Rebels are former citizens that have turned against the ruling government of Tropico. If a courageous citizen is particularly outraged at the government's actions (especially violent and illegal ones like having people openly eliminated by the military), they'll become rebels and escape into the wilderness where they can't be found. Some actions, such as enacting Conscription, starting an Inquisition, or - in Tropico 3 - outlawing a faction can cause citizens to join the rebellion or make the rebellion more active.
It's possible for a presidente to have risen to power by leading a rebellion, either in the name of capitalism or communism, providing higher relations with either the US and Capitalists or the USSR and Communists and increasing production by either factory workers or farmers but giving Tropicans low hopes for democracy.
If the number of rebels is sufficient, they'll occasionally emerge from the jungle to stage an attack on a building in the hopes of destroying it. The building they choose to attack is invariably important to Tropico, such as a factory or the palace itself. If the mausoleum is built, all rebel attacks will be centered on it. If the rebels manage to reach the target, they'll plant and detonate explosives to destroy it. Losing the palace in this way topples Tropico's government, resulting in an instant loss.
During an attack, Tropico's presidente, soldiers, generals, and SWAT members will rally to protect the building, attempting to kill or scare off any rebels they come across. How well they do depends on their level of skill in their profession.
Monitoring the internet will give the island an advanced warning whenever the rebels plan to launch an attack.
- The Amnesty edict is the best solution to rebels, offering them a chance to peacefully leave the rebellion. If how you've governed Tropico has noticeably improved since the rebel first left, they'll agree to rejoin Tropico as a regular citizen.
- The Silence the Rebels/Shoot Juanito edicts both guarantee no new rebels or rebel attacks for 3 years.
- If your soldiers outnumber the rebels by a good amount, you can use the Lure the Rebels edict to provoke an attack in the hopes of wiping them out.
- A junta-style Ministry reduces the chance of unhappy citizens becoming rebels.
- A good Minister of Defense will sometimes delay rebel attacks or get rebels to leave the island.
The Rebel Resistance is an underground organization present in Tropico 5, whose main objective is to topple the ruling Dynasty from power, in the hopes of instilling political change in Tropico.
Rebels consist of ordinary people (eg. builders, teamsters, teachers, clerks, etc.), and each one has their own reason to become rebels. Some may be desperate people who can't find a job and/or a home, some may become rebellious after witnessing any dictatorial actions, and some may join simply because they disagree with some government policies.
Rebel activity can appear as early as the World Wars Era. The Resistance isn't some random rabble. They are organized, have a command structure (as evidenced by the presence of Rebel Leaders), they organize themselves in squads and hide between the population in residential areas. They also have their own spy network, carefully surveilling the Regime for an opening to attack.
If enough people join the Rebels, and Rebel Leaders start operating on the island, the Rebel Threat will become high, and an attack could happen at any moment in the game. Rebel Squads will emerge from slums or residences to either attack production facilities, or industrial buildings. If they successfully destroy their first objectives before they are engaged by the Military they may immediately return to the shadows, or aim for the Palace. The destruction of the Palace ends the game in defeat.
- The Amnesty edict may be used to give rebels the chance to rejoin Tropican society if conditions in Tropico got better since they joined, lowering the Rebel Threat.
- If feeling confident with the Military, the rebels can be provoked into leaving the shadows and attack, offering a good chance to finally slaughter them all.
- If Intelligence Services uncover Rebel Leaders, killing, banishing, or arresting them can throw the organization into disarray, lowering the Rebel Threat.
- Police Stations, Security Checkpoints, The Inquisition, and Agent-skilled managers are recommended to help quickly identify rebels.
- A Ministry of Information enacting Home Propaganda can also prevent rebel attacks.
- The Drone Command will actively hunt down and kill known rebels with no other repercussions after they are identified. However, this requires your Police and Intelligence services to identify them to be effective.
- The Supermax Prison is another option for dealing with rebels without the need for kill order or banishment which can be expensive and have some negative repercussions.