Majority of Farc leaders are outside Colombia.
Narcoguerrillas Ivan Marquez (izq) and Rodrigo Granda
The integration in the Americas should be the result of a positive interdependence among countries. Since the Declaration of Washington, the american states are in a process of growing interrelation. Nowadays, the Americas have a Democratic Charter to live up to, and the most important thing is our right to democratic self-determination and the popular vote as a basis for our government institutions and their rulers.
Colombia is the country with the longest democracy in South America. A people full of color and passion, as I always imagine it must be a nation of the New World. Unfortunately, Colombia is a democracy that has suffered decades of attacks by a ruthless guerrilla.
These are the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or better known as FARC. For Colombia, the U.S. and the European Union is a terrorist group, for other countries like Venezuela or Ecuador the FARC are political revolutionary insurgents.
As my first approximation and with a simplistic view to the subject, I would define the FARC as a guerrilla trying to overthrow the democratic colombian state. But compared to cases of “normal” guerrillas as was the M16, the Montoneros or the Tupamaros, the case of the FARC show us a big difference. There is no doubt that the FARC are now owners of the business of cocaine trafficking in Colombia, with metastasis throughout the region including Central America, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico and other countries.
Let me explain. In the 80 s and 90 s , the FARC met only a mafia role of protection to the production of cocaine in some “liberated areas” from Colombia. With the fall of the drug cartel of Pablo Escobar in Medellin and the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers of the Cali Cartel, the FARC were taking over the Colombian drug trade and became organized crime. Now, the FARC not only take care that there is a fluid production of cocaine in Colombia, but the FARC are now also responsible for the sale and international distribution of the ilegal narcotics. Not to mention the extra revenue proceeding from kidnappings, extortion, “revolutionary taxes”, etc. .. But certainly the cash cow for the FARC is now the cocaine trade.
That’s why I do not define the FARC just as a simple guerrilla group, or as an insurgency or terrorist group. Rather I do see the FARC as a criminal organization with great economic and military power, an armed group with a distant guerrilla past. The FARC today is experiencing a crisis of growth and a crisis of identity. The FARC represents a great potential danger not only to Colombia but to the entire region. The FARC knows today that his reason of existence, “le raison du vivre”, is not to seize power in Colombia. If that happens, the international community would react horrified at the prospect of seeing Colombia turned into a narco state, largely in the hands of a narco armed gang. It would be difficult not to imagine the international military intervention in Colombia with the collapse and subsequent disappearance of the FARC.
Instead, the FARC wants to keep its business: drugs. The FARC deeply believe that today they should adjust their armed forces, perhaps with fewer guerrilla soldiers but with more professionalism and military technology, and with a much more lethal weaponry. The second objective is to take care of the dairy cow of the drug trade, increasing economic returns for its concept.
For that reason, to consolidate its organization, the FARC are trying to continue to grow in power and international influence, creating more and better partnerships, both in the criminal underworld of drug trafficking organizations, and also linking with ultraradical political groups all over the world.
And to prove what I say, I refer to the evidence. Today, only three “historic” leaders of the FARC are still in Colombia. The rest of the “Secretariat” of the criminal organization is outside the country keeping the distribution of drugs, seeking political and military alliances, putting in the FARCs payroll a significant number of officers of the military and also corrupt political leaders, that are in search of easy money.
Today most of the leaders of the Colombian FARC guerrilla group live and operate in various countries in the Americas.
Several leaders of the Colombian FARC guerrillas take refuge in Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba, some permanently and others seasonally. So was it revealed by an intelligence report published a few days ago by the Bogota newspaper, El Tiempo.
The report said that only three of the seven members of the rebel leadership are still leading the fight in Colombia. Including the group’s top leader, Guillermo Leon Saenz (alias “Alfonso Cano”), and the military commander, Jorge Briceño ( “Mono Jojoy).
Security agencies claim that at least three members of the secretariat (top) and four central staff (second level) are “living in other countries, some in neighboring countries.”
The report states that are in Ecuador Milton Toncel Jesus ( “Joaquin Gomez”), Jorge Torres ( ‘Pablo Catatumbo’), and Edgar Tovar Sixto Cottage ( ‘Domingo Biojó’).
Have been detected in Venezuela Rodrigo Londoño ( “Timoleon Jimenez”), Germán Briceño ( “Grannobles’), Ricardo Gonzalez ( ‘Rodrigo Granda), Emiro Ropero (‘ Rubén Zamora ‘) and Luciano Marín (” Ivan Marquez “).
Destroyed Clandestine FARC lab
The Police Commander of Ecuador, General Jaime Hurtado said that “we have no certain information of this people living in Ecuador. However, we are investigating any permanent presence of guerrilla leaders or any other person being sought by Interpol. ”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Falconi Fando, to step out of the report of the newspaper El Tiempo in Bogota , denied the presence of high commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FARC in Ecuador. He added that “what they should do is provide (details) this information so that the security forces of Ecuador can operate.”
Meanwhile, the ecuatorian daily El Universo published this week numbers of identity cards, photographs and other data from the Civil Registry of Ecuador related to FARC members, including those known as Rodrigo Granda and Nubia Calderón.
Meanwhile the Interior Minister of Venezuela Tarek El Aissami said that “there is no FARC people in Venezuela.”
Quito ended diplomatic ties with Bogota in March 2008 following the colombian military assault against the FARC rebel group that was located in Ecuadorian territory, which left a toll of 25 dead, including the FARC commander Raul Reyes and four Mexicans.
The Public relations of the FARC are in the hands of the secretariat member Luciano Marín Aranjo alias “Ivan Marquez”, who makes at least four years that no steps colombian ground. .He is probably living in Venezuela.
In Mexico, the government threw out Miguel Angel Beltran, ‘Jaime Cienfuegos’, a member of the international bloc of the FARC.
Another leader of the FARC is Liliana Lopez Palacios, alias “Olga Marín ‘(International Front). According to the press Colombian guerrilla Lopez lives in Santa Clara (Cuba) since 2003.
Rodrigo Granda (central staff) since June 2007 took refuge in Venezuela.
Authorities in Ecuador have noted the presence of the FARC and Angel Gabriel Lozada ‘Edgar Tovar’ (head versus 48) n this country, closing transactions with the brothers Ostaiza, which are Ecuadoran narcos.
Emiro Ropero alias “Ruben Zamora ‘(company Catatumbo FARC) would be in Venezuela as reported by the Colombian Army.
Sixto Antonio Cabana aka ‘Domingo Biojó’ (South Block) is in Ecuador since 2003.
Another issue related to the presence of the FARC are their investments. The prosecution and intelligence agencies tracked properties of Colombia FARC guerrillas that would in 28 countries in the region, including Ecuador, as quoted an article published in the Colombian press.
The article says that some of these items were listed in the hardisk of the computer of the number two of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Raúl Reyes, who died a year ago in a FARC camp located in northern Ecuador, after a bombing by Colombian troops.. The Organization of American States OAS condemned the military intervention of Colombia into Ecuador.
According to that source, the FARC have properties and vehicles in Quito, and a complex of five cottages on a beach on the Pacific.
In Panama, according to the news release, the properties include several areas of FARC and a house in the town of David, and three cars.
The registration of property that the guerrillas would have in other countries include Mexico in two vehicles and a house in San Jose. Also listed several bank accounts in different countries.
The colombian Prosecutor and the intelligence agencies’ work to try to establish whether the names that appear in these accounts are real or fictitious, “the newspaper report.
The FARC have an International Commission that seeks to have relations with all political parties of the left, not only in Latin America but in Europe, in Asia and Africa. A path is the relationship with the COPPPAL (Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean).
According to public sources, some notorious members of the FARC´s international commission are the following:
a) Omar Arturo Zabala Padilla (alias “Lucas Gualdron”), Maria Remedios Garcia Albert (alias “Soraya” and “Irene”), and Vlaudin Rodrigo Vega (alias “Carlos Vlaudin”). These International Commission members represent the FARC in France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Australia. As representatives of the FARC and members of its International Commission, these individuals work abroad to obtain recruits, support, and protection for the FARC’s acts of narcotics trafficking and terrorism. Omar Arturo Zabala Padilla, the FARC’s International Commission member for France, Italy and Switzerland, directs nearly 80% of the FARC’s activities in Europe, which include contacts with other terrorist groups and arms deals. Maria Remedios Garcia Albert, the FARC’s International Commission member for Spain, a key liaison between the leadership of the FARC and its supporters based in Europe, was arrested by Spanish authorities on July 26, 2008 and later released pending trial. Files recovered from the computer of Raul Reyes, a top FARC leader who was killed by Colombian forces in a March 2008 raid, noted the “special support” of Vlaudin Rodrigo Vega, the FARC’s International Commission member for Australia.
b) Jairo Alfonso Lesmes Bulla (“Javier Calderon”), Efrain Pablo Trejo Freire, Orlay Jurado Palomino ( “Commander Hermes”), Ovidio Salinas Perez (“El Embajador”), Jorge Davalos Torres, Francisco Antonio Cadena Collazos (“El Cura Camilo”), Nubia Calderon de Trujillo (“Esperanza”), and Liliana Lopez Palacios (“Olga Lucia Marin”). These International Commission members represent the FARC in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, and Canada. As representatives of the FARC and members of its International Commission, these individuals work abroad to obtain recruits, support, and protection for the FARC’s acts of terrorism. Some are also themselves violent criminals. On August 6, 2008, Colombian authorities arrested Jairo Alfonso Lesmes Bulla, the FARC’s International Commission member for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay, in Bogota, Colombia for plotting to assassinate the former Interior and Justice Minister Fernando Londoño Hoyos and the brother of Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos. Orlay Jurado Palomino, the FARC International Commission member for Venezuela, is wanted in Colombia on charges of kidnapping, rebellion, and terrorism. In August 2005, the Brazilian Federal Police arrested Francisco Antonio Cadena Collazos, the FARC’s International Commission Member for Brazil, in Sao Paulo at the request of Colombian authorities on criminal charges of rebellion. The Brazilian government later released Cadena Collazos and granted him refugee status. Nubia Calderon de Trujillo was recently granted asylum by Nicaragua, even though she is a member of an internationally recognized narco-terrorist organization.
c) There is also a growing presence of delegates of the International Front of the FARC in Canada, primarily in the Quebec Social Forum. For example one of the FARC in Canada is Calarca Marcos who was expelled from Mexico by the then President Fox. Marcos, along with several family members are now political refugees in Canada.
The deterioration of colombian relations with Ecuador and Venezuela was accelerated when Bogota delivered to Venezuela copies of documents from the computer of FARC commander Raúl Reyes, and that reference the alleged relationship between the government of Caracas and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC.
The Colombian authorities said then that -in the Reyes camp- they found three computers within at least one of these documents would have revealed the alleged FARC contacts with different countries, among other information. To certify that these documents were actually inside the computer were not “planted”, Bogotá requested technical assistance from Interpol.
As you can see information issued in Colombia and other countries, the internationalization of the FARC is a fact. The integration of the Americas, namely the existence of a positive interdependence among nations is impossible without the union of all the states of Americas in order to fight the drug trafficking and criminal armed groups such as the FARC .
It is a big mistake to look at the members of the FARC as they were romantic idealists who are fighting in search of the socialist utopia, battling for a fairer society. This is a big lie.
Victor Bjorgan - Publisher of Bloggers of The Americas
The FARC are not a romantic guerrilla, but a band of organized criminals. All of the american states should work together positively to eradicate the FARC in its tracks, preventing its international expansion. This is the best time to do so. It is a historic opportunity for The Americas to act united on this subject. The democratic state in Colombia has obtained some military victories against the FARC. But the FARC receives oxygen from abroad of Colombia.. It is a grave error and we must prevent this to continue. For if the Americas are not united in the effort to break free of the scourge, tomorrow may be too late to do so.