In 1982, FARC-EP held its Seventh Guerrilla Conference, which called for a major shift in FARC's strategy. FARC had historically been doing most of its fighting in rural areas, and was limited to small-scale confrontations with Colombian military forces. By 1982, increased income from the "coca boom" allowed them to expand into an irregular army, which would then stage large-scale attacks on Colombian troops. They also began sending fighters to Vietnam and the Soviet Union for advanced military training. They also planned to move closer to middle-sized cities, as opposed to only remote rural areas, and closer to areas rich in natural resources, in order to create a strong economic infrastructure. It was also at this conference that FARC added the initials "EP", for " Ejército del Pueblo " or "People's Army", to the organization's name.  
From 1967 to 1980, the Colombian economy, and particularly the coffee industry, experienced sustained growth. Because of severe weather problems affecting the world's largest exporter, Brazil , coffee prices reached unprecedented levels in the mid-1970s. High prices prompted an important expansion in coffee production in Colombia. This expansion involved a significant increase in the harvested area and, more importantly, the introduction of a high-yielding coffee variety. In just over a decade, Colombia's coffee production doubled. The expansion of production and exports boosted the income and purchasing capacity of the thousands of households involved in coffee cultivation, thereby increasing consumption rapidly and allowing the GDP to expand at an average annual rate of more than 5 percent during this period. Strong export earnings and a large increase in foreign-exchange reserves were the most noticeable results of this economic expansion. At the same time, the Bank of the Republic (Colombia's central bank) had to use a variety of policies and instruments at its disposal in order to prevent inflation from accelerating.