Author Topic: Farc leader killed by Colombian military  (Read 1060 times)

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Offline old medic

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Farc leader killed by Colombian military
« on: September 24, 2010, 00:47:15 »
No. 2 FARC Leader Killed In Colombia
by The Associated Press
Colombia's military killed the field marshal and No. 2 leader of the country's main leftist rebel group in bombing raids and combat at a major guerrilla encampment at the edge of the country's eastern plains, authorities announced Thursday.

The death of Jorge Briceno, 57, is a huge setback for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been reeling from a decade of pressure by the U.S.-backed military.

It was not immediately clear whether Briceno was killed by bombs or bullets.

President Juan Manuel Santos called his death "the most crushing blow against the FARC in its entire history" — more important than the March 2008 bombing raid across the border with Ecuador that killed FARC foreign minister Raul Reyes or the bloodless rescue that July that freed former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. contractors without firing a shot.

Santos was defense minister during both operations.

He told a news conference at the United Nations in New York that at least 20 rebels were killed, including other senior insurgents, in operations that began with bombing raids Monday night involving at least 30 warplanes and 27 helicopters and ended with ground combat on Wednesday.

But the key to success was long-percolating human intelligence, said a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the subject's sensitivity.

The official said Briceno had been rotating for months among a series of camps in a rugged area of nearly 4,000 square miles where the Andes mountains drop off into eastern plains that include the La Macarena massif, a national park.

Police and Navy intelligence agents succeeded in infiltrating his operation and pinpointing his movements, the official added.

In June, Colombian commandos rescued four hostages — including a police general — in nearby jungles without any casualties.

The area is the cradle of the FARC, which was co-founded in 1964 by Manuel Marulanda, a legendary fighter who died in 2008 of an apparent heart attack in the same region and was Briceno's mentor.

Briceno, whose walrus mustache made him widely recognizable, had risen through the insurgency's ranks to become its top military strategist and most respected field commander.

His rise also saw the rebels increasingly turn to cocaine production.

"He was at the heart of the FARC's military effort and of its morale," said Sergio Jaramillo, Santos' national security adviser.

Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said the operation that killed Briceno targeted "the mother of all FARC camps," a complex some 300 meters from end to end that included tunnels and a concrete bunker where the slain commander "took refuge."

He said troops, five of whom were wounded, engaged rebels in combat on Wednesday and were only able to confirm Briceno's death on Thursday morning. Rivera said the only government death was an explosives-sniffing dog.

Briceno belonged to the FARC's seven-member ruling Secretariat. Like most insurgents from a humble background, was a fighter for most of his life, joining as a teen and even learning how to read as a rebel.

The group's main leader, Alfonso Cano, remains at large and is believed to be in the mountains of central Colombia.

Colombian officials say they believe other Secretariat members are hiding out in neighboring Venezuela.

The hemisphere's last remaining large rebel army, whose numbers authorities estimate at about 8,000 — half its strength of a decade ago — the FARC been badly weakened since 2002 by a military that has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid, including Blackhawk helicopters and training by Green Berets.

Many Colombians believe Briceno was a key obstacle to efforts to renew a peace dialogue with the FARC. However, he was less rigidly dogmatic than Cano, a Bogota-bred intellectual.

Analyst Leon Valencia of the left-leaning think tank Nuevo Arco Iris said Briceno's death marked the end of the FARC's Eastern Bloc, which had been its strongest.

He said he expected the FARC would now seek to negotiate.

Santos has rejected a peace dialogue unless the FARC puts an end to kidnapping and halts attacks that have claimed the lives of more than 30 police officers since he took office on Aug. 7.

"This is the 'Welcome Operation' that we have been promising the FARC," said Santos, who was elected on a promise to continue his predecessor Alvaro Uribe's withering military campaign against the FARC. It comes less than a week before Colombia's military killed at least FARC fighters in bombing a rebel camp near Ecuador's border.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat who follows Colombia closely, called on Cano to initiate a cease-fire and release all remaining hostages. An estimated 18 still fester in Colombian jungles.

"Now is the time to open genuine negotiations and bring this long conflict to an end," he said in a statement.

President Santos was defense minister from 2006-2009, when Washington's biggest ally in Latin America badly battered the rebels, encouraging record desertions.

However critics say the root cause of Colombia's conflict — a still-widening gulf between its richest and poorest — remains to be seriously addressed.

Briceno became well-known internationally during failed 1999-2002 peace talks in a Switzerland-sized swath of southern Colombia that included the La Macarena region.

A swaggering figure who struck fear and awe among his troops, Briceno would hold court with reporters and top Colombian officials in a safe haven granted for those talks, arriving on rutted dirt roads in stolen late-model SUVs.

Photographs of him more recently show a gaunt man who authorities say suffered from diabetes.

Rebel deserters have described him as tough, decisive and often cruel — a strict disciplinarian. One said he once ordered a female guerrilla who was seven months pregnant to abort.

The FARC increasingly turned to drug trafficking in the late 1990s, when it was at the height of its military power, as a means of financial support.

It has also used ransom kidnappings and extortion as a revenue source, though less so in recent years as it became increasingly difficult for the insurgents to hide their captives.

« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 00:55:19 by old medic »
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Farc leader killed by Colombian military
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 10:35:59 »
One of the fatal blows to the Communist terrorists in Malaysia according to Chin Peng, the leader of the CT’s was the destruction of trust within the ranks, which caused the organization to turn on itself and kill anyone merely suspected of being an informant. It hampered their abilty to move information and people, the increased secrecy reduced effective liaison between CT groups and isolated them when the leader was killed as the successor would not know who and how to contact the leadership. The constant suspicion and accusing otherwise loyal followers quickly destroyed morale. This was part of the UK deliberate policy to capture and then release low ranking member after interrogating them and offering them money/ way out if they would pass information.

 Hopefully the same situation happens with FARC. When commenting about all the excution of their own people, Chin Peng said: “I regret the excesses but it was necessary” The communists never change, they always “regret” the horror they created, but will continue to repeat it.