March 4, 2021

The FARC commanders who have turned their backs on the peace of Colombia

The case of the congressman of the FARC party Seuxis Paucias Hernández, alias "Jesus Santrich", to whom the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia issued an arrest warrant, is the most notorious among former leaders of the former guerrilla group who have turned their backs on the agreement of peace.

Despite the fact that at least 13,000 ex-guerrillas and militiamen (collaborators) laid down their arms after the signing of the peace agreement in November 2016, a large group of at least 1,500 is part of the dissidents that continue to operate in various parts of the country.

The following are the leaders of the FARC who have defected from the peace agreement.

1. Seuxis Paucias Hernández, aka "Jesús Santrich". Member of the FARC's General Staff and one of the heads of the Caribbean Bloc, he was part of the guerrilla's negotiating team in the peace dialogues of Havana.

On June 29, he escaped from his escorts when he visited the Territorial Training and Reintegration Space (ETCR) of Tierra Grata, in the department of Cesar (north), and his whereabouts are unknown since then.

This Tuesday did not go to the investigation in the Supreme Court to which he had been summoned in a process for drug trafficking, absence that led the high court to order his capture.

Santrich's judicial mess goes back to April 9, 2018 when he was arrested in Bogota based on a request for extradition from the United States justice that accuses him of having conspired to send 10 tons of cocaine to that country after the signing peace.

Last May, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) granted Santrich the guarantee of non-extradition with the argument that the evidence provided by the US. were insufficient and the case went to the Supreme Court.

The JEP also ordered the Prosecutor's Office to release him after remaining 416 days in prison, which allowed him to take a seat on the FARC in the House of Representatives on June 11.

2. Luciano Marín Arango, aka "Iván Márquez". Number two of the FARC, led the guerrilla negotiating team in the dialogues of Havana and was designated by the party as one of its five senators after the signing of the peace agreement.

In April 2018, after the arrest of Santrich, Márquez announced that he would join other ex-guerrillas at the ETCR of Miravalle, in the department of Caquetá (south), alleging lack of security guarantees, and did not assume as senator.

Since then, his whereabouts are unknown and he has sent letters in which he criticizes the government's alleged failure to comply with the peace agreement, while considering that it was an "error" to hand over the weapons before the total implementation of the agreement.

For failing to comply with the summonses of the JEP, this court ordered on July 8 to the authorities to investigate whether Márquez left the country or took up arms. On Wednesday, the Council of State ratified a June 14 ruling that decreed the loss of Márquez's investiture as a congressman.

3. Hernán Darío Velásquez, aka "El Paisa". He was the head of the mobile column Teófilo Forero of the FARC, one of the most bloodthirsty of the old guerrilla. In the final phase of the peace talks he was in Cuba but he has not appeared at any of the JEP summons.

In August 2018 he was established at the Miravalle ETCR where he was seen in photographs with Iván Márquez and months later he also disappeared so the authorities reactivated the arrest warrants against him on July 5.

4. Henry Castellanos Garzón, aka "Romaña". A member of the FARC's General Staff and commander of the Eastern Bloc and the 53rd Front, he was one of the guerrillas most feared by the mass kidnappings in the 1990s, known as "miraculous fishing", on roads near Bogotá.

He was in Cuba during the peace talks but in August 2018 he resigned from the escort provided by the Colombian State. Failure to comply with the JEP subpoenas on June 6 opened a "compliance verification incident".

5. José Manuel Sierra Sabogal, alias "Zarco Aldinever". Considered the right hand of alias "El Paisa", before the signing of the peace it became strong with the production and sale of cocaine.

Nothing is known about his whereabouts and that is why the JEP also opened a "compliance verification incident".

6. Elmer Caviedes, alias "Albeiro Córdoba". Son of Efraín Guzmán, one of the first leaders of the FARC, was a middle commander in the old guerrilla.

Authorities say he joined the FARC's dissidence and currently manages coca production in the jungles of the departments of Guainía, Vichada, Meta and Guaviare.

7. Alberto Cruz Lobo, alias "Enrique Marulanda". He is one of the sons of the founder of the FARC, Pedro Antonio Marín, known as "Manuel Marulanda Vélez" or "Tirofijo".

His trail was lost in August of 2017 in Mesetas, in the department of Meta (center), where he settled after the signing of the peace.

Other members of the FARC who abandoned their security schemes are Nelson Enrique Díaz, alias "Iván Ali"; Iván Merchán Gómez and Hedier Espinosa Feria, aka "Juan Carlos Ospina Mariscal".

Like them, alias "Gentil Duarte" went on to lead the front first, the main dissidence of the FARC, which operates in Guaviare, Guainía and Meta, while Edgar Salgado, alias "Rodrigo Cadete", who also left his escorts in the Caquetá department and formed a dissent, was killed along with 13 of his men in a military operation last February.

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