Colombia Again Asks Venezuela to Extradite FARC ‘Singer-Songwriter’

By Dialogo
January 23, 2012

The Colombian government has submitted a new request to Venezuela for the extradition of Guillermo Enrique Torres, alias ‘Juan Conrado,’ known as the ‘singer-songwriter’ of the communist guerrilla group FARC, Colombian authorities confirmed on January 19.

“On December 27, Torres’s extradition was requested for the second time,” a spokesperson for the Colombian Attorney-General’s Office told AFP.

The Attorney-General’s Office filed the request through the Ministry of Foreign Relations, which submitted it to the Venezuelan authorities, a source at that agency indicated.

The first extradition request for Torres, who was arrested in Venezuela in May 2011, was sent to Caracas in September and did not receive a positive response, the source at the Attorney-General’s Office explained.

Guillermo Torres was prominent within the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America’s oldest guerrilla group, as the chief composer and performer of the group’s revolutionary songs and anthems.

He was also one of the delegates to the failed peace talks between the FARC and former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana’s administration (1998-2002).

The Attorney-General’s Office indicated that the new request seeks Torres’s extradition on charges of aggravated homicide, torture, kidnapping for purposes of extortion, and forced disappearance, while the first request charged him with illicit recruitment and forced disappearance.

In April 2011, Venezuela deported Joaquín Pérez – considered responsible for the Anncol website, which is tied to the FARC – to Colombia. That decision was controversial among the supporters of President Hugo Chávez’s administration and led to a request for explanations by Sweden.

Pérez, who was born in Colombia and was arrested at the Caracas airport upon arriving from Frankfurt, resided in Sweden and had adopted Swedish nationality in 2000.

With 47 years of armed struggle, the FARC is Colombia’s chief guerrilla group and currently has between 8,000 and 9,000 fighters, according to the Defense Ministry.