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TikTok emerges as the new means of recruiting guerrillas

TikTok emerges as the new means of recruiting guerrillas

The Jaime Martínez Front awaits you“reads a publication accompanied by a video published on TikTok that shows some bootsa canteenset with mexican corridos. This is the new way of recruitment of the guerrilla group Jaime Martínez native of Colombia.

The front operates in the department of Cauca and responds to Central General Staff (EMC)the largest fraction of dissidents who rejected the 2016 peace agreement among the extinct FARC guerrilla and the Colombian Government. The new recruitment strategy is beginning to worry the authorities since, according to the Ombudsman’s Officearmed groups recruited 110 minors in 2023 and this year there are already 23.

TikTok: the link between guerrillas and young people

In a country crossed by more than half a century of armed conflictnetworks function as a nexus to carry messages to a decimated population, especially those who live far from big cities. According to the most recent balance of the statistical authority, the Poverty affects 46% of the rural population.

The Colombian government found on TikTok, and to a lesser extent on Facebookdozens of accounts, hundreds of publications and several propaganda communities of the front Jaime Martínez. Some 3,500 combatants make up the EMC currently, which is financed mainly from drug traffickingaccording to the country’s military intelligence.

Embed – #cauca #nariño #fyp .

The situation worries the authorities who see a proliferation of online guerrilla community, land occupied mainly by youth. Only in 2023, The Ombudsman’s Office counted 110 minors recruited by armed organizations and, so far in 2024, the number has already reached 23.

Numerous profiles accumulate hundreds of positive interactions: “I served in the military and now I would like to pick up a rifle again,” detailed a comment in one of the publications.

“For one rural youth with few opportunities, dissidents mean some financial stabilitybut many also end up stuck there escaping domestic violence or other armed groups,” he explained Alejandro Jaramilloresearcher of the New York University.

Currently, there is already a network of profiles associated with the EMC in it Cauca that follow each other and sometimes replicate videos created by sister accounts. With thousands of followers, they use images of uniformed men on horseback either crossing rivers in boatsaccompanied by motivational and revolutionary texts.

The language of the guerrilla on TikTok

Various researchers focused on the guerrilla online community that grows more and more on TikTok. From aesthetics, the use of emojis and reposts, the EMC seeks to feed the idea of ​​a marked identity.

The use of emojis, for example, reveals a common language. The illustration of a green leaf refers to drug crops and the covered face of a ninja is a “symbol of clandestinity“, according to Jaramillo.

Who was present at the FARC peace signing?

The peace agreement between the FARC and the government of Colombia was signed on November 24, 2016.

Unlike traditional FARC propaganda, the EMC’s TikTok videos have “a much more refined aesthetic proposal“and focused on a young audience, explained Clément Roux, researcher at the Center for Media Analysis (CARISM) of the Paris-Panthéon-Assas University. For the analyst, the EMC narrative has “ruptures and continuities“with the old one”Farian culture“.

One of the biggest concerns that arises among experts is that today “each combatant has a cell phone“with which he can produce contentsaid Roux. So many profiles aimed at giving a message can “seduce“to young people with a”material discourse of jewelry, money, women, cars“, backed by the coca economy that “guarantees a fixed income“he detailed Juana Cabezas, Indepaz researcher.

Thus the narco aesthetic that they imposed Pablo Escobar and its partners four decades ago merges with some rebellious messages, referring to a singular mode of rise and social revenge, in one of the most unequal countries in Latin America. Propaganda on social networks serves as a “recruitment tool“but also encourages”internal cohesion“of the guerrilla, says the expert, getting people deployed in fronts”geographically separated feel part of a larger organization“.

Source: Ambito

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