FARC Commander Killed
Yesterday evening Twitter lit up with reports out of Colombia that the leader of the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the most significant guerrilla group in Colombia’s seemingly endless struggle with insurgents, was killed by the military.
The BBC reports: Top Farc rebel leader Alfonso Cano killed in Colombia
The leader of Colombia’s left wing Farc rebel group, Alfonso Cano, has been killed in a military raid, President Juan Manuel Santos has confirmed.
He called it the most devastating blow to the group in its decades-long insurgency and urged it to disband.
Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said Cano was killed in an operation in mountains in Colombia’s south-west.
This is a major development and will be a serious blow to the FARC. However, the degree to whether this will cripple the FARC remains to be seen. First, the FARC is a cellular organization that does not rely upon a central leadership. Second, the FARC is driven by drug profits at the moment and some cells are more thoroughly involved in the drug trade than are others. This activity will continue. Third, historically speaking the FARC and like groups in Colombia have been able to cause trouble for the Colombian states and its citizens even as small groups.
As the sidebar to this story noted:
Alfonso Cano was only the second commander-in-chief the Farc have had in 47 years and the only one to be killed in combat. So the psychological impact of his death for the Marxist rebel movement is huge. However, it is unlikely to destroy the group, or indeed, even cause a serious interruption in its operations.
It is worth noting that this is yet another example of success by the Colombia state against the FARC. Some highlights include:
March 2008: A raid over the border into Ecuador that killed Raul Reyes (a key FARC commander) and garnered a large amount of intel about FARC operations is obtained.
May 2008: FARC founder and leader, Pedro Marin (aka Manuel Marulanda) dies.
July 2008: The army rescues the FARC’s most high profile hostages: presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt (who had been kidnapped in 2002) and 3 US government contractors (along with a dozen others).
September 2010: High level FARC commander, El Mono Jojoy is killed in combat.
And these are only the most major stories. It has not been a good 3.5 years for the FARC (indeed, it has been its worst 3+ span in its history, which has spanned 5 decades).
More on recent on the FARC during this span of time (in reverse chronological order):
- Another FARC Leader Killed
- Operation: Christmas
- More Military Success Against the FARC
- More on Those FARC Computers and Operation Sodom
- El Mono Jojoy Killed
- FARC at 45 Seeks “Rebirth”
- Only Three of the FARC’s Secretariat Still in Colombia
- Speaking of the FARC…
- Another FARC Commander Killed
- Major FARC Kidnapper Captured
- Two FARC Guerrillas Defect with Kidnap Victims in Tow
- Another FARC Commander Falls
- Another FARC Leader is Killed
- `We’re the national army. You’re free.’
- Tirofijo Dead?
- Two More FARC Commander in Custody: One Surrenders, Another Captured
- Confirmed: Ecuadoran Killed in Colombian Raid on FARC