Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who went on to become “Carlos” and later, “Carlos The Jackal”, was born in Caracas, Venezuela on 12th October 1949, named after his Marxist father’s hero, Lenin, over his mother’s strenuous Catholic objections.
A passionate Communist, Ilich’s wealthy father had a successful legal practice that enabled him to hire private tutors to indoctrinate his eldest son with Communist doctrine, which the young boy took to heart. His parent’s turbulent marriage, caused by his father’s philandering, resulted in separation in 1958, which saw mother and children travelling to Jamaica and Mexico for two years, before she finally returned to Venezuela, where they were eventually divorced. During these travels Ilich discovered a flair for foreign languages and a love of different cultures.
In January 1964, Ilich joined the Venezuelan Communist Youth, becoming involved in various subversive activities against the ruling government, before travelling to the UK in August 1966 with his mother, where he attended a Tutorial College in Kensington. He also enjoyed a tour of embassy cocktail parties and developed a taste for the playboy lifestyle that was to become his signature, in later years.
This glamorous life was short-lived, however, and his father insisted that he would receive a more “appropriate” education in Moscow, sending his sons to attend Patrice Lumumba University there, which specialised in preparing Communists for leadership roles in Third World countries. Ilich rebelled against the harsh discipline he encountered there, and a generous allowance, courtesy of his father, enabled him to recreate his playboy lifestyle. This rebellion finally cost him his membership of the Venezuelan Communist Party in 1969, which had sponsored his Moscow studies.
His expulsion from University in 1970 resulted from his participation in an Arab student demonstration, and he then travelled to Palestine to train with the “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (PFLP), a terrorist group with tacit KGB support, whose mission was to undermine the state of Israel by violent action. He underwent extensive weapons training in a terrorist camp in Jordan, and it was at this time that he became known as “Carlos”.