategies have only been somewhat effective in neutralizing terrorist groups and have resulted in widespread human rights abuses. It finds that peace talks and attempts at negotiation have been promising, but the success of these peace-oriented efforts depends greatly on both the terrorist organization’s ideology and the decisions made by the military or administration. In short, in finding counter-terrorism strategies that minimize or prevent human rights abuses, it is vital that the government (a) understand the ideology of the terrorist organization, (b) consider multifaceted counter-terrorism strategies that incorporate possibilities for negotiation, and (c) coordinate decisions across government organizations, particularly concerning the military.